Get Off Your Ass. Wipe Off the Blood. Get Back in the Fight.

People always ask me why some people are successful in startups while others are not. And there are definitely some characteristics or experiences that might predispose one to be more successful than another. But that just scratches the top layer of what it really means. Skillset, talent, and experience are important.

But what really sets people apart, in my opinion, (and what sends the pretenders running for the hills) is how you respond to adversity. There are going to be dark days in every startup. Crushing losses. Days where it just seems absolutely impossible. I was very early at LinkedIn and, guess what: There were days like that. The same for EchoSign. And this reality thins out the folks who really shouldn’t be there. Those are the folks who need to be hanging out in the West Tower for Mega Company X.

On your toughest, darkest day, how do you respond? The folks I want to go to battle with are the folks who come back the next day with even more energy then the day before. Who come looking for solutions to problems. Who don’t quit. That’s the difference.

In those times you will realize why there is such a high failure rate in startups. How, in many ways, the odds are stacked against you. For me, this reality is a calming force. Why? Because you realize that there are very few people out there who can successfully do what you are about to endeavor to do. It’s just too damn hard.

Doesn’t that sound fun? If it doesn’t…then this gig ain’t for you.

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