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Real Founder Lessons

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Make one doughnut

(at minute 13:01)

Founder Lesson
There’s a doughnut shop in my neighborhood called Revolution Doughnuts. As a neighbor I can attest that they are a tremendous local success story and their ratings on Yelp put them in the top 15% of all restaurants in town.

Silvrback blog image
I lived nearby before they launched their first location, so I saw how the owner . . .

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August 02, 2018

Creativity loves constraint

(at minute 19:11)

Founder Lesson
I don't know where I first heard this notion, but on a monthly basis I think about the counterintuitive concept that creativity loves constraint.

On a personal level I'm a moderate procrastinator for most things. Over the years I've found that forcing myself to get 50% of the work done in a tight . . .

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March 20, 2018

Product-market fit isn’t rational

(at minute 15:43)

Founder Lesson
There isn't a topic that interests me more than product-market fit. In the 2007 - 2010 timeframe I went from a lifestyle business (where I could fool myself that it was high-growth) to a high-growth startup (where you didn't have to wonder if it had product-market fit) and that transition completely changed the way . . .

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February 21, 2018

Raising money takes 6-9 months

(at minute 2:44)

Founder Lesson
Last week I was talking with a founder who was getting ready to raise money for the first time. During the course of our conversation it occurred to me that he's thinking the thoughts that all founders think before fundraising for the first time...

"Investors are going to meet me and hear my idea and in . . .

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February 13, 2018

Good ideas have to look terrible

(at minute 11:35)

Founder Lesson
Someone from a large company was asking me recently how I evaluated new startup ideas. They asked in a way that made me think of Shark Tank. I suspect that he expected me to say something like "I look for a strong technology patent" or "there has to be a big vision for a big market."

How I think . . .

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January 03, 2018

Every startup is a series of pivots

(at minute 0:33)

Founder Lesson
Last week I was having dinner with a founder who had a very good exit for his startup. Halfway through dinner he begins to reminisce about the journey. It is well-known that this startup had four distinct (large) pivots, but his narrative didn't describe it that way. Because he was the person on the front lines of this . . .

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November 21, 2017

Focus your time on the right investors

(at minute 6:42)

Founder Lesson
I remember the first time that someone experienced told me some version of this advice...

  • "Don't waste your time with that investor...they don't invest in your type of startup."

  • "Don't waste your time with that investor...they aren't that active."

  • "Don't . . .

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November 15, 2017

Archive

All Categories: all(111) podcast(101) process(86) focus(79) product(69) counterintuitive things(63) product market fit(63) business model validation(59) solving a problem(57) mvp(56) unique playbook(47) traction(42) founders(40) my favorites(35) execution(34) hustle(33) first principles(32) video(32) value proposition(32) this week in startups(30) jason calacanis(28) persistency(24) ycombinator(24) engagement(23) lean startup(20) super fans(19) resiliency(19) psychological friction(16) vision(16) niche products(15) purpose(14) customer discovery(14) growth(13) stanford university(13) vc(12) micromanagement(10) aaron harris(10) marketing(10) raising capital(10) creativity(10) jay acunzo(9) scalability(9) matt goldman(9) financing(9) michael sacca(9) nextview ventures(9) pivot(9) delusion(8) competition(8) pattern matching(8) team(8) bootstrapping(7) sidenote(7) rocketship.fm(7) advisors(6) how i built this(5) wharton business radio(5) risk(5) joelle steiniger(5) retention(5) mixergy(5) brand(4) focus groups(4) andrew warner(4) joelle goldman(4) hypepotamus(4) timing(4) culture(4) sam altman(4) a16z(3) 33voices(3) kat manalac(3) kara swisher(2) network effect(2) recode decode(2) eric ries(2) product hunt radio(2) dorm room tycoon(2) distribution(2) listen to entire podcast(2) startups for the rest of us(2) masters of scale(2) fred wilson(1) joshua reeves(1) domain expertise(1) chris sacca(1) time(1) loose threads(1) tim ferriss(1) twenty minute vc(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) accelerators(1) optimal living daily(1) home