What are the most important personal qualities to start up and succeed in new business


I am a developer, and I've launched and failed once before some time back. I am still analyzing all the reasons our start up didn't take off (we were 4 developers). I wanted to learn from the community on following topics, what do you guys think?

  • What are the most important qualities (personal traits) to see a start up succeed?
  • Is technical talent to build a product is enough? What is missing if a bunch of engineers start up?
  • How do you plan before you launch a startup (I feel we didn't have a good plan)?

Getting Started Planning Personality Business Plan

asked Mar 26 '11 at 10:26
Sanjeevakumar Hiremath
108 points
Get up to $750K in working capital to finance your business: Clarify Capital Business Loans
  • What did your customers think of your product? – Jeff O 13 years ago
  • Customers liked the product, but they didn't have confidence in product and us. – Sanjeevakumar Hiremath 13 years ago

4 Answers


  1. Start it on your own. Be 100% owner. 4 developers starting a business is like throwing 4 roosters in a hen house.
  2. Have enough money saved to pay the other developers to contract for you.
  3. When you start a business, you're essentially transitioning yourself from developer to business owner. Surround yourself with other business owners. You'll pick up a few tricks. They will help you make sense of the market instead of the technology.
answered Mar 26 '11 at 11:00
344 points
  • my feeling is you are dead wrong on your points 1 and 2, but I'd agree on point #3. In general, you want to have great partners with you. And you do not want to hire contractors for a startup. He is already a developer. He doesn't need to contract anyone. – Genadinik 13 years ago
  • Assuming the developers can work together, this is better than going it alone. – Jeff O 13 years ago
  • To me, equity is worth more, and I would prefer to pay other people to help with a portion of the work when I need a helping hand. – Laith 13 years ago


Let's start with your second question. You need technical talent, marketing talent, and management talent to succeed. The first one is the least important. I know that is hard to hear because I too am a programmer. But you have to face reality. The world's greatest product that no one knows about = failed company. The world's greatest product plus great marketing without great management = failed company. The truth is, adequate product plus adequate marketing plus great management = successful company. You need to trade in a techie for a marketer and another for a manager. Then you may have a chance of success.

Therefore in answer to your third question, your plan has to be to get the right founding team in place.

To cycle back to your first question, the personal quality that you and your techie friends need is humility. Know what you don't know. You will find it can be a real relief to have those distasteful marketing and management duties handled by someone who actually knows them and likes them.

answered Mar 26 '11 at 12:19
Kenneth Vogt
2,917 points


This is a hard question to answer. There is no magic formula or combination of qualities that make a startup successful. A lot of factors come in to play - timing, luck, personalities, experience, perseverance, money, dedication, etc. You can start with four developers or four marketing people or four friends. In all cases, the smart team realizes the skill sets they do not have and determines either how to learn them or how to find people with those skills to advise them. Tap your network for advice on legal, accounting, marketing, human resources, operations, sales, customer service, networking, hardware, hosting, etc.

Here are answers to your specific questions, in my humble opinion:

  1. Vision to have an idea, perseverance to see it through, dedication through thick and thin, the ability to work out of your comfort zone and the ability to learn new skills completely outside your domain of expertise (or the willingness to hire people with those skills).
  2. It depends. You need to be able to write a business plan, define a sales and marketing strategy, work through legal, accounting and HR issues (and a myriad of other things). Perhaps your technical talent has these skills as well (don't stereotype techies as only having coding skillz).
  3. It really depends on the product, but in general you need to define your market, undertand the size, have a plan for driving demand (other than tweets) understand how you are going to generate revenue, build a budget, possibly raise funds, hire a team, protect yourself legally, etc. Just winging-it isn't a plan. Now, you don't (and really can't) plan out exactly how things are going to work. You'll need to be able to adapt, question old assumptions, start from scratch, etc. In many ways building a business is like building good software. Plan a little, build a little, fix here and there. Repeat.
answered Mar 27 '11 at 01:14
Doug Donohoe
401 points


- Insanity
- Work hard
- Be creative
- Take Risk
- Make mistakes, pay for them out of your own pocket so you'll learn better, learn from them, make increasingly better mistakes.
- "Business guys" are overrated. You have to learn that part yourself.

answered Mar 26 '11 at 20:12
1,821 points
  • Starting a toy/amateur company is easy and fun. Starting a real company is tough shit. You gotta break every wall running full speed head first. – Genadinik 13 years ago
  • Apparently having a business guy is not overrated if you are advising that he become the business guy... – Kenneth Vogt 13 years ago

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