Livingston: What advice would you give to someone who had never started a startup but was thinking about it?
Gruner: I went to an executive conference several years ago in New York. One of the most interesting sessions had about six chief executives, all of whom were very successful, and the moderator asked, “If you could describe in one word the key to success for your company, what would that word be?” Very few answered in one word. Some of them said integrity, or communications, and things like that. The last person to talk was Michael Dell, and he said one simple word: persistence.
I can relate to that. Things never work out right the first time. You’ve always got to do it two or three times to get it right. And things always go wrong. So persistence is the key to success.
I had seen that in my career. I had seen that in computer design projects. I had seen that through my whole life. And so that world is the best single advice I can give to entrepreneurs. The key to success, if you had to sum it up in one word, is persistence.
From Founders at Work: Page 445