Chris McCann's Personal Blog

Life's too short to not do awesome things

Be Relentlessly Resourceful

with 4 comments

I came across this great article today title “Be Relentlessly Resourceful” written by Paul Graham founder of Ycombinator, successful entrepreneur, and angel investor. The two best paragraphs are below:

A couple days ago I finally got being a good startup founder down to two words: relentlessly resourceful.

Not merely relentless. That’s not enough to make things go your way except in a few mostly uninteresting domains. In any interesting domain, the difficulties will be novel. Which means you can’t simply plow through them, because you don’t know initially how hard they are; you don’t know whether you’re about to plow through a block of foam or granite. So you have to be resourceful. You have to have keep trying new things.

Be relentlessly resourceful.

That sounds right, but is it simply a description of how to be successful in general? I don’t think so. This isn’t the recipe for success in writing or painting, for example. In that kind of work the recipe is more to be actively curious. Resourceful implies the obstacles are external, which they generally are in startups. But in writing and painting they’re mostly internal; the obstacle is your own obtuseness.

Very important distinction: relentlessness vs. resourcefulness. I’ve seen startup founders with an initial idea who are mercilessly relentless and have a good idea of how the market will react to their product. But in pushing so hard to make that initial idea a reality they forget to stop and listen to the “market” and adapt to situation. As Carson Chen says the most important step after creating a beta/initial product is to STOP and listen very carefully to the market and how it reacts.

On the flip side I’ve also seen startup founders change their ideas over and over again because of on customer feedback, but they never quite execute on any one solid idea. As an entrepreneur it’s important to have both qualities of relentlessness and resourcefulness. To be flexible and open to ideas, but at the same time knows when to hold your ground and plow forward. It is an interesting balance which is more of an art than an exact science.

Readers – How do you balance relentlessness and resourcefulness? What other traits do you see in successful entrepreneurs?


4 Responses

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  1. I am going through this right now. And i don EXACTLY what you mentioned here after creating an initial beta. STOP!!! And listen. The importance of slowing down.


    July 12, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    • yep a friend and I were having a discussion about this exact topic today actually. Its really important to get something up as fast as possible but then you have to stop and listen.

      My initial comments about your website is I’m still unclear of exactly what it is offering me and the about us section is blank.. Also on the front page there is no content on the latest frame which gives me the impression that no one is using the site.

      Just my thoughts!

      Chris McCann

      July 13, 2009 at 12:28 am

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