St(art)up Success, as told by History’s Greatest Painters

According to Jan Lederman, director of Valhalla Private Capital, passive culture is often a catalyst for companies heading downhill. Unmade decisions pile up, opportunities are lost and lessons are not learned along the way. 

Sound familiar? You’re in luck – Valhalla has repurposed advice from history’s late great painters in a bid to counteract the pitfalls of passive culture in your startup.

“Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together”

– Vincent Van Gogh

Known today as one of history’s most prolific painters, Vincent Van Gogh only sold a single piece of art in his lifetime. However, a century after his death, Van Gogh’s most expensive painting Portrait of Dr. Gachet was sold for $148.6 million in 1990. 

With this in mind, Jan encourages entrepreneurs to celebrate small wins as they can lead to bigger victories down the line, alongside major tipping points when critical mass is reached.

“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents”

Bob Ross

Since perfection is “unattainable”, there’s no point in striving for a level of success that cannot be achieved,

The champion of happy accidents, TV painter Bob Ross was “immediately” enamored after he attended his first painting class at 18; but since Ross was enlisted in the Air Force it would be nearly two decades later that he would achieve commercial success with The Joy of Painting, which premiered in 1983 on PBS. 

This wabi-sabi approach to life was reflected in his work, as Ross once pondered: “Ever make mistakes in life? Let’s make them birds. Yeah, they’re birds now.”

“Action is the foundational key to all success”

Pablo Picasso

In spite of having more pieces of art stolen than any other artist, Pablo Picasso produced upwards of 150,000 different works during his 91-year lifetime, alongside more than 300 poems and a string of surrealist plays.

As success can come in dribs and drabs, Jan remarks that it is more effective to focus on small-term success rather than the big picture.

“I think that little by little I’ll be able to solve my problems and survive”

= Frida Kahlo

Feminist and LGBTQIA+ figurehead Frida Khalo created 143 paintings including 55 self-portraits, with her experiences with the Mexican Communist Party informing works such as Moses and Self-Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.

Inspired by her experiences as a self-proclaimed “painter” and “bitch”, Frida explained: “Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.”

Valhalla’s director Lederman maintains that actions can produce energy which can be built on to create more momentum for companies when they need it most, thus contracting the debilitating effects of choice paralysis within your startup.

Do you have a question about angel investing? Get in touch with Valhalla Private Capital via our contact page.

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