David B. Lerner

Dave Lerner, 3x Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Host of Venture Studio
Entrepreneur, Angel Investor, Director of Columbia University Venture Lab, Blogger, Community Organizer, Golfer-in-Exile.

The Founder and His Vision (1)

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This is part one of my ongoing Series on Getting from Zero to One.

You suspect you possess the Founder's Eye- that mythical Picassoan Eye referred to in the Prelude.

To put it another way, you don't laugh to yourself at the suggestion.

Why is this? 

You probably see the outlines of something immense in your mind's eye. 

And again, why is this?

It may not be something you can immediately explain- and is more likely something you just feel instinctively.

And why is this?

It's probably because you have encountered or witnessed a problem or obstacle or gap in your life at work or elsewhere that frustrated or perhaps even infuriated you. Something inside you told you there must be a better way to do this and now you believe you will be the agent of change- that you will build something that destroys this particular issue and perhaps goes far beyond it.

You feel a passion for this cause, for this arena- you are ready to fight for it at enormous cost. You feel something larger than yourself is at stake and you are consumed by this feeling.

But where do you begin? How do you harness this immense energy?

A thousand questions crowd your mind: How and where to begin? Who to hire? How to raise funds? Who to call? Who to trust? Who to help me with my model? Who to partner with? It goes on and on. Some never make it past this first day, overwhelmed by the anxiety of it all- most just muddle through somehow in a perpetual state of nervous tension. It doesn't have to be like this.

If you’re going through this or are about to launch your first startup, this series of posts is for you. I was inspired to write it by the many young entrepreneurs I meet who are trying to make their way through this "blessed warm fog" (as Conrad put it).  It’s the beginning after all- and one of the most difficult and misunderstood phases of a startup’s lifecycle. It requires some of the most concrete tasks and yet some of your most creative thinking all at once.  

It's time to take the first steps, one at a time. I like to call this  ‘Going from Zero to One’.

This series is essentially going to be a Buddhist chant with a singular mantra, to be repeated in a steady, rhythmic tone, over and over again…. Zero to One, Zero to One, Zero to One.... I will explain, I promise.

For Part Two in this Series, click here.

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