This year (2018) I started to read a lot more about successful founders and their stories. The more I read, the more I realized that in Silicon Valley there’s enough institutional knowledge to point out to successful individuals from pretty much every background. There have been successful individuals from the U.S. and from abroad, technical and non-technical, from top schools and from less selective schools, male and female, etc. Knowing about all of these individuals is significant for two reasons.
First, it counterbalances the archetypical notion of an entrepreneur that is a male engineer from a top school that became successful by hacking something in his garage. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this archetype. The problem is that it is not representative of reality. However, if young people believe that it is, then it might deter them from starting their own ventures.
Second, it confirms the fact that there is no single formula for success or any single trait that guarantees it. Realizing this was very important to me because it allowed me to understand that I had to stop trying to do what a “successful entrepreneur” does and start focusing on my own version of success. This has been very liberating so far because it has allowed me to explore things that I am very passionate about and do them my way.
In any case, the point of this short essay is to say that the only rule of entrepreneurship is that there are no rules. Anyone can win, and it’s all for grabs. So may the best one win.
P.S.: We can all win!! Startups are not zero-sum games!