Cold, ruthless, fearless and merciless. That’s the perfect entrepreneur. Silicon Valley is filled with smart people, but very few real entrepreneurs. Most are either “lollipops” or “wannabees”. Smart kids that want to make a difference and have the guts and intelligence to do so but, in actuality, that’s not enough to build an iconic company. To build companies you have to be prepared to make a lifetime commitment to a life of uncertainty, competition and stress. I am very sorry for s lot of friends and smart wannabees that have thrown years of their life into a fruitless company. And, as I write this post, I think of each and every one of them.
The ones that lost their homes and had to fire dozens of employees. The ones that tragically died at a young age because of their lifestyle. The ones that carry endless scars of failure, competition and nightmares that don’t seem to go away.
A lot of people accuse me of being cold-blooded, bold and “a little bit evil”. Allow me to make a statement about this regard: they’re right. The reason I’m not more like Gordon Gekko or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is simply because of my lacking of virtues, but because of a lack of desire. In this day and age, if you are not bold, brave and persistent, you’re simply not going to make the cut.
If you’re a lollipop (ergo, the “I wanna change the world with this photo app type”) you’re in for a big surprise: bankers will eat you alive, VC will eat you alive, employees will laugh behind your back and you’ll burn millions of dollars trying to “make an impact”, “make a dent in the universe” or “create the next big thing”. I’ll try to give you some advice: take all your “startup books” and burn them. You heard me, burn them. Instead buy books about concrete subjects like programming, project management or financial reporting.
Do you think is in your best interest to pay 50K dollars to go to a conference just to hear someone say “hire the best people”. What about giving your best employee a 50K dollar bonus for shipping two months early.
Don’t become a sociopath like Gekko, but be prepared, because you’ll be fighting against many a sociopath, and they want your your customers, your employees, and, ultimately, your blood.