How Starting a Company is Like Climbing Everest

You know what happens to people who try to rush to the top, don't you?  [This originally ran at INC.com here.] Our accelerator, The Triangle Startup Factory, is in week five of the current 12-week program. A combination of structured mentoring and serendipitous advice is the order of the day. Our current founders are all smart, thoughtful, high-energy, pedal-to-the-metal people. This is fun. But I have one concern. A big one. I was having trouble describing it naturally. So one of our local mentors offered an analogy that seems to fit: In order to climb Mt Everest, you must plan, work, and make adjustments at each of four Base Camps. How does this relate to start-ups? Founders create product road maps detailing and prioritizing various features and functions. They outline, test, and roll out various customer acquisition tactics and model how the acquisition costs will come down as their viral coefficient goes up. They consider various funding scenarios and match their vision to funding milestones. But as they do that, they tend to in terms of Base Camp 4. Especially if they have a high level of entrepreneurial DNA, as our people do. They immediately project three years down the road.

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