Fear . . .

Brad Feld posted an article last week titled, “Don’t Let Fear Dominate Your Thinking” which has me thinking (always a dangerous endeavor I know).  Interestingly enough I have been mulling this FEAR thing over in my head a lot lately.

Our view into the entrepreneurial psyche is unique  and frankly with the numbers we have access to over the last 18 months (16 companies and 35+ founders) there is a treasure trove of data & insights.

Fear is a thread I think about with our companies every day.  Our Friday CEO/Founder lunches have one primary goal – to expose new founders to the horror stories from other founders. Personal relationships, fundraising, product decisions, hiring & firing are all topics where fear creeps in and can have a material effect.

Throughout our program, I want new founders to see that they are not alone in their fears.  As much as everyone thinks they are unique – in terms of primal startup fear – you are not.

Psychologically, we may not be able to stop you from fear dominating your thinking.  Maybe we can take the edge off that fear.  But that is not enough.  As founders, I think we are always thinking and removing 5, 10 or 25% off of that is positive but not enough.

I want to take Brad’s thread a step further.  DON’T LET FEAR DOMINATE YOUR DECISIONS.  This is where the real rubber meets the road.  Lately, I am viewing some new startup executives (founder is not the right title now), making decisions based on fear.  Mostly, I think, the fear of failure.

Success is not keeping the company alive.  Success is creating and operating a growing and relevant company.  If fear is dominating your decisions – you invest differently, you prioritize differently, you pitch your company differently.  All of these are inhibitors in my opinion.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

2 comments On Fear . . .

  • Dynamite – your interpretation of what I was saying about Fear is super helpful / actionable!

  • Great stuff Chris! Fear must be something that the founder and executive have a healthy handle on. I truly believe fear of failure is what keeps millions of would be entrepreneurs from ever taking the first step.

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