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Real Founder Lessons

First few hundred customers is about product

(at minute 7:10)

Founder Lesson
Sequoia is one of the top venture firms and Roelof Botha is one of their top investors. As with all members of the PayPal Mafia, I pay particular attention when I hear them speak because that group is so thoughtful about how disruptive companies are created. And Roelof in particular is very thoughtful.

In this . . .

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February 28, 2017

The three B's of creativity

(at minute 1:002:56)

Founder Lesson
I spend most of my time working on startups for consumers. To people new to startups, the differences between startups that sell to consumers and those that sell to businesses might not seem big, but the playbook for validating, launching and growing B2C versus B2B startups is very different.

One (of many) . . .

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February 22, 2017

Most features don't matter

(at minute 7:04)

Founder Lesson
One of the most counterintuitive lessons that I’ve learned about startups is that most features don’t matter. Having learned this lesson the hard way and talked with lots of startups founders, I can confidentially say that the vast majority of startup founders can’t pinpoint the one feature that their customers will love . . .

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February 14, 2017

The three parts of organic growth

(at minute 4:05)

Founder Lesson
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’m a product-first founder. I just looked at the various tags that I use for my blog and 40 of my blog posts (over half) are tagged “product.” I love product.

I focus so much on product because I believe it’s like the foundation of a house. If you make the foundation amazing, . . .

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January 25, 2017

Founders need to lie (especially to themselves)

(at minute 15:20)

Founder Lesson
Startups are tricky business for many reasons. One of the trickiest of reasons is the notion of “truth.”

When you have a new idea that you think will make lots of people much happier, but you haven’t built anything yet, you have to weave such a dream that you make everyone believe in your vision. Then you have to . . .

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January 18, 2017

Are you working on the right thing right now?

(at minute 19:48)

Founder Lesson
I left my last startup about two years ago. Ever since then the topic that has most fascinated me is how disruptive companies are launched from the earliest moment that the founder has a special insight...what I call the "idea stage."

In order to focus full-time on this problem, I joined a long-time . . .

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January 10, 2017

Focus on one key metric

(at minute 4:57)

Founder Lesson
This morning I was having coffee with a first-time founder discussing his new business idea. Like many (first time and experienced) founders, he spent most of the conversation discussing “at scale” issues. These are issues that become hurdles down the line (eg partnerships that drive new customer acquisition, legal issues, . . .

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December 13, 2016

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