Making the right decision at the right time is one of the hallmarks of a great founder or entrepreneur. The job of a founder and CEO is to make decisions based on a long-term vision of what could be and with limited knowledge of what will be. No position in a startup is more important than that of the CEO, and no job is more criticized.
Often CEOs make decisions based on incomplete information, which requires courage and the knowledge that with the unknown comes risks.
Therefore, the CEO must have the courage to bet on a direction for the company. The difficult (and often the most important) decisions are hard to make because they will set a course that might be unpopular with the CEO’s key stakeholders (employees, investors, and customers).
Julian Shapiro, a writer and founder of Demand Curve, a Y Combinator startup that helps grow startups, explains ten significant things that the best startup founders get right.
Shapiro used his knowledge of helping more than 400 founders grow their startups via tweets:
1. They retrain their minds to enjoy being wrong. Shapiro explained that they get dopamine (feel good) hit when proven wrong because they are excited to be closer to the truth. The truth is addictive. In contrast, if you refuse to lose a debate, ‘your brain keeps running old firmware.’
2. Value for the future: Successful people have mastered delayed gratification. He said They let themselves feel a dopamine hit when they do something that makes their future selves better. They have learned to value their future self as much as their present self.
3. They have success in two ways. Success in life appears to be two things:
- Point yourself in the right direction.
- Do the work even when you are not in the mood. (And privilege.)
4. Three approaches to achieve success in projects
There are 3 ways to approach projects:
- Craftsperson: Satisfaction comes from making something the best it can be.
- Artist: Satisfaction comes from capturing part of yourself.
- Passenger: Not about satisfaction—just a means to an end. Know which you are. Lean into it. Explaining further, Shapiro said it more like being accepting that you’ll take laissez-faire and not letting it build anxiety.
4. Luck is a function of surface area. You increase your odds by exposing yourself to more opportunities and more people.
5. Smart people focus on what compounds in life:
- Investing money
- Building an audience
- Leaning in when you’re wrong
- Making decisions using mental models
- Building deeper relationships with interesting people. “You’ll regret not having started these in a year from now,” he added.
6. Similar traits
Ultimately, effective people share three traits:
- Bias toward taking action. No lazy deferring.
- Always looking to prove themselves wrong.
- Regularly reassess their priorities without any fear of changing them.
7. Key: They balance progress with indulging curiosity.
8. Smart founders tend to understand the basics of online privacy
9. Proactive: There is a reason why successful people tend to be proactive and resourceful. He said founders are always ‘extending their reach’. Reach is a serendipity engine.
10. Taking action always. Shapiro explains that taking action is about the rate of iteration and persistence.
“I don’t know one highly effective person who isn’t strongly biased toward taking action. They defer the stuff that doesn’t matter, and they always finish the stuff that does.”
The article is credited to Julian Shapiro’s tweets and slightly edited for clarify purposes.
You can reach SHAPIRO via https://twitter.com/Julian or https://www.julian.com/about