Startup Journal: What Personality Do You Need for a Tech Startup?
If there's only one lesson you could learn about what it means to be involved in a tech startup, I hope you would learn this: No one succeeds by fitting the mold.
Successful tech startups do not succeed by adhering to some definition of what a tech startup "should" be. Each person involved in a tech startup does not succeed because of some stock set of personality traits.
For the last year, we've had eight people on our team, just recently down to seven (we miss you, Seth). We're tight knit, we share some characteristics and commonalities, but we're all about as different in personality as a group our size can be.
We've learned a lot since our launch, not the least of which is the lesson referenced above. In fact, it might be the most liberating thing I've learned since starting!
You don't have to fit any mold to do well in a tech startup. You don't have to act a certain way, wear a certain style, or think certain thoughts to belong.
Scroll through your LinkedIn feed or your email newsletters, and you're bound to come across a headline like: 15 Characteristics of Every Successful Entrepreneur. It's a fun, it's relatable, and probably gets a lot of traffic - but there's no substance to it.
The only things successful entrepreneurs really have in common are working a lot and learning a lot. Though, even these don't necessarily apply to everyone.
For me, that's comforting.
You don't have to fit into anyone's definition of what's "right" to do well in a tech startup environment. There's a guy in our office who I don't think has every made a Facebook post. Our customer success manager teaches a barre class. Our CEO also runs a low-tech apparel franchise. I spend more time with a pen in my hand than a keyboard.
We look like an odd mix, yet we're all thriving.
You might notice that most of us, aside from our developers, aren't big tech people outside of our Text Request. The truth is you don't have to be a technological savant to excel in a tech startup environment. Each of us is able to contribute and help the company grow, even though we don't fit an idealized description of a Millennial, hoodie-wearing, techie personality.
I think that's really powerful.
If you're in the tech startup world, you've probably experienced this first hand. Not everyone stays up until 2am coding every night (or talking about how much they "hustle"). If you're not currently in the tech startup world, I hope you find this encouraging.
Startups have become such a large part of today's business culture that it's important for those on the outside looking in to understand. Tech startups, at least outside of San Francisco and New York, are not exclusive.
Everyone is capable of doing great things in their own way. Each personality is different from the next, but each also has something valuable to contribute. There is no one personality needed for a tech startup. In fact the more, the better.