As a student Julian Kabab wasn't inspired by fortune or success--the things that thrilled him most were game-changing visions (and going out with his pals to big parties). During his last year in college, every student was required to finalize their degree with an internship in a global firm. That was about the very last thing on the list of things Julian wanted to do, and he asked if he could build his own company to gain experience in his own way and to express his vision. His teachers said no, so Julian dropped school, punted his internship, and built his own company--Flashgap.
Below is a list of the five most important things Julian Kabab learned as he grew (and continues to grow) his business.
1. When you make mistakes, learn from them
School teaches you how to avoid mistakes, how to counter errors, how to punish those who make them. But, ironically, real-life, successful businesses are made by those who have made a lot of them. A lot. Says Julian, "The most relevant example I can give is what my colleagues and I did just after raising our 1.5M euros in France. Like many startups, we had a great deal of money and, therefore, felt invincible and empowered by what we had accomplished. Unsurprisingly, we decided to spend a fair amount of our money in user acquisitions without measuring the ROI. This was a complete failure. Afterwards, every one of our investors told us, 'We knew it was a mistake, but didn't want to say no to your idea because, in the future, you would have been convinced that these actions were the best solution, and all of your future failures would have been because this hadn't been done.' Which would have been very true."
2. Hire people who are better, smarter, and faster than you
School teaches you every recruitment process there is to know, but they forget the most important part--hire people who are better, smarter and faster than you are. If you hire people who are less effective, you will end up doing their work for them. At the end of the day, the CEO and founders of a start-up should be less qualified and less effective than every other person in the company. Forget your ego--this isn't a contest--and don't believe that people who are smarter than you won't respect you or support your decisions. On the opposite side, employees know that if you are in your position within the company, you've worked hard to get there. Hard work and the desire to better yourself in the workplace is the easiest way to gain respect within a company.
3. Keep on studying, learning, evolving
Most universities have these great celebrations for graduation where they tell you, "Now you're a man. Get out there and fight for your life, you have all the tools you need." Realistically, that's probably the worst advice they can ever give you. Says Julian, "Most of the people I know from university have stopped studying or improving themselves with everyday knowledge. As someone who is constantly trying to better their knowledge, I am always a step ahead." In the world of startups, things evolve so fast, and what you learned three years ago may have completely changed and become antiquated. If you aren't constantly studying, learning and evolving, how can you make a knowledgeable choice for your company?
4. Balance is key
Your personal life is your best friend and your worst enemy. Says Julian, "I have lost friends, girlfriends, and old colleagues throughout the course of a single year. I haven't yet learned how to balance my life. It actually affects my business life as well--it fills me with regret some days." The day your business isn't doing that well, you're going to burn out. You need to find the proper balance between your business life and your personal life. If one aspect is more prominent in your life than the other, neither will work to their full potential.
5. Stop believing in perfection, it doesn't exist. Believe in constant improvement.
Perfection is a theory, an illusion that is hard to break in a human mind. An idea on paper is perfect, but when it's built, with code, design and proper user experience, it will never be perfect. Stop trying to make it faultless and flawless before launching, as you will stay stuck and never be able to successfully launch. Your product will always have issues, mistakes and errors, but never let that hold you back--you will always have time to improve. Users will be the ones showing you the way to build a better product.