How startups can avoid being blinded by their ideas

November 22, 2010: 10:40 AM ET

When it comes to launching a successful startup, drinking your own Kool-Aid can be the enemy of sound decisions. Here are three signs that you might be doing it.

By Anthony Lee, contributor

In my twenty years of working in and with startups, I've continually tried to figure out what makes some work and others not. There are myriad factors of brilliance, determination, luck and timing that go into the success equation.

One of the most important and overlooked characteristics of successful entrepreneurs is objectivity: The ability to see and deal with reality in making decisions.

By their nature, startups are driven by passion, optimism, persistence, hope and dreams. All these traits are essential to fueling the process of inventing a product and innovating a business model. The beautiful thing about startups is that they are emotional and intellectual creations brought to life through shared vision and hard work.

Company founders and CEOs get employees, customers and investors to take innumerable leaps of faith on the way to fulfilling their entrepreneurial visions. Mixing the Kool-Aid is an essential part of building a company (see also: eating your own dogfood). But drinking your own Kool-Aid is the enemy of sound decisions.

Here are three signs that you might be doing it:

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