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172: Your Startup Isn’t Your Baby

In this episode, Steli and Hiten discuss the reasons why startups shouldn’t be treated like a baby. People tend to treat their startup or business as their baby and end up growing an unhealthy attachment to it. According to Steli and Hiten, going down this “emotional path” results in poor decision making and an inability to act when it’s time to end the business. Listen to find out the dangers of growing too attached to your startup and some alternative ways to think of your business that can result in a healthier mindset.  

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:30 – Steli introduces today’s topic: the reasons why your startup isn’t your baby and why you shouldn’t say or think it is

00:44 – Hiten shares about an engineer who treated his startup like his own baby

01:32 – Startups die and it’s YOUR fault; babies die and it’s NOT your fault

01:58 – People create a false sense of attachment to their startups

02:14 – Steli somehow disagrees with Hiten

03:05 – Starting a business is a commercial creation for a human

04:00 – Raising a child around its family is similar to growing your business

04:33 – Hiten reiterates that starting a business is not a creation

05:09 – “I don’t have ownership over my kids, but I definitely have ownership over my companies”

05:56 – “I don’t want to feel like my startup is so precious, I can’t kill it”

06:15 – A startup can die, it’s a reality people need to accept

07:47 – Hiten is worried about people who get too attached to their startups

08:20 – Steli and Hiten agree that there are too many startups not being killed early enough

09:08 – Steli discusses what he thinks about other founders

09:45 – There are negative effects that from startups not being ended when they should be

10:19 – Startups are part of their founder’s identity

10:57 – Think of your startup as an achievement, rather than a baby

11:50 – Attachment, in general, can make someone effective or less effective

12:28 – Refer to the Attachment vs. Commitment episode of Startup Chat

12:40 – “Don’t do things to yourself that make it harder for you to make business decisions”

13:00 – The unhealthy attachment with startups thinking that it’s something you’ve birthed makes it difficult to make decisions—especially the hard ones

14:20 – The necessary requirements of success explained

14:46 – Look for examples of people that are dedicated, but are not attached to their companies and follow them

15:56 – That’s it for today’s episode!

3 Key Points:

People create a false sense of attachment to their startups, clouding their ability to make sound judgments calls.

A startup that is not being killed early enough is costly—don’t ignore the glaring signs that it’s time to end it.

Check your level of attachment—consider your startup as your ACHIEVEMENT, and never your baby.

Resources Mentioned:

The Startup Chat: Episode 029 Attachment vs. Commitment


Steli Efti: Everybody. Cool. Okay, so. Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti



Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah



Steli Efti: I mean today's episode we're gonna talk about all the reasons why your startup isn't your baby and why you shouldn't say your startup is your baby or a big kid. Now this is something that's kind of one of your pet peeves, right. If you talk to a founder and they think or say that their startup is like their baby, it usually pisses you off.



Hiten Shah: Yeah, I mean the other day I'm working with an engineer, a new engineer, and he was like I'm birthing this thing. And that also pissed me off even more. But you know this engineer doesn't have any kids so, I don't think he really understands what that looks like or feels or whatever you wan...


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