On the cusp of something big

Startups are a long-term game. My best advice is to treat entrepreneurship as a career path, but it is easier said than done absent some amount of success. For me, I had a taste of it three years in and some real success six years in. Then I started all over chasing at windmills and it was another four years before DuckDuckGo looked like it was turning into a real business. Now I'm entering year fourteen.

I get asked a lot what keeps me motivated, especially from the perspective of a solo founder. I never really had a good answer until now.
I would previously say it is has a lot to do with personality, which of course impacts decision making. I still think that's true though it is not much of a useful answer since you don't have much control over your own personality.

Thinking back, a lot of my motivation has to do with a feeling that I'm on the cusp of something big. I pretty much always feel this way. If we just do x, y, z then this is going to be big. There is always something around the corner, within grasp.

For this to work you can't be completely delusional, only partially. The difference is having a plan.

Of course plans change and things don't always work out. That's why picking an ambitious idea is advised; in a huge market almost everywhere you turn you are on the cusp of something big.


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I'm the Founder & CEO of DuckDuckGo, the search engine that doesn't track you. I'm also the co-author of Traction, the book that helps you get customer growth. More about me.