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Many intelligent comments in this thread; let me point out the underacknowledged.

You are limited by who you are. By your appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns. Your clothing, body language, grooming and hygiene. Your ingrained habits of action, speech and thought. Your age - foolish excitable youth or cramped, ossified old age. Your network and resume. Some of this can be improved, some can't.

It all sets an upper bound on your potential, but you could fall far short of this due to bad luck or bad execution. Almost nobody will be honest with you about any of this. Which means savvy observers may see your limits very quickly, but will not tell you.

Trust is a huge factor, and again, people will not be up front about this. A solo startup has a huge legitimacy gap if selling to big companies. You could just vanish, go on vacation, get sick, steal the company's data, sue the company claiming to be a de facto employee.

So acquire signals of legitimacy aggressively. Sell anything to a big corporation or government agency, no matter how small and out of your specialty, and you have a bragging point. Join industry associations. Get an advisory board with the right resumes. (All this assumes b2b).

If you are not likeable, you will have great difficulty selling. That includes pitching to investors, attracting co-founders, employees and beta testers.

Every time you have contact with a salesman - that includes missionaries, military recruiters, etc. - note down what they did that worked and didn't work. The common denominator I've seen in the good salesman is 1) being likeable and 2) understanding my particular situation.

If you see any way to get objective feedback on you, not the company - do it. For instance, bring a savvy observer on a sales call. He can be an investor, a salesman from one of your suppliers, or a paid advisor. I personally stumbled into that situation and benefited from it.

Maybe I'm overstating this because plenty of seemingly dislikeable people started successful companies.




> You are limited by who you are. By your appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns. Your clothing, body language, grooming and hygiene. Your ingrained habits of action, speech and thought. Your age - foolish excitable youth or cramped, ossified old age. Your network and resume. Some of this can be improved, some can't.

I am fascinated that someone has above attributes lined up in a way so that they can drive around in $100,000 cars, drop $10,000 for a family vacation without having to save for years, and live in a house that is literally a movie set.

And you have the opposite like poor and homeless.

Isn't life ... weird?




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