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Real Founder Lessons

Lean into marketing channels to make them work

(at minute 27:38)

Founder Lesson
Marketing has always baffled me. This is the main reason why I rely so much on product & brand - I want new customer awareness and conversion to be as easy as possible, so I have to rely less on traditional marketing after launch.

Because marketing has always been a nagging worry of mine, I’m always trying to learn all that . . .

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February 19, 2016

Put simple rules around creativity

(at minute 22:09)

Founder Lesson
Even though startups are businesses, I’ve never thought of myself as a “businessman.” Like all college business majors, the Wall Street Journal was interesting to me for a few years after graduation, but I quickly realized that I was drawn to startups due to what happens with them during their earliest moments - when they are . . .

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February 17, 2016

Best to market will always beat first to market

(at minute 31:28)

Founder Lesson
Startups have lots of worries on a daily basis. Big worries that immediately to mind are (a) running out of money, (b) building the correct product and (c) hiring the right people. Another big, macro worry is how to think about competition, particularly how much to worry about getting your product launched before anyone else.

. . .

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February 08, 2016

Even startups that rely on a network effect can be validated early

(at minute 1:04:56)

Founder Lesson
I was meeting with a very successful local founder this week and he was describing his current strategy - after years of honing it - of finding a group of initial "happy customers" for a new product. Like this founder, over the past year it seems like I'm constantly telling founders...

"Distill the main . . .

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February 03, 2016

The best founders combine vision & micromanagement

(at minute 42:50)

Founder Lesson
It’s common wisdom that startups are defined by their limited resources. The actual definition of a startup could be “a new business that grows quickly despite limited resources."

While this startup rule-of-thumb is known by most everyone, very few people have been in the trenches enough to truly understand what this means . . .

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February 01, 2016

At the very beginning focus on a niche, passionate group of potential customers

(at minute 25:04)

Founder Lesson
Founders who focus on their own passion projects are often told that their ideas are too niche & small. While this is sometimes the case, it’s important to remember...

  • Lots more people are coming online and spending more money online, so all online markets are growing over time.

  • Many successful startups were niche products . . .

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January 19, 2016

Founders often don't have a grand plan at the very beginning

(at minute 16:10)

Founder Lesson
History is often re-written over time. A great example of this is startups that are successful. After reaching a certain level - for a bunch of good reasons - the origin story of startups is altered for PR reasons. The re-written story goes something like “the underdog founder had grand plans from the very beginning and has now . . .

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January 06, 2016

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