Why Your IQ Won’t Make Your Company Successful

Does your high-achiever personality bode well for your startup?

Were you that A student that aced every test or project? Did you boost your high school ranking by taking every advanced class? Were you that person who signed up for three extra-curricular activities in order to maximize you chance at an Ivy League education? Did you turn around and basically do the same thing in college?

Congratulations! You are a high achiever who recognized the game mastered the art of and optimized your execution of that same game. You see the game is played by an intense focus on uncovering the hidden mostly unspoken parameters of success. You are either that person or you know a person like this. They take the right classes, volunteer for all the right programs that provide access to all the right people.

They also study intensely hard and figure out how that professor/teacher will test in order to again improve their grading results. The overall result is a great GPA and a stellar resume that are your signal to the world that you are at the top of your game.

Education success will mean almost nothing for your future startup success.

Launching a startup business is not a game that has a quietly hidden set of rules to be gamed. If there were a set playbook (explicitly known or implicitly revealed) we all would have found it and executed the playbook. (I would not be operating as an investor betting on you, I would be launching my own businesses and betting on me.) Think how many college students graduate with great GPA’s.

What I want you to do is translate that high-achiever mentality from trying to uncover the game, to actually uncovering the product/market fit for your idea (if it exists at all).

Product/Market fit is the only rule for startup success.

That is the only rule you need to understand and figure out. Of course it turns out that most fail at finding this beautiful blend of the right product for the right audience. Welcome to the game with no rules.

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.

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