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Shit Elon Says - Transcript - Starting a Business

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Okay, first of all I'd say starting a business is not for everyone. Generally, starting a business, I'd say, number one is have a high pain threshold. There's a friend of mine who's got a good saying which is that starting a company is like eating glass and staring into the abyss. Okay, that's generally what happens because when you first start a company there's lots of optimism and things are great. Happiness at first is high, then you encounter all sorts of issues and happiness will steadily decline, and then you will go through a whole world of hurt, and then eventually, if you succeed - and in most cases you will not succeed - and Tesla almost did succeed. It came very close to failure. If you succeed then, after a long time, you will finally get back to happiness.

I think, two, is that you've got to make sure that whatever you're doing is a great product or service. It has to be really great. To go back to what I was saying earlier, where if you're a new company - unless it's like some new industry or new market that hasn't - if it's an untapped market, then you have more ability to - the standard is lower for your product or service, but if you're entering anything where there's an existing marketplace, against large entrenched competitors, then your product or service needs to be much better than theirs. It can't be a little bit better, because then you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and they say why would you buy it as a consumer. You're always going to buy the trusted brand unless there's a big difference. A lot of times an entrepreneur will come up with something that is only slightly better, and it can't just be slightly better. It's got to be a lot better.

Number three, I'd say, is constantly seek criticism. A well thought-out critique of whatever you're doing is as valuable as gold, and you should seek that from everyone you can, but particularly your friends. Usually, your friends know what's wrong, but they don't want to tell you because they don't want to hurt you. Yeah, they say I want to encourage my friend so I'm not going to tell him what I think is wrong with his product. It doesn't mean your friends are right, but very often they are right, and you at least want to listen very carefully to what they say.. and to everyone. You're looking for, basically, you should take the approach that you're wrong. That you, the entrepreneur are wrong. Your goal is to be less wrong.

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