What is one of the most common behavioral patterns of young startup founders?
Depthless impulse married with an action bias.
Action bias is good. Action bias with impulse is accident-prone. Action bias with depthless impulse is disastrous.
Here’s a story of a young startup founder and his mentor:
A young startup founder went to his newfound mentor and said passionately, “I am committed to learning your thinking process. How long will it take me to master it?”
The mentor’s reply was casual, “3 years.” Impatiently, the young startup founder answered, “But I want to learn it faster than that. I will work very hard. I will practice every day, 12 or more hours a day. How long will it take then?”
“5 years,” replied the mentor.
“But, if I really, really work hard at it and give my best shot. Maybe 16 or 18 hours a day if I have to. How long then?” asked young startup founder.
The mentor paused for a moment and said, “Well, 10 years.”
“But, I do not understand,” said the disappointed young startup founder. “At each time that I say I will work harder, you say it will take me longer. Why do you say that?”
Replied the mentor,” When you have one eye on mastering my thinking process, you have only one eye on the path that leads to learning my thinking process.”
The same is the case with many young startup founders. They get so excited about the result their idea might produce that they fail to give their 100% into walking the path that leads to the result they once imagined.
Depthless impulse is easy; getting into the verticle depth of the matter is not. It is painful. It is boring. It takes more time than you think it should take. But above all, it is a surefire way to achieve your best potential. And the whole notion of the startup is to achieve one’s best potential, isn’t it?
Startups that do not want to invest in verticle depth cease to exist sooner than later.
Not because they don’t figure out the different ideas to pursue but because they don’t pursue the ideas differently.
Don’t let your startup cease. Only action bias won’t save your startup. Practice slow mastery over depthless impulse and experience it yourself.