Ever since you start your life as a startup founder, everyone around you would be telling you “you need to focus” or “you need to be focused”. As if this is not enough, they often add descriptors such as “razor sharp” to show how focused you are.
We all agree that focus, i.e. letting go the distractions and detractions, will make you go faster and potentially farther.
However, that is based on the important assumption that you are on the right track, with the right strategy and team. All you need is focused execution to make things happen.
For many startups, at least the AI startups I have seen or even my own experience, focusing too early can be dangerous. Because, in many cases, you do not know whether you are on the right direction.
So instead of focusing to push things through, we often end up trying a few directions, before settling on one which actually works. That’s not even pivoting – hedging bets is probably a better description.
This is different from some sectors, where paths are clearly laid out – you just need to make you execute really well.
In our case, what makes more sense is not ‘razor sharp focus’, but ‘controlled chaos’.
For the founder, this means one type of focus – focus on making decisions, on what to do, and what not to do.
Sometimes, this matters more than doing it well.