Anna KareninaBy Gene Barker
A lot has been made of the qualities and attributes that successful businesses have in common. The variables are immense. Thankfully, because we have the internet, entrepreneurial success can be defined as easily as ‘10 THINGS ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE DO WHILE YOU ARE IN THE BATH’, or some such. Of course, they all suffer the most simple of academic inquiry and rarely offer more than a niche sample of the daily routines of people who by birth, luck or hard work just so happen to have it sorted.
Click bait aside, the Australian innovation scene is plagued by a new breed of self help guru peddling the same nonsense. Whether it be mindfulness or how to pitch to VCs or personal branding classes, it all detracts time (at the very least but increasingly money, I mean, who would pay…) from the absolute 101 of it all; work. This blog, by the way, is not going to make the same mistake of suggesting the variable of hard work is the elixir. Hard work, just like confidence or hubris can, in the wrong direction, be as much the problem as the solution.
What hard work does do though, is increase your chances of being across it all. Unfortunately, that’s as simplified as it gets. You have to do everything right to make it succeed. You cannot have a great team and a half-baked idea. You cannot have a great idea and no team. Even if you have a great idea and a great team, if the microeconomics don’t stack, you’ve got a hard sell. The rest you can get from a number of other good sources. (Product / Market Fit, Scalability, Team, Problem / Solution Matrix, and Unit Economics are big in this office). It has got to be all good and it’s all hard.
It’s called the Anna Karenina principle. The novel opens:
“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Happy businesses are all alike because they’ve all mastered all the qualities they need perfectly. Unhappy businesses are failing at any number of possible variables.
So best get back to it if we’re going to hit all the marks.