Passion is one of those intangibles in business where you can’t really measure it, but know is important. But why is it so important? (at least in my book)
First of all, the most obvious reason is the fact that startups are hard. Like, really hard. And especially as a founder with employees, you are the one that’s responsible of motivating, inspiring and getting others around you excited about your vision. To do that without having passion for what you’re building would be close to impossible.
That’s why you see quite a few early stage startups fail because their main driver and passion was money, status or something within that area and that is simply not enough. If your passion IS money, then possibly something like stock trading might suit better than founding a startup business.
Aside the fact that passion helps get through tough times, it also is important to not get fatigued long-term. If you’re not truly passionate about what you’re building, you might get excited in the beginning, but in 3, 5, 10 years it will show whether you’re truly passionate about what you’re building or not. And if you aren’t, you’ll get fatigued in the long run and lose the drive to go the extra mile, which a lot of the time is the key differentiator.
Justin.tv (now Twitch) is a great example. The founders were on the brink of calling it quits even though Justin.tv had thousands of users and brought in revenue. Main reason? They didn’t really care about the community and the content that was being streamed on their platform. It was all random, uninspiring and even had very NSFW content. However, one of the main founders, Emmett Shear, was greatly into gaming, loved the community and was an active member himself. Justin.tv or not, he’d always be passionate about it. You see where I am going with this, right?
Twitch.tv was born, it blew up, they got rid of what they didn’t want. 9 years later, in 2020, Twitch.tv was acquired by Amazon for US$970 million in an all-cash deal.
Passion pays off.
“You can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.” - Jim Carrey
It’s quite simple really, we either do things because we love to or we have to, and I honestly don’t think you can consistently excel at something unless you love it.