This is a draft of a chapter of my new book. Your comments are welcome.
Doing a startup is like building a bicycle while you are riding it. Awkward, demanding, risky, exciting, fun and rewarding. Nothing else is like it. There is no school that teaches that.
(Chapter 1 continued)
As you may have surmised by now, the psychology of startup execution is special. Startup CEOs never feel safe. The bicycle is forever tottering. It’s parts work but awkwardly and do not always do what they were designed to do. The business will not run smoothly. It is never “a well oiled machine.” The ground being traveled on is always very rough. There is no easy way path. That impacts the guts of people. Their safety zones. The things they rely on to feel good about themselves. Startups make people irritable and short tempered. They can be downright ornery. The rollercoaster up and down is terrifying every time. Like real war, fear is a close companion to startup warriors. And yet they still love doing the startup.
Startups are also fun. They are a great relief from giant company politics. Startup people are optimists, positive on what can happen. They see the glass half full. They come to work daily with eager anticipation for what exciting things will happen. They expect surprises and thrive on them. Negative events are just another challenge. Together they form a special cadre. Their startup becomes a special mark to them, a brand they created, a place great to work at, where people do amazing things because they liked doing them and think they are exciting. Together they will execute, aiming at creating a great company that does great things together. That merges into a culture and begins to define and differentiate your startup. Some serial entrepreneurs think building company culture is central to their success.