Hipster, Hacker & Hustler – Cheat Sheet for Startup Success


In March 2012, at SXSW, Rei Inamoto, then the chief creative officer for AKQA, shared a nugget of wisdom that has stayed with me since then: “To run an efficient team, you only need three people: a Hipster, a Hacker, and a Hustler.” 

This was perhaps the best summation of what startups need to make loads of money or what they lack when they fail. As you start building out companies you must pay attention to H3 mentality.

Fundamentally what you require is a pop-culture nerd that’s obsessed with content and creating bucket loads of it, a tech maestro that can make sure your project works across all platforms with no glitches, and a salesman who is out schmoozing clients and bringing in the greenbacks. Everyone is replaceable at any company, but my experience has been that the Hustler is the least replaceable. Any founder worth their salt has to be a hustler.

To form the H3 Collective, There is a fairly decent laundry list of things you should be watching out for, or doing.

  • Say Yes to every thing. The Golden rule is, if it makes $s it makes sense. So if some one brings a crazy idea, don’t poke holes, try to figure out the positive side of every thing before you start shooting down stuff. You are literally a no body to make a call this early on. Give every thing a listen, see if it makes $s, if it does, the details you can figure out.
  • Don’t let your best friends, wife’s first cousins uncle who is a book keeper manage your money. Money is best managed by the Greenspans of the worlds. The Goldmans and Leehmans. You get the gist, if you don’t. You need to quit while you are ahead.
  • Suck it up and don’t complain. If you are doing 9-5 and check out and don’t answer you phones whilst in startup mode past business hours, you need to reevaluate your life. If a Client/Peer/Advisor/Mentor/Partner is in town and feels like grabbing a bite to eat or smoke a cigar, put your shoes back on, kiss your wife goodnight, and get the F*** out there.
  • Email ping pong doesn’t cut it. The millennial syndrome of work shifting is s%#t. The ball is not in some one else’s court if you have emailed them. Pick up the damn phone, stalk them if you need to, and get the answer you need to move on.
  • Don’t bring you F%$#ing phone to a meeting and no don’t even think about bringing an Ipad its like a man purse. Bring your decency and your undivided attention. Gadgets are a distraction and they say to everyone else there, “I’m not really here.” If you have to take notes at a meeting, bring a notepad it is cheaper than tablets and you need the money for other stuff any way.

The God Father. Remember where Marlon Brando says, “a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man”? The point is that you can’t deliver at work when your home life is cyclonic, so don’t cheat(refer to being a decent human being above) and make sure your spouse feels appreciated. Only a happy life can generate income. You cant hustle if you have no more hustle left.

In the end, the only way to feel satisfied is by doing sh** that feels risky makes you feel uncomfortable and is out of character. A startup is basically all that . When you try to make some thing out of nothing and it works, it’s the best feeling out there. If you can survive being crapped on by friends, family , investors and the rest, loose money and still come out on top. That is what makes you an entrepreneur if it was easy your khalas larka would also being doing it, but no he decided against that and became a Dr. instead.


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