Published on August 21st, 2018 | by Jose Vasquez0
The Dangers of Idolization in Startup Tech Companies
Avoid idolizing key entrepreneurs.
It’s tempting to look at people like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, or Jeff Bezos, and want to emulate everything about them. Clearly, they know what they’re doing—they’re billionaires, so copying their attitudes, philosophies, and even styles should be able to help you build a better company, right?
Entrepreneurial idolization is common, especially among new business owners, but it’s dangerous for several reasons:
- It ignores flaws and failures. Billionaires though they might be, these entrepreneurs aren’t perfect. If you focus on everything they do right, you’ll ignore what they do wrong—which sometimes hold more valuable lessons. Almost every leadership style comes with both strengths and weaknesses, so if you only focus on the strengths, you’ll compromise the integrity of your approach.
- It encourages survivorship bias. Survivorship bias applies when you only focus on successful people in a given population, and ignore the failures. The best example quality here is risk-taking behavior; it’s tempting to think risk-taking will increase your chances of being successful, since so many billionaires built a fortune on taking risks, but this assumption ignores the millions of entrepreneurs whose risks never paid off.
- Every situation is unique. Just because it worked for Facebook doesn’t mean it’s going to work for your company. Even if you have a startup that shares an industry or a niche with another company doesn’t mean you can copy their leader’s approach and see similar results. Every lesson you learn should be seen through a filter of your own business’s unique position.
- Your own style matters. Finally, remember that your own style matters too. You have strengths and weaknesses that no other leader has, and you’ll need to learn how to maximize them (or compensate for them) in your own business. Don’t base your style purely on someone else’s.
Instead of looking up to one entrepreneur, try to get a taste of many entrepreneurial styles; look to many different leaders, and introspect to find your own unique combination of philosophies and habits. If you’re in need of guidance or further advice to get your startup up and running, contact me today, and we can have a conversation!