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ACS Entrepreneur Video Series: Personality Traits and Skill Sets

Industry Matters Newsletter

Youtube ID: Ary39wGiChI


David Mackanic, Founder, Anthro Energy [00:00:00] When I think of the personality traits that enable someone to succeed at a startup, I think of two things. The first is fearlessness and this manifests itself in many ways. It's not only being fearless of the future of the company or anything like that, but more fearless in a day-to-day sense in terms of trying new things and pushing the limits to try to make things work.

The biggest risk of a startup is if you don't make progress on your product and sometimes that requires doing things that might seem extreme or difficult. Another way that fearlessness comes up is in the business side of things, when you're trying to form these partnerships and acquire customers, you need to really be bold and ask for what you need and what's going to take the company forward. You’ve got to be fearless in that sense.

And then the second thing is kind of related to that and it's perseverance. In a startup, lots of things will go wrong. Lots of things are going to fail. There are going to be snags and hitches and unexpected dilemmas. It is just really important to be able to persevere through those, keep a positive attitude and continue making progress towards the goal.

Karin Calvinho, Chief Technology Officer, RenewCO2 [00:01:17]
To work at a startup, you have to have a few different skills. One of them is actually being able to do something technical very well because you're building a product from scratch. You are with one friend or maybe two, but there aren't a lot of hands. All of the people involved have to be really crafty and really good at building that one thing that you're trying to do.

The second really important thing is being able to be flexible because in one minute, you're talking to someone that knows a lot about your subject, the second you're actually talking to someone that has never heard about it. And, you're trying to build a business at the same time that you're pitching at a competition, which takes a completely different skillset. Then you're looking at manuals and trying to figure out how that new equipment that you bought is working, and you're applying for grants and you're figuring out how to work on budgeting.

So, there are a lot of very different skills involved. The other very important thing is the ability to identify weaknesses and work with people that are able to fill that gap instead of trying to learn everything that is possible to learn. Figuring out who can help, the ability to ask for help, is super important.

I think the last one - and it's something that scientists are really good at - which is the ability to be really resilient. To hear “no” several times and hear feedback that's not always positive, take it in and learn from it and continue going. It's meant to make you grow and growth is not easy. So basically, being resilient is all that it takes.

Joe Landolina, CEO and Co-Founder, Cresilon, Inc. [00:03:22]
The most important skill when we're looking to start a startup is perseverance. One thing that I've learned very early on is that the world of startups and starting a business has its ups and downs. The most important thing to do is be able to stick through the business, especially in the times when things get hard. So long as you can stick with it, you'll be able to see it through the end.

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    Joe Landolina

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