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During the last twelve years we have worked with many Startups and entrepreneurs whom we help to materialize their ideas. One thing we love about being software developers is that it allows us to sit face-to-face with founders. The people who had the vision for how a product or service could change the status quo, and help them make it a reality. Whether it is a technology-related company or not, there is a common component of success that we find in all cases.

It is usually assumed that success depends on certain factors such as the idea for ​​the project, its execution, its leaders, or if they have the necessary funds to carry out their plan. In some way they all influence the outcome but I think that none of them ends up being the determining factor.

Here I’ll share my hypothesis, and leave an open space for anyone who wants to exchange opinions about it:

About ideas

We have seen many good ideas that never came to fruition and bad ideas in which a lot of money was spent without succeeding. A good idea is not necessarily a guarantee of anything. It could be said that it is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one.

About funds

Initially, the development of a Startup does not usually depend on how much funding it has either. Many companies start up self-funded, re-invest profits, and never need external investment to develop (this was our case in  The App Master). It may be necessary to have financial support to be able to scale faster once there is a proof of concept, but the foundations of the project, in most cases, can be built without the need to bring investors to the table. Hence the typical anecdote that great companies started in a garage.

About their leaders

There are definitely leaders who make a lot of difference. In an event of Alumni de ESADE which I attended a few years ago in New York, Anshuman Vohra participated as a speaker. He is the founder and creator of the Bulldog gin who later sold his company to Campari for 51 million Euros. An extremely charismatic character; in fact, someone in the audience even dared to asked him if he was aware that the most important asset that Bulldog had was him, and not the product. He laughed and very diplomatically diverted the attention. But it is true that sometimes there are leaders who impact more than the brand itself and can generate a fanaticism that is not necessarily a sign of success. There are cases like Steve Jobs (Apple), or Elon Musk (PayPal, Tesla, SpaceX), but also oposite cases like Adam Neumann (WeWork).

About their teams

Most people think that they have their jobs because they were chosen by the company to be a part of it. This is a very common misperception. The reality is that a company chooses who to employ, and then from that day forward it is the employee who chooses the company. That is why many of us strive to ensure that people work happily, that they develop professionally and grow. May they continue to choose us every day.

Today, no one is forced to work in the same organization for the rest of their life, but many people behave as if they were. The secret then resides, undoubtedly, in the people who are part of the company. Whether in their role as leaders, or as team members in any of the different areas, everyone contributes to success. They are the engine that transforms ideas into reality, those who bet on the project to grow. That I believe in my opinion is the secret of all successful startups.