Every year we see the launch of the next generation of successful startups. My experience has been that each succeeds for its own reasons. As much as popular media and experts relish in generalizations, I urge founders to take responsibility for their own trajectories. It's often a constellation of things that contributes to success. And there is no single point of success. Success is a succession of progress points, each contributing to the whole, each necessary to each next point. There is no "If you only ..." Or the "number one thing."
There is also the reality of the imperfect. I continue to see startups do well with imperfect teams, founders, funding and offerings. Startups don't fail because they have imperfect conditions. They usually fail for the perfect storm of reasons.
Capacity for improvisation turns out to be a more significant factor in startup success than working overtime to emulate formulaic recipes.