Profile of a Starter

Posted on December 31, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized |

What is founder?  Founder is starter.  Starter is not operator, starter is not builder, starter is not marketer.  Starter is starter.  She who takes nothing and turns it into something…however valueless that something may be.  It is not everyone who is starter.  In fact, you could argue that starter creates much less value over the life of a company than builder, marketer, operator, but starter is it’s own skill.  Yes, many starters are some combination of starter and marketer, builder, operator, etc. but it is a very specific skill set who is able to start and not false start.  So what is a starter?

A starter is:

–       able to find signal in the noise.  People reference vision, but more concretely vision is the ability to see an opportunity while it lives in disparate, uncongealed parts of information and available resources.  They can see that things fit together before there is a structure and a name and a brand and a concrete representation of that opportunity.

–       A communicator.  Able to manifest that concrete representation of a disconnected, unsolidified opportunity.  It all begins with words.  Before there is a business plan, before there is a pitch deck, before there is product, a starter is able to pull the opportunity into a set of words that elucidates the opportunity to at least one other person. They are able to secure resources against these words, weather those resources be intellectual capital, free legal work, cofounders, early employees, money, or services.

–       A guide.  Able to compensate for imperfect words and imperfect visualization of the opportunity they see with passion and intellect.  As an opportunity congeals, over months and even years, it is still not visible to all.  With each step a company takes to pull the invisible into something concrete, the universe of believers grows.  The thing that was visible to one becomes visible to many.  Securing resources becomes easier, building becomes easier, value creation becomes easier.  But early on, in the absence of a widely visible representation of the opportunity, the starter builds believers in herself.  Others don’t yet believe in the opportunity because they cannot see it.  It hasn’t congealed to a point where it all fits in their heads, but they believe that the starter can see it, and they buy into the aptitude of the starter.  They say “I can only see 80% of the pieces, but this person sees something I don’t and based on everything I know of them, I believe they are better equipped to analyze the available information than I.”

–       Said another way, the starter, and not the false starter, is correct.  They are correct that in the ether exists an opportunity waiting to be pulled together into a structure.  People often discount the idea at the onset of a company, and yes, the initial idea always changes, but the successful starter is correct that by endeavoring to pull previously separated pieces together, those pieces being information and resources, that the congealed form, independent of what it turns out to be, will have more value than the separate parts.

–       Confident.  Yes, the skill set of a starter is unique, but still way more prevalent than the number of founders in the world.  The starter is willing to bet on themselves.  Not only will they chase an opportunity before it is fully visible, they will chase it despite being the absolute first person to recognize it.  Yes many people have the same ideas, but starters recognize the combination of information and available resources to them as a viable combination, and embark.  They are willing to do so with no social validation.  They begin to put the parts into words and structure before a single other person has validated this expenditure of time and emotion.  They are fueled from within.

So is a starter an idea man? Maybe…partially, but he is more.  He is a puzzle master.  Fitting pieces of information and resources that were previously separate together.  And…if he is good, he is correct…and the image on the non-existent cover to the box turns out, as he projected, to be beautiful.

To all the starters and would be starters out there, may 2012 bring you that corner piece you’ve been searching for 🙂

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2 Responses to “Profile of a Starter”

RSS Feed for Jordan Cooper's Blog: startups, venture capital, etc… Comments RSS Feed

Are you working on a start-up currently? Just curious. That’s a good post.


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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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