Make It Happen Monday: Would You Bet Your Life On Your Business?

Last Thursday our team attended the Tech Cocktail speaker series brought to the community by the Downtown Project and had the opportunity to hear brilliant venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur David S Kidder share some pivotal points that all entrepreneurs should consider. ¬†If you want to know even more, make sure you grab his book “The Start Up Playbook“. ¬†David posed the question, “Would you bet your life on your business if it passed through these 5 lenses?”

1. Proprietary gifts: David studied the most successful entrepreneurs in the world and identified that each of them knew themselves and had unbiased awareness and reflection.  Their instinct was to seek out unfair advantages.  

2. Extreme focus: David identified that they each had the courage to fail fast, to say no, to accept imperfect answers, and to select fewer things to focus on. ¬†The fight every day is to have that extreme focus because when you dilute your focus, you become average instead of extraordinary. ¬†Your instinct should be to embrace patience. ¬†Startups don’t die- they run out of money. ¬†A morph, not kill mentality about teams and investments will help you get where you want to go.

3. Painkillers: The goal for all entrepreneurs should be to create addictive drugs that solve lifelong chronic pain rather than vitamin products, which are biased pet projects.  In the venture capital space this is the most discussed point because it is the hardest thing for all entrepreneurs to do.  Pain creates proprietary customer insights and understanding.  Part of our obsession as entrepreneurs is the shift from problem solving to revenue generation and to understand the entire comprehensive market place.  Entrepreneurs want to become something that matters more.

4. 10x better: David had the opportunity to interview some of the world’s leading entrepreneurs from Tony Hsieh to Elon Musk. ¬†All of them looked for solutions that were at least 10x better than what currently existed. ¬†Incrementalism is a path to nowhere. ¬†Really this comes down to execution and the things that you pour your time and energy into. ¬†Everything has to be over focused on the things that create the assets that you could sell the entire company for in 5 years if you just sold for assets. ¬†If you are not at least 10x better than anyone else, no venture capitalist will invest in you. Your instinct has to be to concentrate on 10x outcomes instead of 1x outcomes by searching for lynchpin insights. ¬†Overall, you must know your business and know your operations.

5. Monopolistic: New growth is stupidly hard and you must accept this fact by aggressively designing in customer capture. ¬†You should surgically embed and entangle with hooks and barbs the customer capture, so that if the customer ever wants to leave, they are so connected that it would be nearly impossible. ¬†Your goal should be to create value that is so sticky that the customer won’t go anywhere. ¬†You instinct must be to seek truth not hope.

David’s presentation at the Learning Village offered the real world pragmatism that optimistic entrepreneurs rarely want to hear, but need to hear. He encouraged all of the entrepreneurs in the room to focus on rapid learning from the truths of failures and to embrace Darwinian learning. He believes that entrepreneurial instincts can be taught and that we should destroy success theatre by getting back to the authenticity of reality checks. Our team found him tremendously inspiring and we were grateful that David took his time to come share these priceless insights with us. ¬†