The Psychology of Startup Growth and Absolute Success is Luck. Relative Success is Hard Work.


Hatched by Glasp

Jul 15, 2023

4 min read


The Psychology of Startup Growth and Absolute Success is Luck. Relative Success is Hard Work.

In the world of startups, understanding the psychology of growth is essential. There are certain hallmarks that high-performance growth psychology possesses. One of these hallmarks is putting language first. Many companies make the mistake of building features before considering the language that will capture the attention of users. However, language should come first. By crafting a compelling and relevant message, such as "Get a ride in 4 minutes or less," companies can grab the attention of potential users.

Another important aspect of growth psychology is empathy for users. Successful founders spend a significant amount of time thinking about how their users think and feel. They consider the psychology behind their product and how it fits into the complex lives of their target audience. Behind every successful tech company lies a powerful insight about human psychology. For example, Facebook tapped into the human need for acclaim and social reputation, while Snapchat capitalized on the desire for privacy and ephemerality. Instagram appealed to the hunger for glamor and appearance, and Etsy allowed people to feel unique in a time of mass commercialization. WeWork tapped into the desire for community in a gig and remote work economy.

To achieve startup growth, it is important to always be moving. As Andy Grove famously said, "Only the paranoid survive." This means constantly staying ahead of the competition, adapting to changing market conditions, and never becoming complacent. It requires a mindset of continuous improvement and a willingness to take risks.

Data love is another crucial element of growth psychology. If a startup wants to grow, it must be committed to measuring everything. Testing, measuring, and iterating are the engines that power growth. By collecting and analyzing data, startups can make informed decisions and optimize their strategies for success.

Lastly, sustaining the pain of failure is essential for growth psychology. Startups and their team members must be able to mentally move on from failures and losses. Failure is a natural part of the growth process, and it is important to learn from it and keep pushing forward.

Moving on to the concept of success, it is important to differentiate between absolute success and relative success. Absolute success can often be attributed to luck, while relative success is the result of hard work. Tu Youyou's story is a perfect example of the power of hard work. As the first female Chinese citizen to receive a Nobel Prize, she achieved remarkable success through persistence, diligence, and drive. Despite not having a postgraduate degree or research experience abroad, she made significant contributions to medical science and saved millions of lives.

When it comes to success, luck plays a larger role in absolute terms. The more extreme and unlikely the circumstances, the more luck becomes a determining factor. However, when comparing success on a more local scale, hard work and choices play a more significant role. As Nassim Taleb stated, "Wild success is attributable to variance." The slope of success can be controlled through hard work and habits, while the initial position is largely influenced by luck.

Luck and hard work are not mutually exclusive. They often go hand in hand. Luck can present opportunities, but it is up to individuals to recognize and seize them through hard work. Richard Hamming, a mathematician and computer engineer, once said, "The prepared mind sooner or later finds something important and does it." Hard work increases the chances of stumbling upon a lucky break.

In conclusion, understanding the psychology of startup growth and the role of luck in success is crucial for entrepreneurs. By putting language first, empathizing with users, always being on the move, embracing data, and sustaining the pain of failure, startups can create a solid foundation for growth. Additionally, recognizing the importance of hard work in achieving relative success is essential. Luck may play a part, but it is through hard work and perseverance that individuals can make the most of the opportunities that come their way.

Actionable advice:

  • 1. Prioritize language in your product or service. Craft a compelling message that resonates with your target audience.
  • 2. Continuously learn about your users' psychology and how your product fits into their lives. Empathy is key to building a successful startup.
  • 3. Embrace data and make data-driven decisions. Measure everything, test, iterate, and optimize for growth.

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