I enjoyed my regular morning call with an entrepreneur today. We laughed and joked, compared notes on work done and to be done, and left knowing it is a good time to be working together. That is what the fun is all about.
Fun is important to startups. It is one of the Four Elements of the Adventure:
Serial entrepreneurs know "When it stops being fun, it is time to depart." And they mean it. And they go.
You can still sense the fun at Google. I joined an evening there last week when Cornell University alumni met and listened to people explain what they did and why they were so enthusiastic about working at Google. It seems to me that Google is more of a culture than a business. That is a powerful part of an unfair advantage. It is what the adventure contains.
Yes, I know Google is no longer a startup. I simply wanted to show you that once you have the fun part of the adventure institutionalized in your startup culture, you have created something very powerful, very good.
BOTTOM LINE: Keep the fun alive! It is a key to building an unfair advantage. It is part of the adventure. When that turns into work, it is time to head for the exits. Of course you will work hard, but it still needs to be fun. Winners understand that. Think about it.