What I Didn't Know I Didn't Know

June 22, 2021
5 Rules for Rocket Ships

When I think back on my journey guiding my first startup, there was so much I didn’t know I didn’t know.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as a lot of Founders I talk to mention they are worried about what they don’t know they don’t know.

So I decided to make a list. Here's the most important things I didn’t know I didn’t know during my first startup journey:

I didn’t know that I didn’t know…

… the things I did as Founder to get us off the ground quickly started working against us as we scaled

… I needed to think in terms of building systems versus just getting things done

… complexity kills speed. Making things simple is VERY hard, but worth it

… there is no accountability without first aligning expectations

… how quickly I needed to act when I identified a problem (and not just hope it got better)

… how much I needed to transform as my company grew (and how hard that would be)

… how investors are really buying growth engines vs products/services and sales

… that we needed to make the hard decisions in planning, or the whole team wold be stuck in between those decisions everyday

… simplicity, focus and leverage are everything

… no matter how brilliant my ideas/products/vision, it didn’t matter unless I executed

… how much the journey would test me and my resilience

… there’s always another hump to get over, so however/whatever you want to be, start being it now

… how good it felt when we closed our exit

These are my most important learnings. I’m sure there are many more that will come to mind.

My goal as a Coach is to help Founders accelerate their growth and scale their companies. The key to that (and many other things) is how fast you can learn what you don’t know you don’t know.

Because once a Founder knows that, it’s amazing how fast they know exactly what to do.

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Steve August
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