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Podcast: What skills should a founder have?

Tom:

Welcome to the Lighthouse podcast. I’m Tom

Dan:

I’m Dan.

Tom:

Today we are talking about start up founders and what is the most important qualities for them to have and those are some that we reckon aren’t quite as necessary.

Dan:

Yeah the think that they need them but they don’t.

Tom:

Yeah, so why don’t you start us off.

Dan:

I think the number one thing they need is a kind of a vision and some passion for that vision. I think it is really clear when someone is really into an idea and when someone is just thought of an idea and just wants to start a business. People want to be entrepreneurs but you need to start something that you personally have a passion for. There is no point in just saying, “I want to do a social network for an industry I’ve never been a part of.

Tom:

You going to be putting a lot of time into this thing.

Dan:

You are.

Tom:

An excessive amount of time and if you’re not passionate about it it could be quite easy to start losing focus on that.

Dan:

Completely. You’ve got to be explaining what you do all the time, so that vision has got to be clear. What is the problem you are trying to solve? You’ve got to know about that problem and you’ve got to know about the problem and convince other people that it’s a big enough problem to come with you. You need to convince yourself as well. You’re going to be convincing customers, convincing people to work with you, certainly down the line. You’re going to be trying to convince investors.
We obviously work in client services, so people come to us and give us money to do things…

Tom:

Yep.

Dan:

… But that relationship won’t work either unless you can sell what you’re trying to do to someone. Just because you hired them doesn’t mean they are going to believe in it, and if they don’t believe in it, then that’s going to come out in the wash.

Tom:

Yep.

Dan:

You’re always going to be setting that vision, so you’ve got to be so clear on that. In the end, like you said, you’ve got to have the passion to want to get it right to want to solve that problem. Not just to want to have a business.

Tom:

Yeah. That’s something I definitely say.
Yeah I mean a lot of the time people come to us and congratulate us on having the skills of being designers and developers.

Dan:

And, rightly so.

Tom:

And of course it’s very hard to do. So we get paid the big bucks and all that. A lot of them kind of wish they had those skill themselves, but it’s not something they need to have as a founder.

Dan:

I don’t think, I completely don’t think … You’re right. It’s sort of like, any founder is going to want to build something, and to them, the biggest frustration of the whole thing is that they don’t have anything. Like they don’t have a product, they’re at that stage. They’ve got this problem they’ve got this idea, and they think, if I could build this and solve it … And of course there’s high profile starters out there who have done it, you know what I mean? They’ve built it, and that’s kind of a narrative in people’s heads.
I think a lot of people, if you grant them three wishes, would say, “I want to design, and I want to be able to develop, and I want to be made specific look.”

Tom:

Very much.