January 17, 2013
Fear is an exceptional motivator.
If you are running an early stage startup and you are not in a constant state of terror, you are doing something wrong.
Fear is wasting a day working on clerical housekeeping or spending weeks chasing funding, and not improving your product or service.
Fear is having quit your $200,000 a year job to now earn zero.
Fear is seeing a competitor launch a genius new product or feature.
Fear is not knowing whether you can afford payroll 3 months from now.
Fear is a day going by with no customer signups.
Fear is having no Plan B for your life. This startup is your life.
Fear is your market hypothesis being wrong.
If you are running an early stage startup and you have no fear, you will fail. If you have no fear, it means you don't have enough on the line. Perhaps you've raised a lot of funding and think your worries are over. Perhaps you don't have any rent or bills to pay or a family who depends on you.
Perhaps you live in an echo-chamber of masturbatory self-congratulation.
No fear results in zero business model "traction first" startups that only Silicon Valley can sustain and reward. This is not your goal.
No fear results in frivilous spending and high burn rates.
No fear results in lethargy, procrastination and a lack of drive.
No fear results in blindness. If you stumble upon a great opportunity - pivot.
Screw over-analysis. The number one goal of an early stage startup is survival.
Is your company going to be around a year from now? How? Raising a round of funding? Wrong answer if you're outside of the USA.
Early stage startups - please be more afraid.