All founders need some universal skills to succeed. They need the ability to take bold risks in pursuit of a vision that isn’t self-evident to others. They need the ability to learn (since they’re trying to do something brand-new). And to play a long-term role at their start-up turned scale-up, they need the ability to live with and resolve the inevitable paradoxes of being a founder. When I asked Dropbox founder Drew Houston to look back on his experience, he told me, “I think a lot of entrepreneurs start with a lot of insecurity about what they don’t know. What you want is not to be paralyzed by it, but to harness it—to use that nervous energy to learn and make yourself better. You’ve got to keep your personal learning curve ahead of the company’s growth curve.”
Maintaining a certain humility and a sense of perspective can help you navigate the changes in your role as you blitzscale your company. If you truly want to blitzscale, then speed has to take priority over everything—including your own ego.
There are only three ways to scale yourself: delegation, amplification, and just plain making yourself better.
Can you find, hire, and manage good people, then transfer work over to them so you can tackle the challenges you’re uniquely suited to tackle? Many founders are so talented that they have a hard time letting go of tasks once they start performing them. They often think things like, “Will someone else be able to do this as well as I can?” The answer is almost certainly, “No, especially not at first, but they’ll probably figure it out over time, just like you did.”
Start-ups get off the ground thanks to the individual talent and hard work of founders like Mark Zuckerberg and Brian Chesky, but they blitzscale into giant companies like Facebook and Airbnb because these founders learn how to delegate.