Friday 28 May 2010

Is Entrepreneurial Drive a Good Predictor of Success?

Neon Sign "Beauty Supply", New Jerse...Image via Wikipedia
Ever since I stepped down at Zemanta I declared that I'll be actively helping new startups succeed. I'm still enjoying that time while figuring out what to do next. I don't charge for advice or intros. Well, I always enjoy giving advice over nice lunch, but that's another story.

And so it happend over past  three days, I talked to roughly 10 startups, had deep sessions with 4 of them and talked about 6 additional ones. All of them had one thing in common: they are all first time startups with unexperienced entrepreneurs. 

However it was again the intense experience that revealed a striking question: is the entrepreneur's drive good predictor of success? We've all been there and seen presentations after presentations where some of the presenters seem lifeless and some too driven for their own good. 

It's common understanding that startups need a leader and a time with a drive to succeed. But I'm more and more convinced that the drive is actually overrated or at least misinterpreted. I was approached by a guy with an incredible drive, but more I listened to him, less substance I saw. Some investors I know would love him! 

On the next day  I talked to another startup that is far less outgoing, but with a very clear vision and impressive idea and strategy. They did their fair share of mistakes in the process, but still they understand the risk and are willing to take educated bets. And they know they positioning themselves as a fairly unattractive to potential investors. They were very "European": modest, quite, polite, analytical. 

I have no idea if they'll succeed or not, but they at least gave me a fresh perspective that a startup and it's founders don't need to be moulded in a unified "American" form to be perspective.

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1 comment:

Zemantic dreams said...

Maybe the trick is in drive+solving an actual problem.

Lots of times lack of substance is connected to the fact that the problem is not really pinpointed.