In our experience, the prediction of success for any idea is very difficult. And in that knowledge vacuum, people sometimes unconsciously use place holders to describe why they like an idea or proto-company. Statements such as “they have a great idea.” or “the founder is really smart,” or “they’re backed by such-and-such VC or Angel” help us try to see a pattern. What often gets overlooked are the intangible ingredients such as grit and determination. Smart companies learn from mistakes, pivot creatively, and continually build understanding and institutional knowledge.
Companies we’ve been working with are gaining traction by tackling the problem of quantifying and enhancing intangible success factors. Both WholeStory (http://tellyourwholestory.com/) and CirkledIn (https://www.cirkledin.com/ know that providing a deeper, fuller picture of someone means including those difficult to capture intangibles rather than a standard resume or an application letter.
This article, which I encourage you to read, goes to the heart of what it means to be smart and rise to the inevitable challenges.