Startup problems

Startup problemsPhoto: Gisela Giardino (CC)


What makes it hard to create a successful startup? In my opinion, skills or lack thereof.

Since I’m a software developer, I created a software company and eventually a product. But, being a software guy makes me ready to run a software company? Well, not really.

I believe the success or failure of a company has little to do with what founders can do well. What really matters is what they can’t yet do well. It’s all that lies out of the comfort zone.

As a software developer, I can perform several technical tasks well enough to have a product running for years with little need for any kind of technical maintenance. That’s great. But it’s far from enough.

There are many important areas that I’m not so skilled at. They represent a sort of discomfort zone to me. Because of that, I naturally tend to dedicate my time on tasks that are more technical in nature just because they’re in my comfort zone.

For instance, marketing is one of the most critical parts of the business. But, it’s far from my comfort zone. This gives me an infinite number of excuses to turn to other more “prioritary” technical tasks. That’s totally wrong and only recently I understood it completely.

Now, if I find myself doing something comfortable, I know for sure that I’m probably dedicating my time to the wrong activity. There’s so much that I need to learn and train in other areas of the business, that there’s little time, if any, to spend in the comfort zone.

It takes a lot of willpower to push ourselves out of the comfort zone with daily actions. Exactly because those actions will have to be so uncomfortable until every important area of the business become well understood and well addressed.

This year, for instance, I’ve decided that I should spend most of my time communicating and doing marketing. That’s something that I overlooked for too long. Time to take care of it.

Comunicating is hard. But if I can’t get my message accross, people won’t know about my product, no matter how wonderful I believe it is. 

What about you? What’s your discomfort zone?