Virgil once proclaimed, ” Lucky is he who has been able to understand the cause of things.”

Said another way, ” Lucky is he who knows WHY”.



Successful start-up pundits claim to get better at predicting the winners by adopting a portfolio strategy. Their pattern recognition certainly gets better with experience, but let’s be equally frank, even the very best early-stage players still can fail up to 19 out 20 times (granted – respectfully- we’re talking really early stage).


Because “Correlation (pattern recognition) falls way short of causation”. Causation is a different category of (scientific) thinking, with a different starting point, different journey and vastly different outcome.
What’s the difference! The rooster’s crow is highly correlated with the sunrise; yet it does not cause the sunrise”, says Judea Pearl in his award winning THE BOOK OF WHY.
Pearl goes on say to say that data is dumb – it can often explain WHAT happened, but not WHY. Data does not understand Cause and Effects (THE WHY), people do, he says.
So here’s what we’re highlighting…if one is able to transition from the correlation (pattern recognition) world to the causation (scientific cause-and-effect) world, your odds of knowing WHY something is caused, improve by a magnitude.
Here’s HOW?


If one acquires and commands the few fundamentals that govern this early-stage space (through science), then one is able to CAUSE or CREATE successes. In other words, know WHY a venture is likely to succeed (or fail) well before momentum and/or consensus kicks in.
The fundamentals have been discovered,  the science now codified, and for the very first time, 2 key questions can now be answered rationally ….IF and WHEN……IF success is actually a potential outcome (before there is traction),  and WHEN will it succeed.
Virgil again, ” Lucky is he who has been able to understand the cause of things.”
WHY is your startup going to be successful?
Two related articles for further context:

When people are told to not think of an elephant, they can’t get the image out of their minds.

When President Nixon said he was “not a crook” what emerged was a reaffirmation that he was a crook.

So, it is necessary to be disciplined to consistently use the language of YOUR frame and never accept the alternative (THEIR frame).

Know that facts don’t really matter.

“It is a myth that people are rational and that some well-presented facts will change their frame-anchored view.”


“Successfully creating a new category or subcategory involves — in addition to finding a concept and introducing it into the marketplace — the active management of customers’:

  • perceptions,
  • attitudes and
  • behaviours toward it.”


Remember.. first, we are building a market, then a business.



  1. Win the (sub)category battle  Provide unique customer MUST-HAVE(s)

      2. Win the brand relevance battle  Only we can deliver the MUST-HAVE(s)

      3. Win the competitor battle  No significant competitor, by default.