The ‘scrappy 0-1’ working mindset in the startup and scaleup space
According to Peter Thiel – the co-founder of both PayPal and Palantir and early investor in Facebook, SpaceX and LinkedIn – ‘the single word for vertical, 0 to 1 progress is technology’, requiring doing things that nobody else has ever done. Which is why such a mindset can not necessarily be taught – after all, how can you teach something that has never been done before?
Zero to one, is far more than simply improving on the existing. It is creating a ‘new’ product, service or offering, from scratch.
The development of a 0-1 mindset therefore acts as a framework for you to use throughout the startup and scaleup phases of your business. Lots of work must be done, risks must be taken and ultimately the first year is a rollercoaster of unknowns.
What is the 0-1 mindset?
Unlike what we’re sometimes told at school, the 0-1 mindset is not learnt through a university degree, nor is it something that we are born with. The scrappiness of such a mindset comes from rolling with the punches, practically (and creatively) dealing with all the unknown that accompanies the first year of a startup. But innovation and scaling are not optional – startups that get complacent in either are likely to struggle.
Without the safety net of a large infrastructure behind them, those in startups develop mindsets that are more creative and resourceful, adapting to changes and bringing forth a determination to solve problems. This 0-1 mindset is all about facilitating new ways of thinking, to forge ahead and accelerate the pace of learning which will in turn, keep the startup alive, and the scaleup growing.
What does the 0-1 or scrappy mindset look like in practice?
There is no one size fits all answer, since this mindset is flexible and nimble and thinks outside the box. It generally looks like keeping the team small and demonstrating successes quickly. It is a problem-oriented, solution-seeking approach that is driven by a relentless need to get to the bigger goal.
A 0-1 or ‘scrappy’ mindset is trading in the formal formulas for success, instead growing personal responsibility and learning through experimentation.
The skill set of a scrappy employee is one who has experimented in the first year of a company, participating in a whole range of activities, seemingly random, to create and generate resources and opportunities to power the start up through their first steps.
Why is the scrappy 0-1 mindset important?
The speed of learning and highlighting progress made is crucial to the development of companies in their first year as a startup. Innovation is not by any means a goal or outcome, rather it is the unexplained and unexpected spin-off from experimentation and risk taking.
A scrappy 0-1 mindset therefore is the driver of change and radical new ways of disrupting markets and the execution of such a mindset has the ability to transform the world in a striking new way.
Finding the 0-1 mindset
Early stage experience in the first year of a startup develops a powerful resilient mindset, forcing employees to dig deep for creativity and new ways of doing things. If you’re looking for the best talent, for those who have experience of the 0-1 stage of growth and who have had the appropriate development of skills and attitudes, get in touch. Such a mindset is crucial for the realms of such disruptive and game-changing innovation for startup success.