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Believers vs non-believers

“I’d shut down Apple” – Michael Dell, 1997.

That line is from one of the most memorable quotes ever.

Today Michael Dell said it was a misunderstood quote. Maybe, but my gut says it wasn’t. Why clarify it 14 years later. It doesn’t make any sense to me. 

Here’s the way I look at it.

You have believers and non-believers.

Believers will do whatever they can to make it work. They are committed past the point of return. A team of believers is unstoppable. I love the Steve Jobs quote that John Lily shared recently:

If you want to make Apple great again, let’s get going. If not, get the hell out

On the other hand, non-believers can’t imagine anything working.

They see the downside. They think about opportunity costs. They think about that green grass on the other hill. They can’t imagine a struggling company making it through the pain. That’s the sentiment that drove Dell’s comment many years ago. He was a non-believer.

Startups exist in a world dominated by non-believers. They are surrounded by this all day long. VCs turn them down. The press takes shots. Some employees leave. Big companies call their life’s work “a feature” or a “poor man’s email”. Or people that have never worked in a startup, dismiss new ideas and new companies as yet another attempt at xyz (where xyz represents the impossible in their eyes).

I’m very happy to be working with founders to try the impossible.

The odds and stats tell us that most startups won’t work out. Everyone knows that.

But we are believers. We believe that we can make it work.

And that’s what gets me up every morning.