To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence. — Mark Twain
— Jared Spool (@jmspool) July 31, 2014
When we first started our company, we were students with little to lose and that special (and artificial) academic feeling of insulation and invincibility. We launched into company building without experience, knowledge, money, or market understanding. Ignorance was our bliss.
We made many mistakes. We struggled a long time. But we were having a blast and figuring things out. We were confident.
Now that we are starting some other parallel ventures, it is interesting to ponder on how different it is to start a company now than it was 7 years ago. When red flags arise in our customer discovery, I sometimes wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just be ignorant like we were 7 years ago! Sometimes you have to do things that seem impossible at the outset and hope the path clears as you take more steps.
On the whole, it is much much better to have experience and knowledge than to be ignorant when starting a company.
I recently met with some other seasoned entrepreneurs who are looking to start something new. Starting something new is humbling for anyone, no matter how experienced. The sheer weight of trying to get a startup off the ground overshadows the goodness, background, smarts, or other qualities of the founder.
What are your thoughts on ignorance is bliss in startups?