As an Industry Analyst I have studied, spent time with and written about countless start up’s over the years. Most of the time I believe you can spot winners almost immediately (not always but most of the time). But the factor is not working endless hours it is in my opinion a happy workforce that all focused on the same end goal.
Happy in as much as they all enjoy working at the firm and enjoy each others company (we are not talking ping pong and foosball tables) — just folks that are mutually supportive and respect one another.
Focused in that they all understand and are committed to the firms ultimate goal. This second one is surprisingly rare — many start ups have folks that ‘understand’ the technology but have little understanding of its value in the outside world — or for that matter its value to another investor or potential buyer of the firm. Firms where everyone ‘get’s it’ are not that common.
I have seen so many people work endless hours — that are either burned out, spend much of that time on social media or looking for the next job where they will not be worked into the ground.