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The following short story is from:

Love, Work & Shopify: One hustler’s short stories available on Amazon

Starting a business is like starting a romantic relationship—a love–hate one.

In his famous triangular theory of love, psychologist Robert Sternberg identifies the three key ingredients that make things happen.

  • -Passion
  • -Intimacy
  • -Commitment

His theory explains how these three elements should be present to experience a consummate love.

Starting a business follows the same logic. At its root, there is an entrepreneur: you. And you need the same three ingredients to thrive.

  • -Passion: To have a strong feeling of enthusiasm.
  • -Intimacy: To feel close and attached to it.
  • -Commitment: To stick to it, to work hard and be loyal.

An entrepreneur’s power depends on the absolute strength of these three components, and the success of a cofounding team, exactly like that of a couple in love, depends on their strengths relative to each other.

My partners and I have very different and complementary skill sets, but this is not what made our startup successful. What made it happen is that we’ve shared such a high level of passion for building amazingly simple e-commerce experiences. We’ve enjoyed intimacy in a spa in Bucharest, sipping wine while talking about building our next app. And we’ve remained committed to working, beginning at 5 a.m. even if we’re jet-lagged. Even though we’re 10,000 miles apart, we’ve continued working together like we’re in the same living room and sharing some coffee with Quebec’s finest maple syrup.

Another example comes from the love of my life, Danielle. Admiration is the fuel for falling for someone, and I admire her so much for the level of passion, intimacy, and commitment she puts into running the two pharmacies she owns. This is true even though she used to work over eighty hours a week and only had time for me between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Sundays. Later, I realized her intensity toward work was nothing compared to her affection for cats, but let’s move on…

For the sake of simplicity, I will summarize starting a business and a love relationship into one word that encapsulates the essence of our story: a startup.

Now let’s have a look at Sternberg’s types of love, remixed into Tabarnapp’s types of entrepreneurs.

  • -Wannabe: He’s close to his startup but lacks passion and commitment (except maybe the passion for getting rich and commitment to procrastination).

  • -Crush: He has a crush for an idea and feels passionate about it but has no intimacy with or commitment to it. Over time, he vanishes without leaving an impression.

  • -Empty: He’s committed without any intimacy or passion. He’s like a person trapped in an arranged marriage.

  • -One-nighter: Oh boy, he has some passion and intimacy, but he ain’t got any commitment! He believes in overnight success, but ironically, he’s always gone when the sun rises.

  • -Businessman: He’s an intimate, non-passionate type of entrepreneur with a long-term commitment. He manages business on a day-to-day level. His business is like a member of his family or a close friend.

  • -Lover at First Sight: He’s passionate and committed, yet lacks intimacy. He’s stupid enough to fall intensely and quickly for every idea without getting attached or taking the time to get close to it.

  • -Real: He’s the complete form of an entrepreneur. He differentiates himself through his ability to achieve and especially maintain an incomparable level of passion, intimacy, and commitment. Above all, the reason he’s real is that he translates passion, intimacy and commitment into action. Here’s a warning though: He may not be permanent. If passion is lost over time, he becomes a simple businessman.

So, what type of entrepreneur are you?

For more short stories, get Love, Work & Shopify: One hustler’s short stories on Amazon.

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