Founders, Remove This 4 Letter Word From Your Vocabulary

Minimizing your accomplishments is a morale killer

First-Time Founder
3 min readNov 18, 2020


When I first started my startup, I often used the word just when talking about what we’d accomplished.

We just had five customers.

We just raised a pre-seed round.

It‘s just me and the CTO.

When I meet other founders, I often hear them using the “j word” too.

This is problematic because we’re constantly sub-consciously diminishing our accomplishments by using the word just. Over time, we start to believe that we haven’t accomplished much and get discouraged. Especially when you’re early on, and morale is so important, getting discouraged can kill your startup much faster than running out of money. New businesses do not start from thin air. They must start somewhere.

Airbnb was just some guys with air mattresses in their apartment.

Source: The Hustle

DoorDash was just a crappy landing page and flyers thrown up around Stanford’s campus.

Source: First 1000

Uber (formerly UberCab) was also just a basic landing page that violates almost every web design principle.

Where does “just” come from?

To get your first customer, you worked your ass off. You hustled, you got through rejections, you iterated your product, you went through countless changes. When you landed that first customer. You were proud.

And then, you told someone about it.

Whether it was a friend or potential investor, and they probably said something like.

Congrats! But, it’s just one customer…



First-Time Founder

Helping first-time founders learn from my mistakes so they can operate like serial entrepreneurs. 👉 Subscribe to receive new posts: