Startup Psychology

You are reading the Startup Lore - Deyan's guide to creating successful startups.

Table of Contents:
  1. Introduction to the Startup Lore
  2. Understanding Startups
  3. Building the Startup Organization
  4. Achieving Product/Market Fit
  5. Conclusion

Version 0.3 (alpha, i.e. still needs lots of work). Last update on 7/13/2014.

Summary: Startups are an incredible emotional rollercoaster. That's why the entrepreneurial team should take extra care to manage their psychology.

One of the most challenging things to manage in a startup is your own mental state. Since startups are by their very nature contrarian and uncertain, the entrepreneurial team often needs to be a bit schizophrenic - holding multiple contradicting ideas simultaneously.

There are plenty of examples: Founders need to be visionaries convinced that their idea will change the world. And yet, history clearly shows that ideas change - often dramatically - before achieving true product/market fit. Founders need to act with authority in order to motivate and inspire their team, investors, and customers. And yet learning and flexibility are key in a highly uncertain environment. Founders need to persist in order to make their idea a reality. And yet they need to quit or pivot if going down a dead end. I could go on but I think my point is clear: startups can be extremely taxing mentally because often it is really hard to tell what the right decision is!

While I don't have a magic silver bullet to resolve this issue, I will offer 3 tips that can help manage the entrepreneurial team's mental well-being:

Next, I discuss other issues that the entrepreneurial team needs to spend time on while building the startup.

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[1] Rationalizing is just one type of cognitive bias. There are many more. I highly recommend researching this topic for those interested in improving their decision making abilities.

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