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100% in or 0% in
Optionality is a trap
My aunt is a beast.
She wakes up at 4:30, downs ~6 shots of espresso, and hits a gym class called “F45.”
She’s 100% in on this F45. She goes every day. She has all their gear. She posts about them on social media and won’t stop talking about them. She eats, sleeps, and breathes F45.
The interesting part? Last year, she was 0% into F45 and 100% into Orange Theory. The year before, she was 100% into some boxing class. At some point, she was 100% into Beach Body.
She is either 100% into something, or 0% into it.
Compare Auntie Cheryl with your typical gym-goer who’s never 100% in:
Constantly changes workout schedule & regimen to find the “best” one
Dabbles but never commits
Always moderately unsatisfied, never exactly sure what to do
Here’s why this is interesting: Startup founders need to be like my aunt with her gym obsession. You need to be 100% in or 0% in. Yet most founders preserve optionality, and as a result are never 100%. They refuse to make the tradeoffs that “100% in” requires.
How to be 100% in
Here is a simple checklist - if you’ve said any of these things (and you’re sub-$1M ARR), you are not 100% in:
“We have multiple different potential ICPs”
“We’re building SMB self-serve and enterprise versions”
“We’re testing a few different GTM motions”
“We’re building a horizontal product”
“We address many different pain points”
“We’re keeping our positioning broad so we can keep our options open”
“We need to experiment more”
Pick a single ICP
Pick a single GTM motion
Pick a single positioning, value prop, & problem
Be 100% in on that combination for 2+ months —THEN decide whether to be 100% in on something else!
This will feel risky. But it’s less risky than “keeping your options open,” because when you don’t decide and aren’t 100% in - that’s a decision to fail.
100% in or 0% in. Optionality is a trap.
Yesterday on LinkedIn I announced that I’m going to do a 1-week sprint for B2B founders on “getting your first 10-20 customers.”
It will be:
**No BS, highly practical**
~1 - 1.5 hour sessions daily, I’m creating all the content for it
With vetted, serious B2B founders
Option to continue with small accountability groups post-sprint
This will be sometime in November - dates still TBD - and will be *free* (just this once). My goal is to figure out if this is something uniquely valuable that I should triple down on.
If you’re a B2B founder & have hit your head against the wall, and are trying to find the fast path to your first 10-20 customers (whether you’re at 0 or 3-5), reply to this or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know B2B founders or are part of any particular founder community - do me a solid & share this with them!