Building a startup is creating a cult

Building a startup is creating a cult

Building a startup is creating a cult.jpeg

Making a great product is incredibly hard. Even if you do manage to do it, you’ll need to convince a lot of people to care about it.

Call it whatever you like. Evangelism. A cult. A religion. A startup.

Same sh*t, different words.

After building a number of successful (and not so successful) companies, and helping hundreds of other entrepreneurs through Pitchblak, there is no doubt in my mind that the companies that last the test of time do so by creating their own religion.

I’m not talking about a ‘cult following’ from your customers. That’s only one part of it. Your cult includes your:

a) team
b) customers
c) investors
d) business partners
e) family

Before entering the startup world, I never realised that every single day I’d be telling the same damn story about myself and the company, over and over again.

Startup CEOs spend their whole day (every day) convincing other people to see the world like they do.

Sounds exhausting right?

It is, especially for an introvert like me.


Vision & Mission. More vision… a bit more mission.

F**k it, let’s sprinkle a lil’ more vision on it for good luck! 🚀

One of the most popular videos amongst entrepreneurs is Simon Sinek’s Start With Why.

Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs who have seen this video don’t practice what it teaches. Your elevator pitch is NOT your product’s ‘amazing’ features.

Tell people why you started this thing.

Most CEOs do an average job of evangelising because they’re scared if they oversell what they’re currently doing, everyone will think they are ‘flakey’ when they change direction.

It’s a valid point. If you’re too busy selling the ‘what’, your team and investors will likely think you’re all over the place.

So avoid talking about the what!

Startups change direction constantly. The only stable thing is your ‘why’. Sell it well, and people won’t question you when your ‘what’ changes.


Write down your story, and practice it!

Seeing you’ll be saying the same story all day, every day, don’t ‘wing it’ each time.

If you change what you say 1% per day, over 100 days, you’ve completely changed your story (often without realising).

Write your startup’s story down on paper, then practice the hell out it! I took three years too long to do this, and it cost me a fortune.

A good story starts at the start (seems obvious, but trust me, I’m writing it because, apparently, it’s not).

Be natural, emotional, vulnerable, inspiring, and a little crazy. All at the same time.

Hard right?

Exactly. That’s why you need to write it down and practice it a bunch of times.

Another cheeky tip…

Record your story on your phone and listen back to it. Cringeworthy at first yes, but from iteration #34 onwards it starts to sound pretty damn good. 😉


You can’t kill a cult.

There are over 4200 different religions in the world. With all these religions, you’d think Christianity would have been ‘disrupted’.


It’s virtually impossible (anytime in the near future) to destroy Christianity. Similarly, it’s next to impossible to kill Apple or Facebook.

So please, don’t start a startup.

Start a cult.