Nothing But Socks – Your Fail-Safe Guide to Startup Success: Confidence

Note: This series is a lighthearted take on startups, written by a guest author. This advice isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

So you have your own company. Repeat that slowly to yourself, preferably while standing naked in front of a full-length mirror, or even better, wearing only socks. You can’t look ridiculous when you’re powerful; any ridiculousness only serves to make you appear more confident. Do a super-(wo)man pose, hold it, hold it for 30 seconds, now repeat it loudly and clearly.


This is how it starts, this is how it started for Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Joe Gebbia, Elizabeth Holmes and others (well, those who weren’t royally screwed out of their original stake by their partners through shady corporate shareholder dilution).

Now get yourself dressed, you’re not rich yet, nudity is unlikely to be a winning in-office strategy no matter how fabulous you undoubtedly look. What do you wear, a suit? Fuck no! Suits are for corporate stiffs, Ministry goons and red-carpet awards shows. No-one takes a startup seriously if you’re over-dressed. You need to strike the right note between comfortable but not casual, self-assured but modest, modest but creative, creative but serious, serious but exciting, exciting but trustworthy, trustworthy but interesting, interesting but comfortable……..shit…….rich but not ostentatious, accessible but clever, clever but not intelligently-socially-awkward-to-the-point-of-near-autism. Pick your outfit so carefully that it doesn’t look like you picked your outfit carefully. Maybe leave a hint of a bra strap showing, or one flap of your shirt carefully un-tucked and peeking out of your sweater.  

Now you need to get to work on the real business. Not 4th quarter projections, not expansion rates and modulating your income/outlay formulas, not expanding your client base or internal HR processes. Not since the baby-boomers has any company been successful by providing solid and dependable customer service or providing a well-run niche service catering to an exclusive client base. Success for us is based on 2 things:

  1. Being cool
  2. Going viral

Dead easy. It doesn’t really matter what you actually DO, that is very 1995 thinking. Just do something – provide some good or service. Once you do that, the rest is about making your company cool enough that people want to be associated with you. Examples:

Google – cool

Microsoft – not cool

Nintendo – cool

General Motors – not cool

Starbucks – cool

Air Transat – Really not fucking cool

Throughout this blog series, I will let you know everything you need to know to make your business cool and viral.


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