Paul Graham, whose Y Combinator is the best-known incubator of the Bubble 2.0 era, sends out a hopeful message to would-be startups: Now’s a fine time to launch. Or at least it’s as good as it two years ago, when the bubble was still inflating.
If we’ve learned one thing from funding so many startups, it’s that they succeed or fail based on the qualities of the founders. The economy has some effect, certainly, but as a predictor of success it’s rounding error compared to the founders.
Which means that what matters is who you are, not when you do it. If you’re the right sort of person, you’ll win even in a bad economy. And if you’re not, a good economy won’t save you. Someone who thinks “I better not start a startup now, because the economy is so bad” is making the same mistake as the people who thought during the Bubble “all I have to do is start a startup, and I’ll be rich.”
So if you want to improve your chances, you should think far more about who you can recruit as a cofounder than the state of the economy. And if you’re worried about threats to the survival of your company, don’t look for them in the news. Look in the mirror.
If you were a cynical sort, you’d say: “What else would Paul Graham say? He’s built a business around staking startups.” But this is a nice, common-sense essay. Well worth a couple minutes of your time.
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