Chris Zaal Says You Often Find These Traits Among Startup Founders

Chris Zaal

March 12, 2021

Chris Zaal Says You Often Find These Traits Among Startup Founders

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, these are just a few of the most successful startup founders in recent years. Many founders have also made millions, and in some cases, even billions. Chris Zaal, the founder of CAZ Capital, has started several successful companies and has also closely studied other successful startup founders. Now, he’s going to share some insights into common traits among startup founders.

“People may think that successful startup founders are driven by money,” Chris Zaal says. “But that’s often not the case. They’re driven by a vision and frequently believe that the products or services they offer are more valuable than just the money. Their company might be worth a billion, but the innovations made may be priceless.”

Beyond a certain amount of wealth, money may have a declining value. The difference between $2 billion and $10 billion in a personal bank account may not actually mean much in terms of someone’s daily life. Yet growing a company and expanding its services and products can revolutionize industries and even change the course of history. Chris Zaal notes that many successful startup founders consider the potential impact of their company not just now, but a hundred years from now.

“A lot of successful startup founders have an immense vision,” Chris Zaal argues. “You might see a startup now and think that the company won’t have that much impact. Take Amazon, for example. At first, some thought it was just an online bookstore, but Jeff Bezos had a much, much grander vision. Now, books sales and online retail sales in general are among many revenue streams for Amazon.”

Having a vision and making that vision come true are two very different things. A lot of people can dream up potentially history-changing ideas, but actually building a company and changing the world requires more than dreams. A successful startup founder is usually extremely intelligent and good at reacting in fast changing situations.

“Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, these folks are extremely intelligent,” Chris Zaal notes. “But it’s not just about book smarts. They’re able to react quickly to changing market conditions. Their flexible intelligence may be more important than their book smarts, to be honest. When you run a company, you have to react quickly, making big decisions with incomplete information.”

It’s not just about intelligence either. Indeed, Chris Zaal believes another trait may be even more important.

Chris Zaal Talks About How Driven Startup Founders Are

Building a company takes a lot of work and the risks are often high. If you found a successful company, you might be tempted to cash out early, taking $50 million now rather than waiting to see if you can earn $500 million later. But according to Chris Zaal, the most successful startup founders are often so driven that they keep building their company and expanding their vision.

“Drive is important,” Chris Zaal says. “You have to be driven to work 70 hours or more a week as a startup founder. You have to have the drive to turn away quick money now and to continue building out your company and vision. For many founders, their startup is a passion project and they’re driven to achieve extraordinary things.”