The most indispensable trait a startup founder can possess, and should desire to possess, is respect. For their fellow co-founders. For their employees. And most importantly, in my opinion, their competitors.\r\n\r\nPaul Graham, someone who I deeply revere, wrote in one of his recent essays,\r\nSo if you\u2019re a founder, here\u2019s a deal you can make with yourself that will both make you happy and make your company successful. Tell yourself you can be as nice as you want, so long as you work hard on your growth rate to compensate.\r\nI cannot agree more. Adding to this, I feel it\u2019s safe\u200a\u2014\u200anay, essential\u200a\u2014\u200afor founders to be respectful. And respect towards your competitors the most important of all. While it\u2019s true that fierce competition and pressure-cooker situations almost always get the best of us, it is imperative that founders remain respectful of their competitors. After all, that\u2019s what shows your true character. And you cannot win a war by bad mouthing. Nobody ever has. Wars have been won due to sheer excellence in execution. Exceptions being none.\r\nRespect enables you to rise above pettiness\r\nEntrepreneurship is definitely not a walk in the park. Behind all the perceived glamour, there is sheer hard work and an emotional roller-coaster that runs all day, everyday. Everyone who has seen early stage startups closely will testify.\r\nIt\u2019s important that we remember that our competitors go through, or have gone through, the exact same phase. Competition might blind us, but it\u2019s a fact nonetheless. Everyone who\u2019s worth being called a competitor by anyone deserves respect. It\u2019s only when we accept this, would we be able to see the struggle, the mistakes, the wins, and learn from it. Pettiness is for small minds.\r\nRespect enables you work harder\r\nIt\u2019s when you appreciate someone\u2019s hard work, is when you truly begin to appreciate yours. Among most of the hugely successful companies in the world, you\u2019d hardly see the founders bad-mouth or trash competitors. Smart founders realize if they don\u2019t learn from their environment constantly and improve their craft, the next startup gunning for them in a garage somewhere will definitely take the cake.\r\n\r\nI have been fortunate enough to be in company and under mentor-ship of some of the smartest entrepreneurs ever. And I\u2019ve never seen any of them bad-mouth or trash their competition. Why?\r\n\r\nThey\u2019re busy building. And growing.\r\n\r\nDon\u2019t miss to read this, of course.