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Real Founder Lessons

Good ideas have to look terrible

(at minute 11:35)

Founder Lesson
Someone from a large company was asking me recently how I evaluated new startup ideas. They asked in a way that made me think of Shark Tank. I suspect that he expected me to say something like "I look for a strong technology patent" or "there has to be a big vision for a big market."

How I think about new . . .

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January 03, 2018

Iterate your first product with a small group ideal users

(at minute 2:24)

Founder Lesson
What I like to believe about startups is that two passionate founders who love a problem have a unique insight in a space and work on that problem until something clicks.

But lately I’ve been thinking about an alternative path.

What if founders just try to solve a problem without a big mission from the start? What if they . . .

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December 20, 2017

Make customer value prop one simple thing

(at minute 22:51)

Founder Lesson
Over the past week I've had two meetings with founders where I gave the same advice...

You need to identify and pin point the one magical thing that your startup will do for consumers.

This is common advice given to founders, but why?

A few thoughts...

1) Doing one thing great is better than doing a dozen things good. One . . .

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December 05, 2017

Every startup is a series of pivots

(at minute 0:33)

Founder Lesson
Last week I was having dinner with a founder who had a very good exit for his startup. Halfway through dinner he begins to reminisce about the journey. It is well-known that this startup had four distinct (large) pivots, but his narrative didn't describe it that way. Because he was the person on the front lines of this . . .

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November 21, 2017

Focus your time on the right investors

(at minute 6:42)

Founder Lesson
I remember the first time that someone experienced told me some version of this advice...

  • "Don't waste your time with that investor...they don't invest in your type of startup."

  • "Don't waste your time with that investor...they aren't that active."

  • "Don't waste your time with that . . .

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November 15, 2017

Everything you always wanted to know about validating B2C startups (but were afraid to ask)

(at minute 8:57)

Founder Lesson
Yesterday I was talking with a first-time founder about the process of validating her B2C startup idea. Before she even decided to pursue her idea she did a survey with a bunch of consumers asking basic questions about the space and their habits.

People responded as she expected, so she decided to go all-in.

That means the idea . . .

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November 06, 2017

The value of accelerators

(at minute 36:07)

Founder Lesson
There's a bunch of startup stuff happening in downtown Atlanta this week, so I've been thinking a lot lately about programs that support startups.

The startup programs that have emerged over the past five years fascinate me. I'm old enough to remember the first startup hubs that emerged across the country in the . . .

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October 11, 2017

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