Elements of Starting up
Heart, Smarts, Guts, Luck
What it takes to be an entrepreneur and build a great business
Kanopy Techno Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
■ What does it take to be a great entrepreneur?
■ How do you find such a person?
■ How do you become one?
■ What are the crucial character traits and habits?
■ Are they always the same?
■ What can be learnt other than innate?
■ Do founders possess different strengths than scalers?
■ What are the crossroads business-builders must face?
■ How many business books and experts, what to impart?
Lets us ‘Begin’
“Taking the first step is always the hardest”
■ What if I fail ?
■ Do I have enough money ?
■ How long will it take ?
■ What happens to my social life ?
■ Is my personality startup material ?
Traits of Great Entrepreneurs
HEART SMARTS GUTS LUCK
● Book Smarts
● Street Smarts
● People Smarts
● Creative Smarts
● Guts to Initiate
● Guts to Endure
● Guts to Evolve
● Howard Schultz,
● Guy Laliberté,
Cirque du Soleil
● Jeff Bezos, Amazon
● Bob Langer, MIT
● Bill Gates, Microsoft
● Richard Branson,
● Paul Reichmann,
Olympia & York
● Jay Chiat,
● Li Lu, Coleader,
● Philippe Petit in
Man on Wire
● John Keating in
● Will Hunting in Good
● Frank Abagnale in
Catch Me if You Can
● King George VI in
● Harvey Milk in
● Jamal in Slumdog
● Forrest Grump in
Heart: How it reveals itself
Purpose and Passion + Sacrifice / Work Ethic + Nuance
60 % of founders are Heart-driven
“I’d probably rank Heart-the passion for something and the desire
to see it through, no matter what the challenge, as number one”
-Google Cofounder Sergey Brin
HEART: Winning with the Heart
Heart hahrt noun 1 : the source of an authentic vision and the soul of a business or calling
Purpose and Passion: You cannot plan Heart, or “in vitro fertilize” a truly
great business. A company’s foundation lies in purpose.
Sacrifice and Agape: The concept of agape and natural maternal-like
sacrifice that comes with creating and building a business.
Nuance: The subtleties and thousand points of light that emanate and
coalesce from a genuine Heart and ultimately differentiate it from its competitors.
Power & Impact of Purpose
Purpose Beliefs /
purpose has a
what you do.
That is why it
is important to
Limitations of Heart
■ Heart needs to be complemented by execution and
market acceptance to become business
■ Heart can’t just be about thinking big
■ Heart-driven approach can yield diminishing returns
■ What is the purpose of your business, stated simply and
■ What is the (right-brained) essence of your business model?
■ What are the must-have values of your business?
■ What are you prepared to do when those values are violated?
Or are there values you are willing to trade off for scale?
■ What are the top five to eight nuances in your business that
differentiate it from the rest?
■ If you had all the money you could ever want, what would you
be doing to occupy your life meaningfully?
Smarts: How it reveals itself
Book Smarts + Street Smarts + People Smarts + Creative Smarts
IQ IS ONLY THE BEGINNING
Business Smarts biz-nəs, sma:rts, noun 1 : pattern recognition across book smarts, street smarts, and
creative smarts, esp. In entrepreneuship
■ High IQ helps open the doors, like good University for
Engineering, or MBA
■ Book Smarts help solve analytical issues, after that, its
Baseline - You don’t have to be super book smart !!!
■ Priority Setting
■ Regularly consult a Dashboard of Performance Indicators
■ Don’t waste a minute: Run Better, Shorter Meetings
■ Successful because of experience and tenacity (ex. Jim
Skinner, CEO, MacD, former restaurant manager)
■ Bring hardheaded practicality and momentum
■ Drivers of feedback mechanism of learning
■ Are ultimate business anthropologist-observing events and
■ Read situations and contexts rather than statistics
■ Use the Three-Minute Rule: Client actions before and after
■ Appreciate the Power of Pause: Pause, Play, Mute, Rewind
■ Intuiting how people will react in particular situations
■ Prioritizing relationships
■ Developing talent
■ Prepare for Critical Conversations
■ Cultivate Network: Triage and Focus
■ Focus on Intrinsic Reward as much or more than Extrinsic
■ Grasp patterns that others do not (even book smarts fail !)
■ Are visionaries and can perceive future
■ Generate ideas
Best Example: Steve Jobs, Founder, Apple Inc
Practice Spirituality or Meditation
Devote time for Creative activities like Music or Fine Arts
Business Smart (Pattern Recognition)
■ Deft amalgam of the four varieties of Smarts
■ Ability not only to mix and match the above qualities, but
also to modify and moderate their volume depending on
the person, people, situation, or environment in situation
■ Intuitive and experimental, visionary and practical
Analogy: Chess Player, considers game, rules, manuals,
teachers, available moves, opponents he has played against,
tactics and strategies learnt by trial error, clock and timer !!!!
Too Much Smart
■ Miss the bigger picture
■ Focus too (tooooo) much on details
■ Become precisely incorrect
■ Lack willingness to take leap of faith
■ Never take the first step
None, but could be found in failure stories, oh but they don’t
have noticeable failure stories, as they always succeed in
GUTS: To Initiate, Endure and Evolve
Entrepreneurship is often:
■ A lonely endeavor
■ Marked by repeated rejection and failure
■ Circuitous journey of extreme highs and lows
■ Like committing to swimming in a sea of ambiguity
■ Normal that nobody else understand your ideas, so spend
most waking hours physically or psychologically alone !
Example: Mike Yavonditte, former CEO, Quigo (contextual ad-
targeting network directly competed Google’s AdSense),
Guts to Initiate
Guts to Endure
Guts /guhts/ noun 1 : the courage to make things happen with the will to
act; specifically at critical moments of initiation, endurance, and evolution
Action, not inaction, not reaction
Failure is not an option, but a reality
Companies that do not survive are the ones that
don’t adapt their practices and products to
LUCK’s inevitable role in
Luck luhk noun 1 : right attitude intersecting with the right relationship network; the result of a lucky
attitude (humility, intellectual curiosity, and optimism) and lucky network (subset of one’s relationship
network) composed of unexpected but highly useful relationships
Subset of relationship network deriving from a
Lucky Attitude and further enhanced through
vulnerability, authenticity, generosity, and
openness toward people.
Lucky Attitude Lucky Network
Execution is Everything !!!
Good Luck !!