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Real Founder Lessons

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The value of side projects

(at minute 31:12)

Founder Lesson
Trying to imagine how your new startup idea will be built, adopted & grown can seem very daunting when you think of all the things that need to happen after the idea stage. One of the main forces in startups that keeps me hopeful and excited is the concept of “side projects”…small projects that people do outside of . . .

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April 29, 2016

There are only two hard problems with startups

(at minute 14:51)

Founder Lesson
I think of large businesses as symphonies. There are lots of musicians. Lots of instruments. Many moving parts. Much coordination.

A startup, on the other hand, is more like one person playing the hell out of their guitar and another person singing at the top of their lungs - at least in the very beginning. Most . . .

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March 17, 2016

Why does it take at least a year to get traction?

(at minute 8:27)

Founder Lesson
One of the counterintuitive things about startups that most fascinates me is how long they take to see even the smallest bit of true traction. A while back I wrote my first blog post on this topic and it’s one to the topics that I expect to re-visit a bunch in future blog posts.

I believe that this timeline is so . . .

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March 03, 2016

Lean into marketing channels to make them work

(at minute 27:38)

Founder Lesson
Marketing has always baffled me. This is the main reason why I rely so much on product & brand - I want new customer awareness and conversion to be as easy as possible, so I have to rely less on traditional marketing after launch.

Because marketing has always been a nagging worry of mine, I’m always trying to . . .

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February 19, 2016

Even startups that rely on a network effect can be validated early

(at minute 1:04:56)

Founder Lesson
I was meeting with a very successful local founder this week and he was describing his current strategy - after years of honing it - of finding a group of initial "happy customers" for a new product. Like this founder, over the past year it seems like I'm constantly telling founders...

"Distill . . .

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February 03, 2016

The best founders combine vision & micromanagement

(at minute 42:50)

Founder Lesson
It’s common wisdom that startups are defined by their limited resources. The actual definition of a startup could be “a new business that grows quickly despite limited resources."

While this startup rule-of-thumb is known by most everyone, very few people have been in the trenches enough to truly understand . . .

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February 01, 2016

At the very beginning focus on a niche, passionate group of potential customers

(at minute 25:04)

Founder Lesson
Founders who focus on their own passion projects are often told that their ideas are too niche & small. While this is sometimes the case, it’s important to remember...

  • Lots more people are coming online and spending more money online, so all online markets are growing over time.

  • Many successful . . .

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January 19, 2016

Archive

All Categories: all(112) podcast(102) process(87) focus(80) product(70) counterintuitive things(64) product market fit(63) business model validation(60) solving a problem(58) mvp(57) unique playbook(48) traction(43) founders(40) my favorites(36) execution(35) first principles(33) hustle(33) value proposition(32) video(32) this week in startups(30) jason calacanis(28) ycombinator(24) persistency(24) engagement(23) lean startup(20) super fans(19) resiliency(19) psychological friction(16) vision(16) niche products(15) purpose(15) customer discovery(15) stanford university(13) growth(13) vc(12) creativity(11) raising capital(10) marketing(10) micromanagement(10) aaron harris(10) jay acunzo(9) scalability(9) matt goldman(9) financing(9) michael sacca(9) nextview ventures(9) pattern matching(9) pivot(9) delusion(8) competition(8) team(8) bootstrapping(7) sidenote(7) rocketship.fm(7) advisors(6) retention(5) risk(5) wharton business radio(5) joelle steiniger(5) how i built this(5) mixergy(5) brand(4) hypepotamus(4) andrew warner(4) joelle goldman(4) sam altman(4) culture(4) a16z(4) focus groups(4) timing(4) 33voices(3) kat manalac(3) kara swisher(2) distribution(2) recode decode(2) product hunt radio(2) dorm room tycoon(2) masters of scale(2) network effect(2) startups for the rest of us(2) listen to entire podcast(2) eric ries(2) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) fred wilson(1) chris sacca(1) joshua reeves(1) time(1) accelerators(1) loose threads(1) tim ferriss(1) twenty minute vc(1) domain expertise(1) optimal living daily(1) home