cdixon blog

The default state of a startup is failure

If you are starting a company and wondering why nothing good seems to happen unless you force it to happen, that’s because the world wants to stay the way it is. Customers, partners, and most of all incumbents don’t want to think hard, try new things, or change in any way. The world is lazy and just wants to keep doing what it’s doing.

A friend of mine got a job at a big company and was shocked to see his colleagues worked just a few productive hours a day. They didn’t seem to care about their work or have relevant expertise. My friend said: “Wow, this company is going under.” Then the company released its quarterly reports and profits rose to an all-time high. The momentum of the company’s brand and relationships was sufficient to propel it forward.

On the flip side, first-time entrepreneurs often fail to realize that when you build something new, no one will care. People won’t use your product, won’t tell people about it, and almost certainly won’t pay for it. (There are exceptions – but these are as rare as winning the lottery). This doesn’t mean you’ll fail. It means you need to be smarter and harder working, and surround yourself with extraordinary people.

The default state of the world is to stay the way it is, which means the default state of a startup is failure.