The problem with the rear-view mirror routine is that selection effects predominate. This is what makes seeming causal relationships usually quite worthless. It's the same as "my aunt Marie drank 400 liters of gin a day and smoked 1,000 cigarettes and she lived to be 208 so if everyone drinks and smokes then..." The point is, of course, that all the traits mentioned in the article certainly apply to thousands of founders and companies that didn't make it big regardless of those traits. As real analyses have shown, luck plays an overwhelming role in the first few years of a company's life. Every single other aspect comes a very distant second. So there are no "golden rules" or "special hacks" or anything else. Mostly, it's just blind luck no matter what people tell themselves. That is what the real data tells us; anecdotes are amusing but worthless. Unfortunately our tiny ape-brains adore anecdote and can't cope with large datasets. Hence "The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People," "In Search Of Excellence" and "Built To Last" among hundreds of other pulp management books.


Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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