Value Humility not speed and money

Sunrise in Eilat

I’m on my fifth startup. Flaskdata.io; AI-driven detection and response for clinical trials. We’re working on a simple but pretty tough problem — automating manual monitoring of clinical trials and do it in 10' instead of the 10 days or 10 weeks.

It occurs to me that most entrepreneurs think about sunrise but not about mid-day or sunset. There is this expression that teaches humility:

Be nice to people on the way up, because you’ll be seeing them on the way down later.

Really successful entrepreneurs have an attribute of humility. I think the term really successful is a mix of business, technology, people, vision and sustainability greatness — all based on a fundamental value of humility.

WeWork promised the impossible: to make the American work place cool. Adam Neumann, an immigrant determined to make his fortune in the United States, landed on the idea of repurposing surplus New York office space for the burgeoning freelance class.

A book that came out just last week — Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork tells the story.

I have nothing agains Adam Neumann — he reimagined the category of shared office space, but one wonders if the hubris and greed of Adam Neumann is a toll of death for WeWork and shared office space plays in general.

Not necessarily.

Remote teams and COVID-19 just amplify the need for shared office space.

The basic market need is there.

Shared office space succeeds with the right mix of market need, lean technology to run the office, vision of people collaborating outside the home, good management and… sustainability.

Most venture-capital funds are looking for speed of revenue growth, large available markets and deep-technologies developed by great teams. Sure, they look for sustainable business models and great teams.

Humility is not on their checklist.

The relationship between sustainability and humility is not on their checklist.

But if you think about it — humility is the key to all dimensions of success:

  • sustainable teams respect each other out of humility
  • total ownership happens when you are humble about who you are
  • the business sustains when you are humble about your budget and objectives, preferring to underpromise and over-deliver value for your share-holders.
  • your marketing collateral is more respectful of your customers real needs when you are humble about what you can do for them
  • and so on…

Maybe we should just come right out and say — “Automated monitoring of clinical trials” and leave that deep-technology-speak to the VC’s.

I am a physicist by training, serious amateur musician and everyday biker. Working in cybersecurity and AI-driven monitoring of clinical trials.