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Real Founder Lessons

The first three phases of marketing

(at minute 39:55)

Founder Lesson
One of the things that has most surprised me about launching Switchyards Downtown Club is the skills that new founders are requesting. My guess before launching was that new founders would want developers first and then designers right after that. Idea-stage founders are certainly looking for those skills, but much to my . . .

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July 11, 2017

Startups are always messy

(at minute 4:56)

Founder Lesson
I’ve wrestled with a topic behind the scenes in writing my blog over the past two years…should I speak about startups topics cleanly (but less exact) or be as exact as possible (and risk watering-down the message)?

In writing about startups it has struck me that most “educators” or "advisors" on topics speak in broad . . .

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May 09, 2017

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

Founders need to lie (especially to themselves)

(at minute 15:20)

Founder Lesson
Startups are tricky business for many reasons. One of the trickiest of reasons is the notion of “truth.”

When you have a new idea that you think will make lots of people much happier, but you haven’t built anything yet, you have to weave such a dream that you make everyone believe in your vision. Then you have to convince a few . . .

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January 18, 2017

Why execution is what really matters

(at minute 52:09)

Founder Lesson

One of the most common pieces of advice about startups is...

The idea doesn’t matter. It’s all about execution.

When founders ponder this statement, they often translate it into “ideas are a dime a dozen” or “ignore competition.” What is often difficult to fully grasp - until you’ve lived it - is how many different ways there . . .

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September 13, 2016

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