There are no rules

I read this post yesterday about how startups are all about exceptions. It really resonates with me, and I’ve been thinking about it a lot the past 24 hours.

If there was “one right way” to build a company there would be no failures. Obvious, that’s not the case, but there are still some best practices that are cited frequently. Funny thing is, there are always big companies who’ve done the opposite.

The founding team should own just about all of the company when it’s founded. It’s difficult if angel investors or a TTO own too much of the company that early. Still, we have Kahoot.

You shouldn’t start a company alone. It’s too damn hard. Still, we have Remarkable.

The founding team shouldn’t be too big either - there’s a lot of cost and complexity that comes with having too many co-founders. Still, we have

You should go after blue oceans and not crowded markets. Still, we have Google.

You get the picture. While the “best practices” are sound and definitely worth listening to, there are no rules. While I think it helps to be aware of the most generic startup advice out there, at the same time you have to break some rules purposefully if you believe it’s right for your company.

If you do like everybody else, you are most likely to fail. Most startups do.

PS: After writing this and before posting, I listened to this podcast with Keith Rabois where he talks about the very same topic: consciously and purposefully breaking rules. Recommended listening.