April 11, 2019

What is the most overlooked skill a founder should have?

James McManamey @jamesfmac

We've all heard the usual ones - coding, design, sales.

I'm interested if there are other overlooked skills that have given you the edge in launching a product? What is your hidden superpower (or what do you wish it was)?


  1. 10

    "the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties"
    Chances are stacked against us and we are going to hear no many time.
    roll with punches and keep fighting

    1. 2

      The startup emotional rollercoaster is real!

  2. 8

    Personally, I think that being great at copywriting is overlooked.

    Great copy can make early marketing work, help users navigate the early versions of your product and build a personality for the product.

  3. 5

    Willpower. But it applies to everything. You can have the best personality... but if you don't have the willpower to do your job, then you can also quit directly.

  4. 4


    Personally I'm great at starting things but sticking trough the tough times when things don't play out as planed - this is were you really see if you are working on something you believe in or if you maybe need a partner to help you trough.

  5. 3

    Management, or the ability to juggle many balls in the air.

    When you can do this well you:

    1. Respond well & make good decisions when there is heavy adversity.
    2. Don't take out your stress on your team & don't "burn down the whole village" when something goes wrong.
    3. Can build a team when it makes sense.
    4. Can cut out unnecessary resources when needed (employees, software, features, etc).
    5. Don't just focus on one aspect of the business & backfill into your weaknesses in order to make all aspects of your business stronger.
    6. The list goes on.
  6. 3

    Empathy. Soft skills are far-too-often overlooked, and for those in a leadership position, being relatable is one of the best ways to rally your team around a common goal.

    1. 2

      I was going to say empathy too. It's essential in a modern leadership role, imho.

    2. 1

      Great point. Empathy also helps you really understand your customers and their challenges.

  7. 2

    I think it's the ability to persevere. Startups require a lot of technical abilities, but the emotional ride is very tough to cope with. You can go from elated to soul crushing disappointment in 24 hours. It's really easy to just give up.

    1. 1

      Very very true.

  8. 2

    The know-how of How to participate and moderate a debate without turning it in to an argument

  9. 1

    Customer service. If you're bootstrapping, you're going to be doing a lot of hands on customer support. It's a great way to learn, but you'll need a thick skin and the ability to speak your customers' language

  10. 1

    Self awareness

  11. 1

    Marketing from a data-science perspective.