The Founder’s Paradox

The Founder’s Paradox: How to Start a Company When the Time Never Seems Right

founder's paradox: start a business

“What is holding you back?” That is the question I asked a job candidate who shared that they wanted to eventually start their own company. Their response was that “the timing is not right.” This is an understandable answer — one I have heard a lot from aspiring founders. I understand. But I often disagree. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Get Out of the Details When You Care More About the Details Than Anyone Else?

founders paradox details

Most founders care deeply. I know that I do. About everything that Aha! is and will be — the people and the product. About everything that does not go the way we want it to. I care about every little detail. Yet, the skyrocketing growth of the company means that I must not dwell on every little detail. Care, but do not care? I feel like I am being squeezed. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Build a Company Without Venture Capital When People Want to Give You Lots of Money?

founders paradox venture capital

“Can we grab a cup of coffee?” For some reason, this has become the casual beverage of choice for venture capitalists and just about anyone else who wants to get together and talk “growth.” But I do not drink coffee. And I have been pretty clear that our company is not looking for outside funding. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How to Always Work and Avoid Burnout

founders paradox burnout

Burned out on burnout. No, that is not a typo. You read it right. Although it can seem like the flames are inescapable. This person is smoldering, that person is about to flare up, and over there Sam took a 6-month sabbatical. Spontaneous combustion — narrowly avoided. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: How Do You Listen to People You Trust Tell You It Cannot Be Done?

founders paradox brian de haaff

The brother of a friend — I had spoken with him in the past and he was thoughtful. Plus, I knew he was an experienced product manager who had built a number of important products. So after we launched Aha! in 2013, I thought he would be interested in our private beta. Well, he ended up stopping me about two minutes into my demo. This is what he said. Read more…

The Founder’s Paradox: So You Want a Team of Superstars?

founders paradox superstars

Pelé. Beyonce. Chavez. Oprah. Salk. Magic. There are some names that require no explanation. You know exactly who these superstars are. The level of talent and impact supersede the need for their complete name — these folks have moved from mere mortals to one-name legends. But there are plenty of other stars in our midst. Read more…