5 Ways Successful Entrepreneurs Look at the World Differently 

August 8, 2014

1:30 pm

David S. Kidder, author of The Startup Playbook and cofounder of the accelerator platform Bionic, joined us in Vegas last night for TCWEEK.

As a serial entrepreneur with three exits, and now a mentor to other entrepreneurs, Kidder has a lot of experience in what works and what doesn’t. It's not necessarily about specific tips and tricks, but the way you think about startups in general. Last night, he shared the five lenses successful entrepreneurs use to look at the world:  

1. Proprietary gifts 

Successful entrepreneurs follow the commandment to “know thyself.” They can turn a critical eye inward and honestly evaluate their strengths and weaknesses. Then, they use those strengths to create an unfair advantage for themselves. 

2. Extreme focus

Entrepreneurs hone in on one goal and go after it. They’re brave enough to fail fast, say no to opportunities, and accept imperfect answers. They’re constantly testing and narrowing in. On the flipside, they’re also patient. 

3. Painkillers, not vitamins

Entrepreneurs are on the lookout for a chronic pain to solve – preferable a chronic pain felt by rich people. Building a vitamin – a pet project or something that’s merely cool – won’t keep you alive in the long run. Follow the pain, and you’ll find your revenue, customers, and market.

4. 10 times better

Incrementalism is a path to nowhere. Instead of being a little better than your competition, be 10 times better. Find the linchpin that makes you radically different. 

5. Monopoly

You have to accept the fact that growth is stupidly hard. So design ways to ensnare and suck in your customers. Add hooks and barbs wherever you can, so it’s difficult for customers to leave or forget you or switch to the competition.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact