I had a GroundWork mentoring session last week with a founder I’d never met before. For the first half, he was very engaged but was defensive and eager to explain why his startup idea was brilliant and how I was missing the point.
Then it happened. He was lost for words. His story wasn’t cogent and he came to see that. A switch flipped and he became humble and receptive. At the end, he paused for a moment, looked down and shook his head. Then he raised his head and thanked me for giving him “the most massive face full of truth” he’d ever gotten about his startup and himself as a founder.
In case anyone cares, this is why I do what I do — Startup Haven, the Accelerator, the Fund, mentoring, advising, all of it.
We, as founders, tell a lot of different stories about our startups… to investors, to employees, to partners, to our family. Those stories are necessary; but they don’t materially impact the ultimate success of the business… because they are pretty much never cogent, i.e., they just can’t stand against the rigor of reason or logic or time. There is literally no other thing that a founder can do to improve their probability of success than to build a cogent story. So I’m gonna keep trying to help founders do that as long as I can.