Michael Seibel of YC on Startups: Not enough startups are celebrated for their discipline and focus

Too many successful founders are celebrated for their intelligence. Not enough are celebrated for their discipline, focus, understanding of when to copy and when to innovate, and ability to ignore what is not vitally important. These last 4 are trainable.

Michael Seibel, Partner at YC
Some morning thoughts on startups:
If you find yourself competing to win the love of of investors remember that you build your company to service your customers and the world. Investors are simple service providers who help you with capital along the way.
If you look around the startup ecosystem you can find too many founders who believe that famous investor + lots of employees = winning. I bet most of your VC backed competitors feel this way and you can use this to defeat them (they aren’t talking to customers nearly enough).
Too many successful founders are celebrated for their intelligence. Not enough are celebrated for their discipline, focus, understanding of when to copy and when to innovate, and ability to ignore what is not vitally important. These last 4 are trainable.
Too many startup founders are trying to relive high school with their startup. They are trying to be the cool kid in the eyes of investors, their peers, and the press (but not their customers). And their companies don’t create any value. Remember – don’t peak in high school!
The more of a scene the startup world becomes – the more founders focus on work that has nothing to do with serving their customers. If your founder peers are doing this – don’t copy them!
It doesn’t matter how smart you are or how much money you have. If you are working on the wrong tasks – your company will fail.
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