Starting a startup is not an easy task. It requires a unique set of skills and a willingness to go against conventional wisdom. In this blog, we will explore the counterintuitive realities of startups and what it takes to succeed in this challenging and ever-changing landscape.

The Counterintuitive Nature of Startups

Startups are counterintuitive, meaning that they often go against our natural instincts. This is because startups are still a relatively new concept, and the knowledge about them has not yet permeated our culture. Therefore, when starting a startup, you cannot always trust your intuitions. Just like skiing, where your initial instinct is to lean back but it actually causes you to lose control, startups require a different set of skills and ways of thinking.

The Importance of Trusting Your Instincts About People

While startups may be counterintuitive in many ways, there is one aspect where your instincts can be trusted - people. When it comes to hiring employees or partnering with co-founders, it is crucial to trust your instincts. In fact, one of the biggest mistakes founders make is not trusting their intuitions about people enough. It is important to work with people you genuinely like and respect, as this will lead to a more successful and harmonious team dynamic.

The Role of Domain Expertise

Contrary to popular belief, expertise in startups is not the key to success. Instead, what you need is expertise in your own users. Take Mark Zuckerberg, for example. He did not succeed in Facebook because he was an expert in startups, but because he understood his users very well. Therefore, focusing on understanding your users and creating a product that they genuinely love is far more valuable than trying to become an expert in startups.

When to Start a Startup

Starting a startup is a life-changing decision, and it is important to consider the timing carefully. While many young people are eager to start startups in college, it may not always be the optimal time. College offers a unique opportunity to explore different interests, take risks, and learn valuable skills. It is a time to plunge deeply into projects and travel without the constraints of a startup. Therefore, it is often recommended to wait until after college to start a startup, as it allows for more flexibility and personal growth.

When a Side Project Becomes a Startup

Knowing when to turn a side project into a startup can be challenging. As a general rule, you will know it is time when the side project starts taking over a significant portion of your life. When you find yourself spending all day working on the project and it becomes a primary focus, it may be turning into a startup. Trust your instincts and listen to your own passion and drive. If you are genuinely interested in the project and believe it has the potential to be successful, it may be time to take the leap.

The Reality of Running a Startup

Running a startup is a demanding and all-consuming endeavor. It requires a significant amount of time, energy, and dedication. It is important to be prepared for the challenges and sacrifices that come with it. Success in a startup often means giving up personal time, dealing with constant problem-solving, and facing a high level of stress. However, for those who are passionate and dedicated, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

The Value of Business School

When it comes to entrepreneurship, business school may not be the most valuable path. Business schools are designed to teach management skills, which may not be as applicable to startups. Instead, it is often more beneficial to focus on learning powerful skills and gaining domain expertise. This can be done through hands-on experience, self-study, or specialized training programs. Ultimately, the most important thing is to follow your own curiosity and learn about things that matter to you.

The Challenges Faced by Female Founders

Female founders often face unique challenges when it comes to raising funding for their startups. Studies have shown that women have a harder time raising money compared to their male counterparts. However, the best way to overcome these challenges is to focus on building a successful and viable product. By creating a product that users love and demonstrating strong growth potential, female founders can increase their chances of securing funding.

The Importance of Doing What Matters

Figuring out what matters in the startup world can be a challenge. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer, one way to identify genuinely interesting problems is to focus on your own interests and curiosity. Work on things that you find genuinely interesting and gratifying. By pursuing your own passions and interests, you are more likely to uncover problems that are worth solving. This intrinsic motivation will drive you to work harder and find solutions that truly matter.


Starting a startup is not for the faint of heart. It requires a willingness to go against conventional wisdom and trust your instincts. By focusing on what matters, understanding your users, and surrounding yourself with a strong team, you can increase your chances of success. Remember, startups are counterintuitive, and it is important to challenge your instincts and embrace new ways of thinking. In the end, the journey of entrepreneurship is about learning, growing, and pursuing your passions.