Real Founder Lessons

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

August 25, 2016

Don’t underestimate distribution

(at minute 26:01)

Founder Lesson
I’ve often said that my startup playbook is a simple, two-step process...

Step #1 - Build a 10x better product.

Step #2 - Layer on a strong brand.

The reason that I believe in this simple formula is that the dynamics that effect startup success have changed drastically over just the past few years. Today it’s so . . .

Read More

August 17, 2016

Passion, Persistency & Purpose

(three lessons in one podcast)

Founder Lesson
Every so often I run across a startup podcast that has a bunch of lessons in it, so it’s difficult to choose just one. That happened with this podcast. Every few minutes I was taking down a new lesson, so I figured the best thing to do was to mention them all.

In this podcast, the co-founder of ModCloth made three main points . . .

Read More

August 09, 2016

Be skeptical of customer feedback in the idea stage

(at minute 12:34)

Founder Lesson
Lately I’ve been been working closely with a group of startup founders in the idea stage. In other words, they know the space they want to focus on, but don’t have the complete business model ready to validate.

During this stage, customer feedback is always tricky. I’ll never argue against talking with potential customers - . . .

Read More

August 03, 2016

My 50th blog post

Founder Lesson
Last summer I decided that I would try my hand at blogging. A few things had come together in my startup journey, so with this first post I was in business.

Almost a year (and a few hundred readers) later and I’m still really enjoying it. Each writing session allows me to organize my thoughts about an important startup founder . . .

Read More

July 28, 2016


All Categories: all(105) podcast(96) process(81) focus(74) product(64) product market fit(58) counterintuitive things(57) business model validation(54) solving a problem(52) mvp(52) unique playbook(41) founders(40) traction(39) my favorites(32) video(30) this week in startups(30) hustle(29) execution(29) first principles(29) jason calacanis(28) value proposition(28) ycombinator(23) persistency(22) engagement(20) resiliency(18) lean startup(17) super fans(17) psychological friction(16) vision(15) niche products(13) purpose(13) customer discovery(13) stanford university(12) vc(12) growth(11) creativity(10) aaron harris(10) raising capital(10) micromanagement(10) jay acunzo(9) scalability(9) financing(9) nextview ventures(9) marketing(9) team(8) pattern matching(8) matt goldman(8) michael sacca(8) competition(8) bootstrapping(7) delusion(7) pivot(6) rocketship.fm(6) mixergy(5) wharton business radio(5) advisors(5) how i built this(5) sidenote(5) risk(5) retention(4) joelle goldman(4) culture(4) brand(4) hypepotamus(4) andrew warner(4) sam altman(4) focus groups(4) joelle steiniger(4) a16z(3) timing(3) kat manalac(3) 33voices(3) dorm room tycoon(2) eric ries(2) startups for the rest of us(2) product hunt radio(2) network effect(2) listen to entire podcast(2) distribution(2) accelerators(1) domain expertise(1) chris sacca(1) recode decode(1) kara swisher(1) joshua reeves(1) tim ferriss(1) twenty minute vc(1) masters of scale(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) optimal living daily(1) fred wilson(1) home