JamPad’s Scorecard for Building Ultra-Successful Startups + Pirate Founder Intangibles
Below is the breakdown for both founders and startups.
Brain Power: a minimum level of capacity for sheer building (engineering both software and/or hardware, product design, ops, fundraising, team building, etc), speed to process new info + market dynamics, and skill-stack as needed. This is immensely important to execute on building out your company. Today, anyone can say they’re going to start a startup. What most founders don’t take into account is the high bar it takes to be a successful founder at or near the top of the food chain. We’re always looking for people that want to train or can already run “go routes” with other founders in the “major leagues”.
Dominance Hierarchy: this is a great, practical, real-world test on whether or not you really “got” those intangibles above. Hierarchies in society work in very complex, yet simple systems; the smartest people rise to the top the fastest. So, in your age group/demographic, if you’re an eagle flying alone (and I mean, literally alone), that’s a great signal you’re at or hovering near the top of the hierarchy.
Discipline: the willingness & forward-thinking ness from an EQ standpoint to succumb to the pain of discipline instead of regret. Every day, get after it. Be locked in and hunting at 110%, every minute.
Sacrifice & focus: saying no to everything in your life in the early stages. No girls, No parties. No clubs. No “hanging out”. No to everything besides what’s required to railroad through any obstacles to attain the next level of success.
Sheer determination & brut force to win: get punched in the face 204x, get up 205x. No questions asked. No hesitations. Built-in mental frameworks to stay on faith street, continue putting in the work, ultimately bending the universe your way, also known as luck.
Thirst for competition: Another mental framework (this can’t be learned) of no choice but to dominate & win. Hungry to run a faster go-route than anyone on the field, now or ever before.
These are “chops”. FYI, if anyone needs to explain to you, a founder, what this means, that’s a VERY bad sign.
Lotteries Life Has That You Either Won, Or Found a Way To
Supportive parents that embedded incredibly high points of self-esteem in you through their ways. In the case of unsupportive parents, the best founders find ways to leverage that as a chip on their shoulders.
How you were raised and the exposure you had is key. Are you capable of being a ruthless bastard and having conviction in yourself when everyone tells you “no”, “not this one”, etc? Schoolyard fights that build a chip for you or an incredibly high level of mental stubbornness are needed (ideally both). FYI, if you haven’t begun pitching investors or talking to customers and users, you can’t answer this question yet.
Did you get exposure to better things, or the polar opposite, being harsh and rough environments? Both have their pros and cons. Ideally, you got a healthy dose of both. This completely alters how you view the world by humbling you and inspiring you. You’ll only understand after the fact & once you’re on your path in life. If you know, you know.
Rockstar Team: our POV is usually a makeup of someone who can master math (killer engineer and architect), art (highly talented product designer, able to get your product out from the bottom of the ladder), and ops (your ability to execute at a high level, moving things forward daily. Essentially, the Chief Get Shit Done Officer). This covers close to all cylinders to get your startup off the ground.
A Real Problem: how ironic, right? (something the bay & co. can’t relate to these days). You should be tackling a market in which your product actually solves the pain point, is highly scalable, and maybe even cross-functional to other markets.
A Real Product That Works: ah yes, more things the bay & the rest of the startup ecosystem can’t relate to these days. Your technology? Yeah, it has to work and do what you’ll say it’ll do. You need need to solve the problem at hand so well, to the point a customer will give you cold hard, fat wads of ca$h.
Moats: these are ideally built-in as you grow. Some form of defensibility is a necessity. What prevents someone from following in your footprints after you’ve launched, bypassing your failures, securing more funding, etc? Whether it’s due to a winner-take-all situation, network effects, or simply the fact your tech is brand new, there’s got to be something that protects you.
Timing: 1.5yrs is a good ETA if you’re building something that’s purely brand new software and/or hardware. Another signal is the landscape aligning for you. IE, you get to be the last great solution in your market, and reap all the monopoly profits in your space for decades (yes, thank you Peter for Zero to One).
There’s a plethora of dynamics that go into being a founder of tier 1 caliber, let alone then going off and building a mega-cap startup. Keep these in mind as you progress, founders.
Keep kicking ass & taking names.