The road is longer than you think
In startup culture there’s plenty of talk about grit and the ability to put your nose to the grindstone. While it’s impossible to overstate the value of work ethic, a piece of the conversation that’s often overlooked is the necessity of patience.
The best founders have a long-term perspective on success. They know there will be mistakes and setbacks on their journey, but also that not every opportunity is a good fit for them. What allows them to endure, and capitalize when the time is right, is a spirit of calm persistence.
“The problem most entrepreneurs have is that they give up too easily. As an entrepreneur you have to be very patient.”
Co-founder & CEO, DevRev
An important part of patience is pacing yourself. There will be periods where you need to step on the gas, toil around the clock and chase down every lead, but this can’t be all the time. A breakneck pace is naturally unsustainable, and maintaining one for too long leads to burnout and bad judgment.
“A big part of growth is learning how to pick your battles,” says Navin Chaddha, who led Mayfield’s inception-stage investment in DevRev. “I’ve been a founder, and I understand the urge to pull all the levers and attack every single problem. But as an investor, I’ve seen companies take 10, sometimes even 20 years to exit. That’s why I keep saying founders need to treat company building like a marathon, not a sprint; you absolutely need to pace yourself if you want to make it to the finish line.”
AI, Enterprise, Semiconductors