I have been part of two day 0 startups so far in my career. One I co-founded, the other I was acqui-hired into. Both were in the SaaS space and we were taking an idea and building something from essentially scratch. Day 0 startups are a special place that constantly is in a tug-of-war between love and logic.
As a founder and entrepreneur I can tell you that a startup is a pretty intoxifying place. The passion, energy and optimism is real, you feel like you can take on anything. That feeling is important, most startups are cash strapped (lower wages), resource strapped (long hours) and have very little competitive advantage (people are usually skeptical of new things). Startups, and the people who work there, really are powered by passion and love for whatever it is they are building. Each startup I have had the honor to be a part of has assembled some absolutely amazing teams of smart people who in their own careers have been highly successful. And while they all joined with that same passion, love and excitement for what we were about to build, we all have that same internal conflict going to decide when love needs to give way to logic.
While nothing can replace that passion and excitement, at some point you need to run a business. Marketing, sales and product usage are metrics driven functions and there comes a time when lead generation numbers, opportunity close rates and product usage trends become real decision-making factors in any business. This love vs. logic battle is something that all entrepreneurs and founders go through and there is nothing wrong with it because both are important. I can confidently say that i went into both startups that I was a part of 110% believing in the initial vision and mission we were on. I can also tell you that in both instances, using data, we pivoted the business in the first year to address what the early adopters were telling us. How they used the product, the value props they experienced, and how the company was viewed by external parties.
The constant tug-of-war is something that all founders go through. I’ve experienced it myself and I have watched friends and colleagues go through the same back and forth between love and logic. There is no replacing the passion and excitement around building a product or service that adds value or brings joy to your customers but in the evolution of any startup there comes a time when logic must be applied. Finding that balance, following the numbers while still letting you passion and mission drive your business forward is the genesis of many of the world most successful startups.