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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 podcast Roelof is . . .

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February 28, 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 and . . .

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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, then everything . . .

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January 25, 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

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

Example of not having product-market fit

(at minute 6:20)

Founder Lesson
I’ve spent a decade of my life in the “local discovery” part of the startup universe. In 2009 I co-founded a company called Scoutmob, a very early entrant into the part of the local discovery space that Groupon kicked-off a year earlier. This was after working for two years on the same problem with a different startup product.

. . .

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November 15, 2016

Startups come from where people aren't paying attention

(at minute 44:19)

Founder Lesson
Over the past few weeks - for no particular reason - my mind has been focused on the topic of unique product visions. Partly fueled by some recent thinking about MailChimp and Snapchat, I find myself thinking about what it means to have a truly contrarian view of the world.

With all of these thoughts swirling around in my head, . . .

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October 04, 2016

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