Real Founder Lessons

Startups are mashups

(at minute 0:59)

Founder Lesson
If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that I frequently talk about “knowing your space (and adjacent spaces) cold,” so that you can increase your odds of finding a 10x better product. In other words, learn as much as you can from other efforts around the country. This is particularly important in towns (like mine . . .

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June 21, 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) differences is the . . .

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February 22, 2017

The pit of despair

(at minute 30:49)

Founder Lesson
The common belief is that you become a founder the day that you leave your day job to focus full-time on a new startup idea.

I’m beginning to believe that the path is more like this...

Step #1 You start off with a problem that you want to solve.

Step #2 You have a vision of what the future with look like.

Step #3 You come up . . .

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December 07, 2016

Creating an early-stage startup brand (when you are bad at brand)

(at minute 6:07)

Founder Lesson
Over the years I’ve developed a very specific playbook for my own startup ideas. Determine what is most likely to be a 10x better product in a space. Once that’s been tested, layer a very strong brand on top of that product. There are many playbooks to be successful…this is mine.

Put as simply as possible, the brand of a . . .

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July 12, 2016

Learn as much as you can before you write a line of code

(at minute 33:42)

Founder Lesson
I graduated college in 1994. Netscape went public a year later, kicking-off the beginning of the consumer internet. Most of the technology innovation over the following decade was about infrastructure - making sure most people had broadband to their homes, developing phones with real computing power & growing wireless . . .

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June 29, 2016

Why does a focused product win?

(at minute 26:44)

Founder Lesson
Focus. Focus. Focus.

This is one of the most common pieces of advice given to startup founders. As with most advice, it’s much easier to say that do…especially when it’s you in the situation and are faced with dozens of bright & shiny opportunities and death-defying uncertainties every day as a startup founder.

This . . .

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April 06, 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