Success Regardless

business advice

As long as you have perseverance, courage & self-belief, you can succeed regardless of your imperfect execution.

Last week I wrote about how my success as an entrepreneur has been mostly down to a bit of luck and hard work.

So it was interesting when I read Dave McClure's latest update on how things were going at 500Startups. This bit specifically intrigued me:

"These were painful lessons, and we occasionally pissed off founders or co-investors when we delayed getting money to people who needed it. We also missed critical emails, misplaced important legal documents, forgot about or slept through board meetings, and overlooked offers from potential investors to invest in our fund (seriously, i wish we weren't so fucking clueless sometimes, but all of those things really did happen). I can only hope we haven't caused any irreparable damage to our founders or companies, altho i'm sure we've been the source of anger & frustration for a number of folks at times. Ultimately we are only human, and we've had to eat a lot of humble pie as we learned to crawl / walk / run... sigh."

First off, I think it's fantastic that anyone is willing to share their experiences / thoughts in such a raw and transparent way. There's something about the way that Dave has written the whole update that allows you to transcend the boundaries (of not actually having experienced those things) and actually feel the emotion associated with the journey.

The second thing that jumped out at me is how 500Startups have succeeded without actually being perfect in their execution. Without knowing every minor detail of every success and failure they've had, the above paragraph alludes to execution that I'd probably call above-average.

But then how is it possible for anyone to be so successful if their execution is only above-average? Average logic dictates that your execution needs to be immaculate to succeed.


To be successful, I don't think that you need even near-perfect execution. Throughout the last couple of years, I mostly only learnt about those things that don't work. Entrepreneurship is trial-and-error in that sense.

But there is one thing that you should take from the above paragraph about how to be successful: you need to have an outlier-amount of perseverance, courage and self-belief. Read Dave McClure's whole update and you can find themes of succeeding against the odds, doing things in their own unique way and a never-say-die-kinda attitude to going about their business.

As long as you have perseverance, courage & self-belief, you can succeed regardless of your imperfect execution.