Of course it starts with a killer idea that solves a core problem. Some capital to invest is helpful, but not always mandatory. And, you need a site that functions well and does what it promises to do.
All critical to the success of any startup.
But...perhaps the most important criteria for success is something so basic, so obvious, but often overlooked…
Great people and leadership!
And not just bodies, but leaders who lead. I am a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. Is he the greatest social media visionary of our time? Probably not. But is he the hardest working social media exec in the industry? Without a doubt. How many tech people can walk down the street and literally get stopped every few feet by fans? The guy writes books, gives speeches and creates videos that truly inspire people. And he has built an amazing digital agency along the way. That’s a leader in my mind. He puts himself out there, walks the walk, talks the talk!
In the real estate tech space there are several really passionate visionaries who speak for their site, their brand and even more importantly, for the industry.
These visionaries inspire others and are leading the entire real estate sector into an exciting new era of innovation. People Spencer Rascoff from Zillow, Nick Romito from VTS, Ori Allon from Compass, Brandon Weber from Hightower, Andy Florance from Costar, Jonathan Schultz from Onyx Equities, Pierce Neinken from CRE // Tech, Mark Gilbreath from LiquidSpace, Jonathan Wasserstrum from TheSquareFoot, Dave Eisenberg from Floored, Jilliene Helman from Realty Mogul, Aaron Block from Metaprop, Jeff Finn from RealNex, Riggs Kubiak from Honest Buildings, Michael Griffin from ClientLook and more.
They inspire people to work with them, people to invest with them and customers to use their product. They speak with passion. They are the ones you see all the time in the media, on stage at events and who write great thought leadership pieces.
People talk all the time about valuations…unicorns…exits…etc
But in my opinion, not enough about the actual “people.”
I remember reading this article about how you really have to be nuts to be an entrepreneur. In any sector. But perhaps none more so than in tech. The odds are so great. Most startups never succeed. The VC world knows this better than anyone and that’s why so make so many bets in the hope that one wins.
It’s incredibly hard to be a tech entrepreneur. The challenges can be overwhelming. From tech to funding to market traction, everyday you face an uphill battle with huge headwinds. But if you think about the sites that are the most successful, you will typically find a leadership team that has the chops to go the distance, make the sacrifice, lead by example and power through despite even the most challenging times. They are the ones that know how and when to pivot. How to build an organization.
But as that great Apple commercial says, “Here’s to the crazy ones…”.
Oftentimes in this day and age we forget about the person leading the charge at many of these great companies. And to me, having the right person at the top is more important than anything.
After all, great products don’t improvise on their own. Products can’t hire the right team, can’t pivot themselves, and don’t have vision…it takes people to do all of that. The right kind of people. We all know who they are in our own ecosystem.
Here’s to the visionaries!