If you aren’t familiar with the honey badger, stop right now and watch this video. You’re welcome.
Just like a great founder, nothing can stop the honey badger.
I first encountered the honey badger when my partner Dave Balter, a serial entrepreneur, sold his company. When I eventually met his new colleagues, they asked me if I knew about his spirit animal — the honey badger. Dave notoriously spent some portion of every single day for two years renegotiating his earn-out. He was an animal. He was relentless. He was a honey badger.
Great founders have the capacity to blow through walls. Over and over again they will confront challenges by finding creative solutions to overcome obstacles. I’m a Partner at Pillar, an early-stage VC firm in Boston, and we look for founders who are a force of nature. Founders who are persistent. Founders who are unstoppable.
There’s no better way to convey the parallel between entrepreneurs and honey badgers than with this video (warning — watching one video about honey badgers will immediately pull you down a rabbit hole of watching video after video…).
To set the scene, the honey badger is contained in a large, high, cement-walled enclosure in the wild. Here’s what happens:
- The honey badger immediately figures out how to scale a wire fence and use its claws to unhinge several heavy-duty locks securing the enclosure.
- The locks are replaced. The honey badger digs a hole under the cement wall to tunnel its way to the other side.
- The hole is plugged. The honey badger gathers heavy rocks and stacks them up, scurrying to the top to scale the wall yet again.
- The honey badger continues to use a rake, a shovel and a tree branch to propel itself out of the enclosure.
- And perhaps the most creative of all, at one point, the honey badger rolls balls of mud and stacks them up to build a mud ladder.
You get the picture. The honey badger don’t care.
This Wikipedia description says it all:
[The honey badger] has few natural predators because of its thick skin and ferocious defensive abilities.
Their resilience is inspiring (and a little frightening). They are curious. They are persistent. They are relentless. They are confident. They are fearless.
Dear Founder: Remember that you too are a “little warrior.”
You just Don’t. Mess. With a Honey Badger.
Like what you read? Show some ❤ below.