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Amirhosein Shirani

Culture of Existence

Entrepreneurship, Business3 min read

The Abstraction

Data and the process of its collection marked a new epoch in human life. Many talk about data-driven strategies and try to leverage data in their daily decisions. In this case, people may miss the importance of the processes that we could not measure. When we start breaking down abstractions like the succeeding of a company to concrete details like KPIs, OKRs, or any other form of measurement, we will miss some valuable information. There is faulty reasoning named Nirvana Fallacy[1] which many businesses may fall into as they try to specify the situation. When we talk about the culture, you couldn’t segregate good ones from bad ones. But it’s not correct with tangibles. Think about sales; you could measure progress by how much you sell to customers or measure your customer lifetime value because it’s a concrete concept. And unfortunately, abstractions like culture are more critical than concretes like selling because the first is the premise and the second is the conclusion.

But what is culture and how it'll be developed?


A startup messed up at its foundation cannot be fixed. There is a common assumption that any investors or founders have about startups. The notion is about the rate of success of startups. They think only 10 percent of startups would succeed. And based on this assumption, many take action and risk their assets, hope for an invaluable result. Albeit it is true, but this might not be helpful. We should deep down to the statement and detect the reason for this conclusion. Otherwise, we may come up with the wrong kind of reasons. There is only one person out of ten who would be a successful founder. And owing to this fact that startups do not mean by one person, you make a bet on teams. And that’s why foundation matters.

A lot of would-be founders overlook this fact. My first company was doomed to fail from the beginning because I underestimated the importance of foundations. Beginnings are special. When you look at societies, they could be categorized by their states into four: Anarchy, Democracy, Dictatorship, and Theocracy. The foundation is such significant that it would help to survive society in its critical moments. And if you scrutinize the successful societies, you may find that they start as a dictatorship and then float to democracy. So there is no perfect country that began with anarchy because a foundation should have its values, and the anarchy wouldn’t allow the establishment of a great foundation. For example, George Washington believed the “One man, One vote” and realized his dream by acting to his value. When you believe in something, you should give your soul for this. And for this regard, you need a great foundation with intellect-motivated people who could run the world. But first, you should define your values.

Rules vs Core Values

There is a quote by Gandhi said:

Your beliefs become your thoughts,

Your thoughts become your words,

Your words become your actions,

Your actions become your habits,

Your habits become your values,

And your values become your destiny

So what you found is derived from what you believe. If you don’t contemplate your beliefs, you’d be going to downfall. The existence of your company has been established by your core values. So as a founder, you should care about them and ask yourself “what is my core value”. For finding them you should think of the question “what do I believe in”. Culture does not exist apart from the company itself. Culture is the mindset of the company.

There was a tech startup that failed in mid-2019. They tried to provide the best fashion clothes using artificial intelligence. They failed because they didn’t care about fashion or their clothes in real life. They wore underclothing and came to work in the accelerator. Surprisingly they expected to become successful, and they thought they failed because of the lack of engineers! This story might be humorous but the point is that the company does not exist apart from its people. If you don’t believe in your values, don’t try to convince the world to follow you.

The Destiny

Destiny is for what you are living. It’s hard to say you could detect what you are born to be. There are a few people who could say what their destinies are (If it’d true). But thinking about destiny is not out of favor. And in this regard, we should try to define what is our beliefs.

A Framework for Creation

We each exist for but a short time. Companies may exist more, but we could not estimate how long they survive. But the fact that humans love to create will always exist till the end of human’s extinction. We create paintings, music, spaces, to name but a few. Maybe, as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated, it’s our solution for mortality. But whatever it is, it’s part of our humanities. When we create something, we imbue what we make with a soul. When you found a company, you create something abstract. Culture is your framework for creating your values. It derives from what your key people believe, how they act, and what their habits are.

And what you believe introduces what your destiny is.

[1]: For more information, read here

Thanks to Niloofar Ghasemzadeh for reading drafts of this.
© 2024 by Amirhosein Shirani. All rights reserved.