Anyone who watches Game of Thrones knows how cut-throat the battle for the Iron Throne is. There's vicious betrayal, brilliant strategy, glorious conquers, and crushing defeat.
And while the gruesome murders can be a bit over the top, you can make some real parallels to the world of entrepreneurship. After all, startup competition can be ruthless.
If one GoT character could be a successful entrepreneur, I'd place all my bets on Daenerys Targaryen.
Strong, ambitious, and strategic, if Dany were a startup CEO, she'd win funding from all seven VC Kingdoms -- Sequoia; Andreesson Horowitz; GV (formerly Google Ventures); Accel Partners; Kleiner Perkins; CRV; and Bessemer.
So, what makes her such great entrepreneur material? A lot.
1. She has a clear vision.
Beyond power, Daenerys has a clear vision for the future and what the world will look like under her reign. When she sits upon the Iron Throne, all people will be treated fairly. She believes in her own ability to succeed. And she'll stop at nothing to achieve her goal.
This conviction for success guides her in all her decisions. As an entrepreneur, she would do anything to make her startup's vision a success. New city, new team, new product -- nothing would be too difficult for Dany to conquer.
2. She built a strong and loyal team.
To help her accomplish her goal, Daenerys traveled all over the world to build the right team. She chose each member with care. And she she gives them respect, freedom, and honor.
From her devoted advisors, Jorah Mormant and Daario Naharis, to her trusted friend and translator, Missandei, the highly-skilled Unsullied warriors, her dragons, the Second Sons, and the Dothraki horde, her team is unstoppable. Inspired by her leadership, her team remains fiercely loyal.
This sort of team could conquer any startup challenge. With strategic thinking, street smarts, and strength, they'd be increasing revenue each month on a huge scale.
3. She's resilient in the face of difficulty.
Like all entrepreneurs, Daenerys gets knocked down. But instead of giving up, she finds new ways to achieve her goals.
For example, when she flies Drogon out of Meereen, is captured by the Dothraki, and is brought back to Vaes Dothrak to live in the Dosh Khaleen. She almost lost her freedom. But she doesn't give up. Instead, she planned a strategic and creative way to defeat the Dothraki leadership, take over their community, and return to Meereen -- all while doubling her army's size.
Successful entrepreneurs are defined by the ability to bounce back from failure. Daenerys has this down pat.
4. She pivots when she needs to.
Because of her resilient nature, Daenerys knows when she needs to pivot her strategy. There are tons of examples of this throughout the series. But a great one is when she's first introduced to the Dothraki and marries Khal Drogo.
At the time, she's just a teenager, and she's afraid of this rough, "uncivilized" society. But instead of being unhappy, she pivots her strategy for married life.
She learns their language and culture. And she finds a way to connect with her new husband. Her strategy for navigating the Dothraki world sets her up for success later in life. Her pivoting ability led her to one of the most important entrepreneurship qualities of all -- a competitive advantage.
5. She has a "killer" competitive advantage.
Every business needs a competitive advantage. Without one, you'll go extinct.
Daenerys' competitive advantage? Dragons.
They've won battles, defeated enemies, and protected against competitor threats. Across Westeros, Dany is taken seriously because of her dragons.
As an entrepreneur, this competitive advantage would make Daenerys unstoppable.
All in all, we can learn a lot from Daenerys. She'd make a pretty kick-butt startup advisor, don't you think?