“What have I learnt? BELIEF IS ALL.”
Those were the last words in the liner notes by Paul Weller on the last album of his band, The Jam. The Jam were my favorite band that came out of the punk rock movement of the late 1970's.
They combined punk ethos with the melodic sensibility of The Beatles. Weller was the leader (the CEO if you will) of the group, so his words mattered.
There are a lot of parallels between successful musical acts and successful startups:
A. You need a combination of things to go right in order to succeed as a musician, and you need a combination of things to go right in order to succeed as a startup. And…
B. You have to be different. Musicians are true entrepreneurs. You have to be different, just like a startup, if you’re going to succeed. And…
C. You have very low odds of success. The odds of a musical act succeeding are something like 10,000 to 1. That’s not much different than for startup. And…
D. You don’t have much money when you start. Musicians don’t have much money when they start. Most startups begin the same way with very little money.
Yeah, I can tell you that you that you need a great team around you. You do.
And, yeah, I can tell you that you need a great idea to go with your great team. You do.
And yeah, I can tell you’re likely going to need some luck and timing too.
You’re going to need belief.
Paul Weller was right. Belief or fanaticism (read: ), or whatever you want to call it is critical to success when you’re starting a new venture.
There are so many hurdles you’re going to have to overcome. So many that you can’t even imagine.
What are you going to do when:
- You’re cofounder quits and steals your IP, leaves you for dead and tries to start an identical company. Or…
- When your office is broken into and the engineering team’s laptops are stolen? Or…
- When your largest customer abruptly stops buying your product(s)? Or…
- When the funding you counted on disappears in an instant because one of your investors backs out of the deal? Or…
- When it’s Monday and you don’t have enough money to make Wednesday’s payroll?
I had every one of these things happen and more happen to me during my journey.
Belief and fanaticism is what got me through the tough times.
I honestly don’t know how you’re going to make it if you don’t believe in yourself and what you’re doing. When the first crisis hits, you’ll likely cave without belief.
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