This article is part of a series of answers that Ethan, COO of Truework, provided for Quora. See the full list by clicking here"
There are no easy ways to make a startup succeed. There are many more ways it can fail than succeed. Truework has a long way to go before we succeed, and we can still fall victim to many of the traps. Others have written much more eloquently and with much more experience than myself, I would encourage you to read some of Paul Graham’s old essays.
Some things that I think we did right so far that have allowed us to get as far as we’ve gotten today:
Spend time figuring out all the ways you are likely to fail before you even start. Be honest with yourself about your assumptions. Are you solving an actual problem? Are people willing to pay for a solution to this problem? Is this problem one of the top five things that your perspective customer cares about? What unique insight do you have that will allow to succeed? What factors make you are trying to do possible right now? If you can find a glaring problem with any of these questions, it’s likely they will grow tenfold when you actually try to build the company.
Secondly, focus. You will want to do ten million things and have time for two. Clarity of vision will allow you to execute on your highest leverage projects and get to where you want to go as fast as possible. The smallest deviation from setting the right course at the beginning will diverge exponentially over time.
Finally, it’s not all doom and gloom. As Wayne Gretzky said “you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take”, the venture capital market is incredibly willing to fund crazy ideas that show a clarity and conviction of vision. If you have the opportunity, the best way to ensure you will not succeed is to never try to create your vision of how the world should work. If you want to help us succeed in our mission to help consumers control their personal data, check us out.
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