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Real Founder Lessons

Expect a new startup to take 18 months to find product-market fit

(at minute 8:25)

Common Founder Issue
I didn’t believe this when I started and this constantly surprises first-time founders, but a good general rule is that new startups will take about 18 months to find decent product-market fit. Sometimes it happens as quickly as 12 months and often (of course) it never happens, but 18 months is what I’d expect if I was . . .

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November 18, 2015

Just fu@%&ng launch already (what's most engaging)

(at minute 33:47)

Common Founder Issue
Anyone who’s ever launched the initial product for a startup knows the drill. The temptation is to add lots of features because you don’t know which will be most popular and your ultimate vision for the business is huge, so you might as well start on that big vision now.

The reality is that your small startup will only . . .

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November 11, 2015

In the early days hustle is more important than scalability

(at minute 18:03)

Common Founder Issue
One of the best things that I’ve ever heard about startups is the connection between promising businesses and how much those teams are constantly getting done. Related to this topic, I’ve grow to believe that it’s so difficult to connect the dots in the very early days that teams just need to work their asses off and be . . .

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November 06, 2015

Financing strategy depends on the potential of the business

(at minute 5:39)

Common Founder Issue
I often hear founders discuss whether or not a certain business is “VC fundable” or “should we raise $250k or $1M?” What I’ve learned is that businesses and management teams are going to do what they do and financing strategy follows the operational results that happen as they execute their plans.

In other words, I’d . . .

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November 04, 2015

You have to love the startup process

(at minute 22:24)

Common Founder Issue
Persistence (otherwise known as “just sticking around”) is a mandatory characteristic of startup founders. Part of “sticking around” is the motivation behind it. I’ve found that the most successful startup founders have just a few common reasons for sticking it out. One common reason is the strong belief that their idea . . .

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October 28, 2015

The whole concept of a startup is that the business model isn’t proven

(at minute 30:01)

Common Founder Issue
Just a few years ago I had an epiphany regarding how the very early participants in a startup - particularly founders and initial “friends and family” investors - should feel about the likelihood of success of a new venture. Prior to this moment, I considered every phase to be pretty much the same as a startup grew. So, . . .

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October 26, 2015

Focus all of your resources on the one key risk in your business

(at minute 41:10)

Common Founder Issue
I've spent the better part of 20 years working on startups and thinking about what makes founders successful. The single most important lesson that I’ve learned is that focus is the biggest competitive advantage that startups have, so I’m always on the lookout for additional thoughts on this topic. In this podcast the . . .

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October 21, 2015

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