Fred wrote about tenacity this morning prompted by a post from Mark Suster about tenacity being a key trait for an entrepreneur. As per usual there is a long comment thread on Fred’s post and also quite a few comments on Mark’s.
There is, however, only a limited discussion of the potential conflict between tenacity and the ability to “fail early and often” (before and after this comment). With the low cost of operating many startups these days, it should probably be called “iterate early (and often)” instead. I have seen quite a few failures that resulted from the entrepreneur being too tenacious in pursuit of something that is not working. When you google for “define:tenacity”, the first definition offers up “doggedness” as a synonym. For someone with tenacity only and no flexibility it is very easy to err on the side of simply continuing without making a change.
In fact, I am beginning to think that one reason why it is so hard to be successful as an entrepreneur is exactly because some of the traits required are almost contradictory in nature. Here is another example. Successful entrepreneurs build great teams. That requires attracting talent, which in turn requires making people feel valued. But it is also important for an entrepreneur to be able to rearrange the team, which may mean letting go of valued people, if there is no logical place for them as the organization grows.