You can’t sing about that yet

I remember seeing an older singer, whose life was a drama worthy of a movie, tell a younger singer struggling with a song “you’re not old enough to sing that yet.” Think about this…

Have you tried to build something and seen it go nowhere? Been delighted when people tell you your idea is cool? Have you had your heart broken when an unheard of competitor comes out and redefines your market? Been enthralled when the first users sign up? Have you seen customers who shook hands on a contract hesitate before signing and then suddenly go on “vacation”? Been ecstatic when people start to pay for your product? Have you spent months or years working on something only to afterwards count “what we learned” as the only benefit you got? Been psyched to see people write about your work? Have you wanted to bang your head against a wall when the team fights? Been thankful when the team comes up with a great fix when you’re away?

Well, good. Now you have a deeper understanding of business and the human condition. You couldn’t get that from a book or a blog.

Otherwise it’s like trying to sing about love without having ever loved. You can say the words and go through the motions but your audience will know the difference.

Combine all that with theory and intense learning and you’ve got the makings of a great entrepreneur.
I remember telling an investor about my previous startup — that things weren’t going to work out and that we were going to move on. I said this almost with embarrassment. I’ll never forget what he said: 
“Well, congratulations. You’ve got the first one down, now you can work on something else. You didn’t really think this one was going to be the one, anyway, right? I mean, it almost never works. Your chances are less than 1 in 100. Anyway, congratulations. Now, check this new thing out I’m looking at…”
Filed in: lean startup