Startup Effort is Insane, So Think Big

Ten years ago I was talking to a tech entrepreneur in town with multiple startup wins. We were talking about the startup journey and how much effort is required to make it work — so many ups and downs, unknowns, and long hours.

Then, we got to talking about outcomes and levels of success and he offered up a comment that has stuck with me ever since:

It’s the same amount of effort to build a $30M business as it is to build a $300M business, so only pursue the biggest ideas.


Having held that thought in the back of my mind for many years, and seeing different entrepreneurial ventures play out, I’ve found that statement even more prescient. All successful startups take a tremendous amount of work. Whether it’s five years of effort (low end) or 10 years of effort (much more common), it takes an incredible amount of time and energy such that it’s best to pursue the biggest, most audacious ideas.

So, the next time you’re evaluating startup ideas, remember that it’s the same amount of work to produce a good outcome as it is to produce a great outcome, so think big.

One thought on “Startup Effort is Insane, So Think Big

  1. Don’t think that it’s the same amount of effort across the board. There are some smaller ideas I have that I know would take less effort than some big ones. But they all are mentally and emotionally taxing in the same way. So it’s really about ROU. do you want to put in 3-5 years of effort for a small return or 5-10 years for a MUCH bigger return, knowing that you’ll be mentally and emotionally drained regardless.

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