Startups these days have become a household names. With better support from the Government and more acceptance from the general public, startup industry is on an upward momentum. Accelerators, incubators, and VC funds splash around so much cash that it’s no longer worth counting the number of tech startups with million-dollar valuations.

But have you ever given a thought to how success can be achieved in startups and what are the traits that differentiate a successful startup from an unsuccessful one. Those who find success manage to take what would otherwise be a shortcoming — the inability to sit still, workaholism, pigheadedness — and with a strong vision, mold it into something constructive. Let’s take a look at five of the least-touted traits found in some of the best-performing startup founders.


The popular perception of business scions is that they exhibit a fair amount of hyper-narcissism. However, those with ADHD are often innovative problem solvers, able multitaskers, and experts in free association. These are often the most creative thinkers among us and the most willing to forget – or reinterpret – failure and move quickly to the next opportunity.

A recent University of California Irvine study of genetics showed that ADHD is “closely associated” with entrepreneurship. So it’s no wonder that business scions with ADHD, like Sir Richard Branson and JetBlue founder David Neeleman, are embracing their diagnoses. But you don’t need a psychiatrist’s note to make attention deficit hyperactivity disorder work for you.

2. Shamelessness

Startup founders worried about personal judgment should choose a career with less pressure and less visibility. As the leader of any company, you deal with employees, investors, customers, reporters, contractors, partners, and competitors on a daily basis. For startups in particular, much of the early stage success is more perception than reality, and it is the (often shameless) self-promoters most aware of this fact who end up with the biggest return on investment.Many entrepreneurs who carry this trait interpret their shamelessness as being relentless, and they’re not wrong. Convincing investors to support your product, customers to use it, and reporters to cover it does not happen overnight.

3. Addictive Personality

Addiction is linked to professional success. The small victories that litter any startup founder’s path flood his dopamine receptors and keep them hitting the well again and again.Managing your addictive personality and creating a healthy relationship to work are vital to ultimate success. As Ben Horowitz famously put it: ‘As a startup CEO I slept like a baby. I woke up every two hours and cried.’ It’s hard stuff. It takes all of you, so remember to have fun whenever possible.”

4. Napoleon Complex

Napoleon complex refers to those who are in overdrive to succeed based on some real – or, more often for startup founders, perceived – professional insult. The field is filled with founders who pushed through the startup roadblocks with a combination of determination, jealousy, and righteous vengeance. All you’ll need is a brief scan of your competition — both massive multinationals and modest local businesses — to realize that without an added psychological push, your startup may wind up dead on arrival.

5. Stubbornness

Much of the innovation in the world is down to a simple, often maligned characteristic: stubbornness. Most people have an idea for a business but talk themselves out of it, using reason and logic and popular assumptions. Eventually they decide it won’t work. That’s normal. Startup founders, on the other hand, have an idea and think of ways to make it work.

Hence, keep traversing the roads less taken and chase your dreams until you make them a success.

About Author

Shivani Pandita

Shivani is an avid reader and loves to pen down her thoughts on paper in the most creative ways. She is more on the eccentric side, but it is this obscurity and uniqueness that makes her stand out. She has a passion for photography, travel and music. She strikes a thorough balance between intelligence and creativity and has a solution oriented approach to any problem at hand.

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