Very relevant essay from Paul Graham adapted from one of his talk at the start-up school. The section on commitment is a must-read.
1. Release Early.
2. Keep Pumping Out Features.
3. Make Users Happy.
4. Fear the Right Things.
5. Commitment Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
I now have enough experience with startups to be able to say what the most important quality is in a startup founder, and it's not what you might think. The most important quality in a startup founder is determination. Not intelligence-- determination….
…You can lose quite a lot in the brains department and it won't kill you. But lose even
bit in the commitment department, and that will kill you very rapidly.
…But if you lack commitment, chances are it will have been hurting you long before you actually quit. Everyone who deals with startups knows how important commitment is, so if they sense you're ambivalent, they won't give you much attention. If you lack commitment, you'll just find that for some mysterious reason good things happen to your competitors but not to you. If you lack commitment, it will seem to you that you're unlucky.
….Whereas if you're determined to stick around, people will pay attention to you, because odds are they'll have to deal with you later. You're a local, not just a tourist, so everyone has to come to terms with you.
….You can't fake this. The only way to convince everyone that you're ready to fight to the death is actually to be ready to.
….You have to be the right kind of determined, though. I carefully chose the word determined rather than stubborn, because stubbornness is a disastrous quality in a startup. You have to be determined, but flexible, like a running back. A successful running back doesn't just put his head down and try to run through people. He improvises: if someone appears in front of him, he runs around them; if someone tries to grab him, he spins out of their grip; he'll even run in the wrong direction briefly if that will help. The one thing he'll never do is stand still.
6. There Is Always Room.
7. Don't Get Your Hopes Up.
8. Speed, not Money