A Startup Isn’t Mini-Google

startupI’ll tell you an embarrassing truth:

When I started out in business, it never occurred to me that I was a startup. It never clicked in my mind. Never!

I’m not sure what I was thinking, but the word, ‘startup’ was instinctively unappealing to me. I didn’t want to identify with what I thought was a base level of business engagement.

Several years later, due to growth and experience, I discovered the folly of my thinking. I was a startup and had to acknowledge that reality in order to function right.

But, where did the ‘anti-startup’ thinking come from?

I found out.

You see, in those early days, I read a lot (still do). My thirst for knowledge was intense (still is) and I read everything I could find about famous entrepreneurs and the awesome businesses that they were building.

I was particularly fascinated by companies like Google, Apple and billionaire investors like Warren Buffet. My love for Buffet was over-the-top (still is). His biography, The Making of an American Capitalist, was my bible. I felt I was the son he didn’t know that he had. It was crazy.

Based on this exposure, it was difficult to admit that I was a startup. In my mind, I was mini-Buffet and my company was mini- Google. Period!


At every stage, knowing where you REALLY are is one of the most powerful and freeing states to be in. Being fully conscious of your position is always a great place to start.

Not where you THINK you are, but where you REALLY are.

If I may ask: where are you – REALLY?

I know you’re struggling to maintain an image that folks can respect, but at what cost? Are you being crushed by the weight of something for which you lack capacity? Where are you?

For many startups, this question is the key to the next level of growth. You are not Google (yet). Figure out your current capacity and plot your growth from there.


Some visionaries see the need to be inaccurately positive. It’s the tendency to see the good in everything while poorly articulating the glaring challenges. The results are hyped while the fault lines get a whisper and are swept under. That’s how I know there’s trouble.

Usually, this attitude blurs reality (the tough part of birthing ideas). However, wise entrepreneurs know how to use the stones of reality as building blocks – one step at a time.

Reality doesn’t have to bite. Patiently wading through your dream is much better than exaggerating outcomes that do not exist. Let the growth process strengthen your entrepreneurial instincts. Mature well.

The time spent in faking it is the same time that you can spend making it – by process. Proudly start from where you are.


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