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Real Founder Lessons

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You can't skip steps

(at minute 4:19)

Founder Lesson
I was recently talking with a founder. Last year he and I were spending a bunch of time together as he manually tested his theory of human behavior. At the time he had a full-time job and the manual test that I helped him execute had some holes, so I don't believe that he validated an intense enough consumer use case in . . .

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July 17, 2018

It takes 3 years to know what you have

(at minute 2:24)

Founder Lesson
I'm talking weekly with a very good founder who's working on a startup to disrupt hiring. He checks all the boxes. He loves the problem...check. He's a visionary...check. He's smart with a strong work ethic...check. He has very relevant experience...check. He has a proven track record of building . . .

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March 28, 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

The job of the founder/CEO is to say "no"

(at minute 4:19)

Founder Lesson
I'm a huge fan of hack tests. For example, let's say you believe that gardeners will buy more gardening equipment if you create a content-focused startup where the content's goal is to drive e-commerce. Instead of spending months building a site/app, setup a MailChimp account today and start sending emails . . .

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October 05, 2017

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) 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) purpose(15) niche products(15) customer discovery(15) growth(13) stanford university(13) vc(12) creativity(11) micromanagement(10) aaron harris(10) marketing(10) raising capital(10) jay acunzo(9) scalability(9) matt goldman(9) financing(9) michael sacca(9) nextview ventures(9) pattern matching(9) pivot(9) competition(8) delusion(8) team(8) rocketship.fm(7) bootstrapping(7) sidenote(7) advisors(6) how i built this(5) retention(5) mixergy(5) joelle steiniger(5) risk(5) wharton business radio(5) brand(4) joelle goldman(4) andrew warner(4) sam altman(4) focus groups(4) hypepotamus(4) timing(4) culture(4) a16z(4) kat manalac(3) 33voices(3) dorm room tycoon(2) eric ries(2) listen to entire podcast(2) recode decode(2) product hunt radio(2) network effect(2) startups for the rest of us(2) distribution(2) masters of scale(2) kara swisher(2) founder's journey(1) fred wilson(1) loose threads(1) tim ferriss(1) twenty minute vc(1) joshua reeves(1) time(1) indie.vc(1) accelerators(1) optimal living daily(1) chris sacca(1) domain expertise(1) home