Practical SaaS Founders Have Common Core Traits and Many Differences

I talk to 500+ software founders and CEOs a year all over the world. I’m amazed that every entrepreneur’s story is different.

  •  Different founder personalities and backgrounds
  •  Different times and tech cycles
  •  Different markets and verticals
  •  Different cities and countries
  •  Different technologies
  •  Different business models
  •  Different funding and end games
  •  Different cofounder chemistries

Yet there are common threads that are always there.

  •  A misfit founder who wasn’t doing “normal” things like everyone else.
  • Going deep into a market to find and create an opportunity before it’s obvious.
  • Way more hard work and sacrifice than founders let on.
  • Way more experimentation and zigzagging than you can see from the outside. We never see the tries that didn’t work.
  • A continuous barrage of seriously hard challenges that would make most people quit, which creates some humility.
  • Dedicated and magical teams that don’t give up when it’s tough.
  • Lots of help and advice from experienced outsiders who have done it before or are doing it now.
  • Starting wide in either their product or market, then scaling fast by focusing in when they find leverage (aka product-market fit)
  • Some luck that took years to create and courage to act on.
  • Continuous learning about the version of the software startup game they are playing.

That’s just what I see. These are a few observations, not rules.

Maybe these are necessary but not sufficient. Or just what I notice.

What do you see in every serious software founder who is making progress?


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