This was the question posed to me recently on Quora (Answer here). Of course the first instinct is to list the obvious: team, vision, product, network, etc. None of which happen to be “magical”. So it would seem there is no magic, well with a possible exception of one very special ingredient – You.
To which you might say “duh”. But this “you” is not just any kind of “you”, it would not be magical then. What this “you” needs is an additional trait, something most do not have, unfortunately.
This attribute is a strong, unstoppable, uncontrollable desire to succeed. This desire needs to be so strong that it would engulf you and drive your whole life toward this single goal. This is true not only for start-ups but for anything really.