Indispensable Fundamentals: for building successful startups (Author Interview)

  1. What inspired you to write "Indispensable Fundamentals"? Do you believe there is a gap in the market for this type of guidance?

"In recent years, there's been a surge in efforts to promote entrepreneurship, both by public and private institutions. While these initiatives are excellent for fostering innovation and employment, they often gloss over the gritty realities of the entrepreneurial journey. This can leave new entrepreneurs ill-prepared for the challenges they'll inevitably face.

I wrote 'Indispensable Fundamentals' to bridge this gap. With experience from six start-ups, collaborations with 11 co-founders, and backing from 15 diverse investors, I've navigated the highs and lows of entrepreneurship for over two decades. My book aims to equip first-time entrepreneurs with the practical tools and the right mindset, grounded both in real-world experience and academic theory, to build successful start-ups."

  1. The first chapter discusses the crossroads between entrepreneurship and a traditional career. Can you share a personal experience or observation that led you to start the book with this topic?

"Interestingly, I've only ever been a full-time employee for two months, but that brief experience was enough to give me a firsthand look at the stark differences between entrepreneurship and traditional employment. I quickly realized that neither path is inherently superior; rather, they complement each other, creating a synergy that can benefit an organization as a whole. Each demands a unique set of skills, approaches, and most importantly, mindsets. However, one should know himself/herself first and then find out which choice is best for him/her.

To illuminate these differences, I chose to start the book with an analogy between Apollo and Dionysus. Apollo, the god of reason and logic, represents the structured, predictable world of traditional employment. Dionysus, the god of wine and celebration, embodies the chaotic, creative spirit of entrepreneurship. This analogy serves as a lens through which readers can better understand the distinct challenges and rewards each path offers."

  1. In "Achieving an Entrepreneurial Mindset," what would you say are the top three traits or habits entrepreneurs must cultivate?

I can tell 5 of them. The top habits that entrepreneurs must cultivate are:

1.       Relentless Passion: A fervor for innovative problem-solving.

2.       Team Building: High energy to attract skilled people, inspire and lead a strong team.

3.       Disciplined Perseverance: Consistent focus and effort.

4.       Balanced Optimism: Realistic risk management through proactive planning.

5.       Psychological Mastery: Managing one's own and others' emotional states."


  1. How do you differentiate between what entrepreneurship is and what it is not? Could you give us a brief insight into this chapter?

Peter Drucker's ideas on entrepreneurship are foundational and focus on innovation as the core of entrepreneurial activity. He argued that entrepreneurship is not just about making money or starting a business, but about creating value through innovation. In my book, I align closely with Drucker's perspective. I argue that entrepreneurship is not just about starting a business or being your own boss. It's about identifying gaps in the market or inefficiencies in existing processes and innovatively filling those gaps.

  1. Setting up a startup is no small task. From your book, "Establishing the Start-up", what are the foundational pillars that every entrepreneur should be aware of?

In my book, I discuss various aspects of setting up a startup from the following key points:

  1. Stages of Entrepreneurship: In the book, I mentioned different stages of entrepreneurship, from the idea/vision stage to establishment, growth, stagnation, revival, and exit (sale of the company or closure stages).
  2. Market Research: The importance of conducting systematic and thorough market research before the establishing the company is an important pillar.
  3. Team Building, Business Model, and Plan: These tasks are also given in my book as sub-sections under "Establishing the Startup," suggesting their importance.

  1. Execution is a key theme in your book. Can you share one key lesson or principle from the chapter "Effective Execution Fosters Growth" that has been instrumental in the success stories you've witnessed?

In the book, I shared a story about Napoleon which emphasizes the importance of taking action. I believe that, to achieve results, it is important to decide and act as soon as possible. Waiting for perfect conditions before acting is meaningless. This does not mean starting work without a plan, however. Plans must be made, but there should also be a sense of urgency and a bias towards action in start-ups. Overthinking leads individuals and institutions to inertia. Therefore, if the necessary preparations have been made, it is important to implement decisions as soon as possible.

  1. Failure is a recurring theme in the startup world. In your chapter "Why Start-up's Fail & How to Revive Them", do you believe that every failed startup has the potential to be revived? What are some common reasons for failure you've identified?

If the entrepreneur follows the recommendations I have suggested during the stagnation of the start-up, there is a high probability of reviving their company. I personally faced hard times and we recovered with those strategies so I think others can revive by applying those basic but fundamental strategies.


  1. The notion of a "Happy End" or successful exit for startups is intriguing. Could you shed some light on what this looks like and why it's a significant aspect of the entrepreneurial journey?

“To sell a company with a good valuation” means the entrepreneur not only created a product that is attractive but also a great organization that is desired and valuable. An entrepreneur who passes all the states of the journey successfully has valuable experiences gained. Moreover, he can start his next journey but with an abundant money and with more experience accumulated after a successful exit.


  1. Throughout your research and writing process, were there any findings or insights that surprised you or challenged your previous beliefs about entrepreneurship?

Personally, since I was a serial and seasonal entrepreneur I passed that stage in my early years of entrepreneurship. However, Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, has written about the counterintuitive nature of entrepreneurship and I love his ideas which I can summarize as follows:


·         You can't game the system. In a startup, there is no boss to trick, only users. If your product doesn't solve a real problem for users, it will fail.

·         You don't need to be an expert. In fact, Graham argues that too much knowledge about how startups are typically run can be dangerous, because it can lead founders to focus on the wrong things.

·         You need to be obsessed with your users. The only way to build a successful startup is to deeply understand your users and their problems. This means talking to users all the time and getting their feedback on your product.

·         You need to be patient. Startups are hard work, and it takes time to build a successful company. There is no such thing as an overnight success.

  1. Lastly, if readers were to take away only one key lesson from "Indispensable Fundamentals," what would you want it to be?

Entrepreneurship can be learnt, and it is very rewarding in terms of self-actualization if you do it with the right methodologies. That is why I wrote this book: to help entrepreneurs during their journey.