EarlyDog CTO, Justin Samuel
Posted by Nolan in September 2021
“Justin Samuel of EarlyDog: Five Things You Need To Create A Highly Successful Startup An Interview With Tyler Gallagher” was published in Authority Magazine on Aug 12, 2021.
Startups have such a glamorous reputation. Companies like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, Uber, and Airbnb once started as scrappy startups with huge dreams and huge obstacles. Yet we of course know that most startups don’t end up as success stories. What does a founder or a founding team need to know to create a highly successful startup?
Go Bigger Than You Think You Can
The first thing most people need to create a successful startup is the ability to push themselves to think bigger and do bigger. In some cases, that means bigger than you’re comfortable with, bigger than what seems sane. In other cases, it means bigger than you’ve been doing in the practical period leading up to launch. It really is true that the amount of time and energy and pain required is approximately the same to create any size of successful startup. If you focus on something small, what you’re going to learn is small and what you’re going to create is small. Successfully executing a small idea will hurt just the same as if you were learning something big and creating something big.
Be Optimistic And Honest With Yourself
The second thing you need is honesty with yourself. You of course have to maintain optimism to stay motivated when you have doubts, which will be all of the time. To maintain optimism, part of you has to fully believe in what you’re doing. But you can’t go all-in on self-deception when you’re tired of living with doubt, which you will be. If you stop being honest with yourself, you won’t notice quickly enough when you need to change course.
Keep A Clear Head
Number three, clarity. As much clarity in any given situation as you can muster. Your world will be constantly changing, so you’ll be constantly chasing clarity. But that’s actually your job: continuously identifying the most important problems while everything keeps changing.
There’s More To Life
Number four, perspective. Perspective on what’s important and what is truly worth being unhappy or stressed about. You’ll be unhappy plenty of times about plenty of things in your company. You don’t need to become the Buddha to get through it, but you do need to be able to recognize how silly you’re being when business stress causes you to neglect family and friends. If you found out tomorrow a loved one has cancer, you’ll get perspective very quickly. Try not to wait for that. You need your brain to be able to regain perspective on its own. You need to be able to wake up from your startup sleepwalk before life kicks you in the head. There are plenty of balls you can and should drop when deciding work priorities. You can’t drop the ball on relationships without harming those relationships.
Having Purpose Means Choosing Your Purpose
And number five, purpose. This isn’t the same as perspective. Perspective is having the ability to wake up. Purpose is who you are when you wake up. You need to deeply know why you’re doing a startup. Most of us aren’t trying to get humanity to Mars. We’re just trying to improve the lives of people we love, make good use of the opportunities we have, live by our values, be happy, and generally be the best person we can be. Your company is going to be a major sacrifice for the next ten years of your life. If running your business doesn’t give you purpose or isn’t helping you figure out what gives you purpose, then you’ll run out of steam which in turn means your company will run out of steam.