Brian Ma's Blog (@zealoustiger)

Weekly insights from an Entreprenuer: To spend one year as a tiger is better than to live forever as sheep

5 tests: Are you a startup guy/gal?

Startup people are rare.  Actually, I take that back.  People that dabble in startups (side project here and there) – plenty.  People that are willing to risk everything and go at it full force – rare.  So what is it that makes someone a “startup junkie”?  Here’s what I’ve gathered from observing successful startupers:

You want to change the world – This one is pretty obvious.  You want to have an impact and you want to help people.  You see things that are inefficient or problems that people just overlook and it frustrates you to no end.  There’s a constant bell that rings inside your head everywhere that you go, whatever situation you’re in.  “There has to be a better way”.

You’re stubborn – People think you’re crazy.  Even worse, they think your idea is horrible.  But despite all that, you don’t listen.  You believe in yourself and your idea so much that you tune them out.  Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re wrong, but it doesn’t matter to you.  No one’s going to sway you because you’ve made up your mind.  Lets just hope they’re wrong.

You embrace failure – Failure doesn’t irk you, because you know failure like the back of your hand.  You know you will fail.  You’ve stopped fearing it and now just expect it.  Your job is not to not fail, but to not fail so much.  And when you do fail you know how to respond – by learning.  Each failure only builds you up.  And when you fail, you’ll know – cause there is no one else to blame.

You’re financially stable – Lets talk practical.  Everyone who throws themselves at a startup venture first calculates their risk.  And $$ is a big part of that.  Financial stability doesn’t mean you have millions of dollars.  It just means you can support yourself for a while (at least a year) even if some disaster happens.  Though hard to control since it really depends on your environment, (age, family, relationships, connection to money, savings, market, economy, etc) there are definitely little things you can do to make yourself less risk adverse.

Thought of being a drop in a bucket of water drains you – It actually physically drains your soul.  You’re tired from all the energy you spend pulling down the red tape only to get your project approved 6 months later when you don’t care anymore.  You’re tired of politics.  You’re tired of not making an impact.  Don’t get me wrong – there are a ton of awesome large corporation people – you’re just not one of them.  The comfy couch is not you.


Do you fit these criterias?  If so, you are one in a bazillion.  Get off your couch and do something.  Live the dream.  Fix the world.

One response to “5 tests: Are you a startup guy/gal?

  1. Michael Marlatt December 6, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Great post- I really enjoyed the read.

    There’s an old Chinese Proverb that I particularly like and it goes something like this… “One often meets his destiny on the path he takes to avoid it.”

    A person may have a great business idea but lack passion to execute. The analogy I often use is, passion is like the fuel that powers our car. You may own a Ferrari (i.e., “world-changing-idea”), but, without the required fuel your car’s not going anywhere.

    Thanks for the inspiration-

    Michael Marlatt

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