Basketball teams who are trailing by halftime with one point are more likely to win than teams who are leading with one point.

Never underestimate a hungry underdog.

face it

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced,” wrote James Baldwin.

In startup entrepreneurship, you have to face everything all at once. Only to suffer from stress because it’s hard to do everything by yourself.

Prioritize what to face first. Better yet, have the market and your customers prioritize it for you. Whatever they feel the strongest about, that’s the challenge you’ll face first.

featured solution

What does adding a new feature solve? Products, digital and analog add features all the time. Driven by a vision, but even more so, driven by customer feedback and market demand.

With every new bell and whistle added, ask the same question repeatedly. What problem is this solving?

All (new) features should cluster around solving the same solution to the problem your customer is experiencing. If they don’t, reconsider.

not a buffet

Running a business isn’t like queuing for a buffet. Where you glide your platter along, scoop up the food you want, disregard the food you dislike.

Running a business is a multiple course meal where you can’t skip courses, and you have to finish your plates.

In the beginning, you can’t pick and choose. You have to take it all or leave it.

full-contact sport

Entrepreneurship is a full-contact sport.

You need a lot of warming up and permanently train for strength and stamina. Unfortunately, not everyone fights fair, so blows below the belt will be dealt.

Get knocked down seven times, crawl back up eight times.

mess in the middle

In the beginning, there is everything — a lot of potential, ideas, and ambition. Before businesses start, everything is up for grabs. The potential is tantalizing — a clean canvas waiting to be painted.

Later on, when founders start operating the business, it’s a big incomprehensive mess. No clearly defined borders. No idea who should pick up what kind of tasks exactly, and that’s perfectly fine.

At the end, when the business is successful, the canvas looks like a work of art.

Creating something out of nothing is a messy process. Embrace the mess in the middle.

middle trust

A prominent strategy for startups these last couple of years has been; cutting out the middleman. Traditionally, businesses got to their customers through intermediary parties such as agents, brokers, wholesalers, and distributors. Those businesses can now bypass said parties and sell directly to consumers. Transforming many business models drastically in the process.

The issue, however, is that the middlemen haven’t precisely been cut out. They’ve been replaced.

Arguably, AirBnB is one massive middleman, replacing thousands of in-between parties. Uber could be considered as one gigantic taxi dispatching central, replacing a multitude of others.

The way to succeed in a “cutting out the middlemen” strategy is twofold.

On the one hand, transactions have to be facilitated. That’s a given. Those transactions have to be fast, seamless, and convenient.

On the other hand, the perhaps less obvious aspect is becoming the most trustworthy party by far and large.

The middleman with the most trust is the one who will prevail.