Hiking and Underwear

This is a fantastic list of things to think and talk through with others if you’re considering starting something new… anything new, for that matter:

  1. Are you ready to fully own the ambiguity of a new initiative?
  2. Is your spouse fully on board?
  3. How will you accelerate the process of building trust with new partners?
  4. How will you protect the climate within your skull?
  5. How are you going to source enough good ideas?
  6. What are you compulsive about? Is it possible to put that at the center of the platform’s activity?
  7. Are you really focusing on what you’re going to value over the long term?

#2 and #4 are particularly interesting and shouldn’t be quickly passed over. In fact, those two should cause you to pause for a very long time, especially if you don’t have any immediate (good) response.

I’ve made the mistake of not getting buy-in from my wife on projects and even job opportunities — the cost was way too high and I’ll never do that again, ever.

I have also not done as good of a job as I could have thinking pro-actively about the number of challenges that I already have and making sure that I was consistently working on optimizing the climate in my skull.

Meaning, there was definitely a period early-on in my current project’s lifecycle where I “took a break” on working through the psychological and emotional challenges of building an early-stage company.

And, I paid for that lapse in spades.

Graham makes a very clear point that can’t be missed:

Your primary objective should thus be to maintain the right filters for people and ideas so that the delicate ecosystem in your head is as resilient and flexible as possible.

That makes good hiring crucial: the people around you will either protect or infringe on the climate within your skull.

The difference between success and failure for an early-stage company lives and dies by the founding team, full-stop. It’s people over everything, and if you’ve got the right people then you can create tight alignment and move with speed.

But, if you don’t have the right climate, then, you’re never going to get there; it would be like hiking up a mountain in your underwear — it’s better that you don’t do that.