Real Founder Lessons

Startups are mashups

(at minute 0:59)

Founder Lesson
If you are a regular reader of my blog then you know that I frequently talk about “knowing your space (and adjacent spaces) cold,” so that you can increase your odds of finding a 10x better product. In other words, learn as much as you can from other efforts around the country. This is particularly important in towns (like mine . . .

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June 21, 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

Focus on single actions

(at minute 5:31)

Founder Lesson
How do you know that consumers love your product?

What I hear most often is “just last week a customer told me how much they loved using the product.” Or founders will say "our daily active users (DAUs) or monthly active users (MAUs) continue to increase.”

These are both decent ways to keep your fingers on the pulse of the . . .

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April 26, 2017

Going from doer to manager

(at minute 4:09)

Founder Lesson
Everyone knows that startups are “hard.” Ask anyone why this is the case and they’ll say things like “startups are risky” or “raising money is difficult.” While those things are true, they are only surface-level characteristics of startups. They don’t truly pinpoint why founders find the startup journey much more difficult than . . .

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April 04, 2017

Pivots can be executed very quickly

(at minute 19:29)

Founder Lesson
Every startup pivots.

If you are founder - particularly if it’s your first startup - this is an incredibly daunting statement. You are smart. You’ve had this problem for a long time. Your initial product solves your problem. Plus you’ve been thinking about and working on this idea for 6/12/18/24 months (or longer).

So how can . . .

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March 08, 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