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Real Founder Lessons

Startups come from where people aren't paying attention

(at minute 44:19)

Founder Lesson
Over the past few weeks - for no particular reason - my mind has been focused on the topic of unique product visions. Partly fueled by some recent thinking about MailChimp and Snapchat, I find myself thinking about what it means to have a truly contrarian view of the world.

With all of these thoughts swirling around in my head, . . .

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October 04, 2016

Remain true to your product vision

(at minute 10:52)

Founder Lesson
It’s always great to see startups hit their stride. I’m fortunate to know the founders of MailChimp and I’ve enjoyed seeing their rapid rise over the past decade. Another company that seems to be experiencing a similar rise is Snapchat.

Two years ago I heard this podcast on Product Hunt Radio. The two founders discussed how . . .

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September 27, 2016

Avoid distractions and focus only on what matters most

(at minute 2:27)

Founder Lesson
Everyone has that one initial failure that helps inform their future startup work. For some people it might have been something low-risk while they were in school. For me it was my first startup in San Francisco. For the the founder in this podcast, his first “bad” startup came out of a side project in 2006.

What he learned - . . .

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September 21, 2016

Why execution is what really matters

(at minute 52:09)

Founder Lesson

One of the most common pieces of advice about startups is...

The idea doesn’t matter. It’s all about execution.

When founders ponder this statement, they often translate it into “ideas are a dime a dozen” or “ignore competition.” What is often difficult to fully grasp - until you’ve lived it - is how many different ways there . . .

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September 13, 2016

Raising money is never easy, so find true believers

(at minute 41:36)

Founder Lesson
When I first started raising money for startups, a very experienced attorney told me that every round would take six months. What I came to find out is that the reality is more like six to nine months. To new founders this might sound surprisingly long, but this has been the case for me every time.

One piece of advice that has . . .

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September 05, 2016

Consider retention when you have new startup ideas

(at minute 42:28)

Founder Lesson
The notion of retention has always interested me when it comes to new startup ideas. I’m sure there are lots of complicated definitions for that term, but to me it simply means your customers’ propensity to continue to use you app in an ongoing cadence that’s appropriate for your type of business.

One of the topics that I . . .

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August 31, 2016

Startups are all about testing assumptions quickly

(at minute 4:18)

Founder Lesson
Recently I was meeting with a first-time founder who has been working on his bootstrapped startup for two years. When I asked about his progress, he said that the first version of their app was just released into the app store.

Without going into specifics, this founding team - like most founding teams - has a very unique . . .

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August 25, 2016

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