Kevin Dewalt – a really awesome startup investor and mentor and all round nice guy emailed me today about some of the lessons he has learned from offering his free advice service to over 150 founders.
Having spoken with, and shared stories of success and failure with so many founders, Kevin surmised that passion about the space that your startup is operating in is the fundamental key to having a successful startup. Basically if you don’t care about the people in that space and care deeply about helping them solve their problems, you’re going to have a really tough time making it work.

I absolutely agree with Kevin. I believe that passion is the fuel that sparks your curiosity and keeps you interested. It is the energy you call on when you are at your wits end. It is what makes you ask the questions others don’t. It is perhaps also what makes your failures hurt more deeply and hopefully what re-invigorates your recovery and success.

So now I use a passion test to filter the many ideas that I am lucky to have. If I genuinely don’t feel passion for the people the idea is designed to help, I ditch the idea – instantly. Sure, some ideas tease me a little longer and I dig deeper to see if something ignites that passion. But they still get tested.

What I am now seeing is that I actually have lots of excitement rather than a deep passion about many ideas and problems – a lot less passion than I thought I had. That’s the trouble with excitement – it passes very well for passion in the first few days of an idea. It’s kind of lust vs love!This is great insight because it also leads me to explore more deeply what I am truly passionate about.
What are you passionate about? Whose problems do you want to help solve?

BTW – if you are new to startups and need some really insightful and relevant knowledge, I can highly recommend Kevin’s blog and his free advice sessions. Tell him I said ‘Hi’.

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