The 3 Most Abstract Tips to Help Your Startup Succeed

“Actionable” is the latest buzzword to be driven into the ground. Everyone is looking for advice that they can put into action immediately, so that they can feel that the specific workday they just finished had a measurable value. And sure: being able to easily measure everything is, of course, great.

But every buzzword gets blown out of proportion. It’s time to take a look at the least actionable startup advice out there. Luckily, it’s easy to break down. Here are the top three kinda abstract things to keep in mind if you want to keep your startup from failing.

1: Show, Don’t Tell

Writing on a personal blog, Leo Polovets of Susa Ventures recently offered a breakdown of the ways to limit the risks your startup may face. The high-concept advice breaks down into three sections, and here’s the first: Showing is better than telling.

If you think your idea can do well, you’re telling yourself it will. If you’re currently trying it out, and getting traction, you’re showing yourself you can do it.

2: External Validation Beats Your Opinion

Once again, the riskier option is you, alone, thinking your idea will work. Less risky, as Leo puts it, is if “Numerous people who are affiliated with you (friends/accelerator batchmates/etc.) claim XYZ.” And the best option is if you get those who are completely unaffiliated with you to get onboard with the concept.

3: The More Data, The Better

This one speaks for itself. Zero sales are bad. Fifty sales are good. Five hundred sales are great.

As you can see from the subheaders here, the advice is intentionally abstract. I’m not telling you how to run your business. I’m just offering the high-level concepts that you’ll need to absorb in order to know which actionable decisions are the ones for you.

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Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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