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What Founder Attributes Does It Take To Build An Institution

What Founder Attributes Does It Take To Build An Institution

Last evening, at a team dinner, a much-loved colleague remarked, “We don’t have assholes in the founding team.”

He didn’t mean assholes. Instead, he was using it interchangeably with attributes such as taskmaster, autocratic, “shut the fuck up and get this done” DNA.

I felt at peace within, when I heard this. Because over this year, I have come to terms with the fact that I am not this guy, will never be, and won’t allow the culture at nearbuy to exhibit this ever.

Early this year, I wouldn’t have been at peace with this. I may have even agreed.

I was consuming content at a crazy pace and almost everything was telling me that the best founders in the world – the Elon Musks, the Zuckerbergs, Jobs, Jan Koums – are all “assholes”.

That’s how the media projected them. No bullshit, taskmaster, abusing, “why the fuck are you wasting my time” – mercenaries in every sense.

It was after I studied them deeper, read between the lines and dissociated the media interpretation from my observation that I realized they exhibit behaviour similar to how I think.

Related Article: Not All VCs Are A**holes

Don’t Create A False Sense Of Urgency 

If something is required by tomorrow evening, don’t ask for it to be done today. Don’t let your bad planning become the reason to fuck someone’s planning

Don’t make things bigger than what they are. Always project the truth. Not the exaggerated version.

Be A Fervent Truth Seeker 

Seek the truth, because that’s the only absolute. Don’t seek opinions. Or views. Or judgement.

And don’t stop until you find it. The team then aligns itself around the truth and not around the happiness or pleasure of an individual.

Say More “Let’s Do It” Than “No, Let’s Not” 

Give people the freedom to think and approach you with no hesitation. Encourage people to challenge established norms, within or outside. Push them to find the simplest way to complex problems.

Push them to take risks. And don’t reprimand if it fails. No one sets out to fail.

Respect People

You can be disrespectful towards the situation, the circumstance, the moment. But never the person.

“Fuck this shit” is different from “fuck you!”

Be Intolerant Of Mediocrity 

Mediocrity is not an absolute. And this isn’t easy to digest.

People aren’t mediocre. They appear to be so in certain circumstances. And if those circumstances are the prominent ones in your world, then they will always look to be mediocre. In some other circumstance, they may shine.

Let go of them. Don’t persist with them. You will rarely win. But they might win in some other circumstance

The easiest thing to build today is a company. The hardest thing is to build an institution where people love to come to work. Asshole founders don’t create institutions. They merely start and run companies.

[This post by Ankur Warikoo first appeared on LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission.]

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.


Ankur Warikoo


Ankur Warikoo is Cofounder & CEO of nearbuy – online marketplace for discovering and buying offline services. Prior to nearbuy, Warikoo was Head of Groupon’s India, Indonesia, Thailand, and Philippines business. He holds a management degree from the Indian School of Business (Class of 2006) where he was awarded the Young Leader Award and a Masters degree in Physics from Michigan State University and holds a bachelor’s degree from Hindu College, Delhi University.

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