Inc.com’s Ilan Mochari wrote “What Happens When Entrepreneurs Fall in Love With Their Creations”.  The article went in a different way than I thought.  In light of the Golden Globe-nominate Her starring Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson (voice) where Phoenix’s character, Theodore Twombly, falls in love with a computer system, Mochari writes about the propensity for entrepreneurs to fall in love with their creations.  Though, the ending was more of a cautionary note for any one of us, in general, about the attachment we have these days to technologies. 
Mochari opened the article talking about the “edifice complex,” a spin on the Oedipus complex when sons fall in love with their mothers.  The edifice complex is where a person falls in love with a building, or at least, the desire to the design one.
Mochari talks about how Jim Koch’s, founder of Boston Beer Co., love for his business enabled him to pursue building a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility despite providing minimal value, instead, adding substantial costs in capital and operating costs.  (He later realized his folly and moved to build a smaller facility, but only after heavy investment in time and capital.)
Lessons and Take-Aways
The conclusion of the article was a little more “generic”, and could serve entrepreneurs/ readers with a more cautionary tale in touching on Koch’s dilemma.  That is, there are many perils when it comes to loving our creations as entrepreneurs including some thoughts below:

Failure to see the real opportunities.  I’ve long described entrepreneurial endeavors analogous to raising a kid (for better or worse).  As such, we sometimes believe our creations are perfect as they are, and no, he never bit Little Billy despite jaw impressions to the contrary.
When you’ve spent hours and weeks and months and years on your product, you may be blinded to see that there is something eerily wrong underneath the covers.  As such, it’s important that even though you may test features for success/ failure, getting feedback early and often from your customers and prospects lends critical perspective to ensure your product hits the spot.

Blinded to the failures.  Somewhere in your journey of the startup roller coaster, you may stumble and fall.  Periodically, the team should evaluate the direction of the company, and whether or not the current path will lead to the Land where you want to be.  However, sometimes love of your startup may blind you thinking your startup will succeed, when in fact, it won’t.  Either a pivot is needed, or shutting down is the more appropriate direction so you can move onto another project.  Of course, this can be tricky and takes real consideration whether or not you may just be in the “trough”.

Stagnation for improvement.  This can be confused with the above, but I want this to be clear: what I mean here is the debt (not financial, but technical or otherwise) of the startup.  If you’ve been working on a project for years (oftentimes, not that long), you may believe your product is so perfect that it can’t actually be improved anymore. Or maybe that it’s in a great place where it doesn’t need to be improved.
We, as a people, should strive to learn to better ourselves and the people around us.  We’ve always got room to improve.  As such, our creations oftentimes have room for improvement as well.
I like the notion of the idea of Six Sigma – the notion of process improvement to reduce variability.  With Six Sigma, you’re constantly looking to improve.  When you reduce variation to some level, then you crank the screws tighter and the cycle for improvement continues.

Over-valuing your startup.  Tune into ABC on Friday evenings, and you can catch a glimpse of over-valuation galore on Shark Tank.  You’ll see Mr. Wonderful, Mark Cuban, and the other sharks pointing out hideously high valuations of entrepreneurs; thus, putting in a massive hurdle where the entrepreneurs never get investment.
I like capitalism and the notion of free markets where the market pays what the market bears.  I haven’t had quite the opportunity to really sell a company (yet), but the idea here is that entrepreneurs’ biased views and love for their startups sometimes fail to recognize the notion that what they believe the worth of their company is can be very different from what it’s worth to the free market.  This may lead to a failure to do a deal in a complete liquidity event or investment to get the business blasting off the ground.
Wrapping It Up!
Hey, passion for our startups is important in entrepreneurship.  It can be a great ingredient in how we continue to pursue our dreams.  Passion and love gives us that genuine spirit that enables us to invigorate and motivate prospects into investing in us or buying our products.  However, love for our products should be tempered with realism.
Have you seen the movie Her?  What are your thoughts on our growing dependence on technology?  What are some other ramifications of falling for our startups as entrepreneurs?

I love reading what people think makes an entrepreneur successful.  Mostly because it reminds me everyday that there is no secret formula.  Every article is written to the writer’s perspective, and it really is so different from person to person.  Take the latest article I read: The Single Most Important Habit of Successful Entrepreneurs.  The author, Mr. Dan Kennedy of Entrepreneur, argues that punctuality is [his] criteria.

Kennedy writes about the relationship between respecting another person’s time with the respect of the other’s opinions.  It’s a relay and reciprocation of respect of the other’s time with the respect of his/ her own time.

If anything, I would say that being detail-oriented would be my gauge of success.  Aside from potentially the mental aspect of being “gritty”, I have to say that being detail-oriented is my biggest criteria.  I admit — being detailed is kind of a big bucket.  It includes things like being detailed enough to check your work, knowing the background of a company or person you’re interviewing with, having that little extra “oomph” in your dress on a date, or even, yes, being on time because you prepared to take into account traffic.

Being detail-oriented separates the goods from the Greats.  Most people can do well on tasks they’re given, but think about someone who’s impressed you.  Was it the person who just got it done, or the person who got it done and went above and beyond to make it QUALITY?  It’s well known the little details the late Steve Jobs would require from Apple.  Then there’s Alabama’s Nick Saban and his pursuit of perfection from the start whistle to the end (the game against Auburn not withstanding).

I’ve noticed this actually in a lot of different quirks that executives watch for including some of the below:

  • My father is the Principal at his electrical and mechanical engineering firm.  I remember when I was younger that he taught me to “complete my circles” when I wrote an “8” or an “O”.  He argued that it was the detail of “closing the loop” that was something he looked for since he deals with sometimes 10’s of pages of size E drawings (34″x44″) with little AutoCAD scribbles needing to be reviewed with a fine-tooth comb.
  • An AVP at a major mobile wireless company scrutinized people’s dress.  Was it sloppy?  Did it look like the prospective partner walked in with a shirt straight off the floor?  What did he drive?  The AVP argued that a person’s dress, the car, etc. it all made some statement about how well he did his work believing that personal life affected work style in addition to the confidence transpired from some material objects.
  • A strength coach once made the remark about his interns who were tasked to wash his shaker bottles.  He said that every shaker bottle had to be washed a certain way believing that if an intern couldn’t even do something as “remedial” as washing a bottle, how could he trust the intern to coach an athlete that could be worth several million dollars?  The money thrust into sports can be so significant that every detail of a strength program had to be carefully put together as to not injure or fatigue the player for game day.
  • One from my earlier life as a consultant, I learned the importance in making quality, consistent deliverables.  My previous boss and one of my clients really demonstrated the importance of consistency.  Our deliverables went beyond just me, but they represented my team as well and even my whole company.  Clients notice the little things including when you’re traversing a presentation and font jumps up and down, left and right… It’s distracting and takes away from the message you’re trying to convey.  Also, if you fail to do a spell check, if this happens from the onset, good luck keeping credibility for the rest of the meeting.
Any particular quirks or levels of detail you watch for in people?  What have you noticed that has stood out to make people more/ less successful?