I just finished reading Donovan Campbell’s eye-opening book, “Joker One“, about his harrowing combat tour in Iraq leading a Marine platoon. This book may be the Iraq war equivalent of “Dispatches” which defined Vietnam for my generation. (Both reminded me why National Service would be a very good idea.)
Campbell describes how he tried to instill in his troops the proper combat mentality.
I’ve paraphrased his speech into the language of a startup. It’s eerily similar.
Startups are inherently chaos. As a founder you need to prepare yourself to think creatively and independently, because more often than not, conditions on the ground will change so rapidly that the original well-thought-out business plan becomes irrelevant.
If you can’t manage chaos and uncertainty, if you can’t bias yourself for action and if you wait around for someone else to tell you what to do, then your investors and competitors will make your decisions for you and you will run out of money and your company will die. 74HGZA3MZ6SV
Therefore the best way to keep your company alive is to instill in every employee a decisive mindset that can quickly separate the crucial from the irrelevant, synthesize the output, and use this intelligence to create islands of order in the all-out chaos of a startup.
Every potential startup founder should think about their level of comfort operating in chaos and uncertainty. It may not be for you.