Dear Genie in a bottle,
I’m going to start a new company. Yes Genie. I know I’m crazy. And I know I only get nineteen wishes.
Genie, I’m really going to need you at your best. So with these nineteen wishes, please grant me:
A. A great cofounder.
Steve Jobs needed Steve Wozniak. Bill Gates needed Paul Allen. Mick needed Keith and vice versa. Every great founder needs at least one great cofounder. So please grant me a great cofounder. And Genie, please grant me…
Decisions are never clear when you are CEO. There are multiple options and multiple paths.
Take the wrong path and you’re dead. Take the right path and you are on your way to success.
Please grant me the wisdom to decide on the right path. And, while you’re at it Genie, please grant me…
I know it’s a tough road to success. I know I am going to get knocked down time and again.
I’m ready for it, Genie. At least I think I am. But I’m going to need your help.
I’m going to need Grit and lots of it (read: What’s The One Trait All Successful Entrepreneurs Have?) to hang in there during all the rough times ahead. Oh, and could you also grant me…
I know, Genie, that patience is a dirty word when you’re running a startup. Nevertheless, I’m going to need the patience to stay the course.
I can’t be bouncing from one business model to another business model for example. I’m going to need patience, the close cousin of grit, if we’re going to win.
E. A reality distortion field.
Like the one Steve Jobs had. Yeah. That would be really useful I think.
You need your team to achieve the impossible to achieve startup success. And that requires you bend reality when you’re starting a new company.
Then it would really useful Genie if you could grant me…
F. A great network.
Then I can recruit a great team to work with. You know. A team that is passionate, has integrity, is smart, and fits the company culture.
A team full of fanatics like the one Phil Knight had at Nike sure would do the trick.
It also wouldn’t hurt if you could introduce me to some great investors too.
And since we’re on the subject of integrity, Genie please grant me…
G. A soul.
Temptation is everywhere. And I never want to lose my integrity. Ever. Even if it means doing things that might hurt. Even if it means, yes, that the company might go under.
Genie, I’m also going to need…
I can’t expect to keep 100% of the equity for myself. I need to be fair and generous to the team. (Read: http://www.brettjfox.com/how-much-equity-do-your-employees-deserve/)
I know that I will rewarded many times over by being generous. Speaking of generosity, Genie please grant me…
Building a startup is a team sport Genie. And I’m going to need the humility to give the praise of our success to the team, not me.
I’m also going to need the humility to accept the blame for all of our mistakes and problems. I’m the CEO, and I bear the ultimate responsibility.
Speaking of team, Genie please grant me…
J. A really strong team.
I know, Genie. We have to recruit the team with our network. But it would be great if you could at least give us a pool of talented people to recruit. Oh, one thing that would really be helpful building a great team Genie would be…
K. H1-B Visas.
Man oh man, do we need them, Genie. It’s tough to build a great team here in the United States with home grown talent.
There are just not enough American-born engineers to fill our ranks. We need H1-B visas, so we can continue adding the best and brightest to our team.
Genie could you please grant me to keep our team happy…
L. A great culture.
Culture is overlooked by many CEOs. Please don’t let me overlook having a great culture. Our chances of success go way up if we get the culture right. (Read: http://www.brettjfox.com/why-your-startup-culture-is-the-key-to-your-companys-success/).
I’ve already asked you for a lot Genie, but could you also grant me..
M. Class and Grace.
Yes Genie, class and grace. I know I’m going to have to do a lot of tough things. I know I am going to have to fire people.
I hate firing people, but I know not every person is going to work out. And yes, Genie, I know it’s my fault when a person doesn’t work out.
So I need to let people go with class and grace. It’s going to be really rough Genie, so please grant me…
N. A loving and supportive family.
It’s going to be tough on my family because, even when I’m with them, I’m going to be focusing on the company.
And there are going to be near-death experiences where it looks like everything we’ve worked for is going to go away. That’s when I’m really going to need my family’s love and support.
And every once in a while Genie please grant me…
O. A good night’s sleep.
Yeah, a good night’s sleep would be really nice. I know there are going to be nights where I sleep very little.
Keeping those sleepless nights to a minimum would be great. One thing that will help me sleep well Genie would be if you could grant me…
P. Good investors.
And by good investors, I mean supportive investors. You know, investors that are going to hang in there during the ups and downs of building a company.
And it would really make me and my investors happy Genie if you could grant me…
Q. An exploding market.
It doesn’t even have to be the market we originally aimed for Genie. It can be a new market that needs what were developing (with a few tweaks).
A growing market would be really nice. And speaking of markets, Genie could you grant me…
R. A good competitor.
I know it sounds crazy Genie, but I know we’re going to have competition, so why not wish for a good competitor?
I’d like a competitor that really pushes us to do our best. A competitor that fights hard, but fights fairly.
Finally Genie, please grant me the most important wish of all…
None of the other wishes you granted me Genie matters if I don’t have some luck. Without luck I know it’s next to impossible to win, so please grant me some luck Genie. I know I’m going to need it.
Thanks Genie! I know I’m asking for a lot, but I’m going to need every bit of your help to succeed,
– Brett Fox
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