Real Founder Lessons

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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 . . .

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Why does a focused product win?

(at minute 26:44)

Founder Lesson
Focus. Focus. Focus.

This is one of the most common pieces of advice given to startup founders. As with most advice, it’s much easier to say that do…especially when it’s you in the situation and are faced with dozens of bright & shiny opportunities and death-defying uncertainties every day as a startup founder. . . .

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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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Measurement is important, but the value proposition of your product has to come first

(at minute 42:38)

Founder Lesson
My initial conversations with founders often go like this...

Founder: Here’s my startup idea…won’t it be amazing what we can do when we have 10,000 users?

Me: Since you haven’t launched yet, I’d encourage you to spend as much time as possible measuring whether or not there’s demand for what you plan to . . .

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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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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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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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Archive

All Categories: all(113) podcast(102) process(88) focus(80) product(70) counterintuitive things(65) product market fit(64) 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) ycombinator(24) persistency(24) engagement(23) lean startup(20) super fans(19) resiliency(19) vision(16) psychological friction(16) customer discovery(15) niche products(15) purpose(15) stanford university(13) growth(13) vc(12) creativity(11) raising capital(11) aaron harris(10) micromanagement(10) marketing(10) michael sacca(9) financing(9) nextview ventures(9) scalability(9) pattern matching(9) matt goldman(9) jay acunzo(9) pivot(9) delusion(9) team(8) competition(8) sidenote(7) rocketship.fm(7) advisors(7) bootstrapping(7) mixergy(5) risk(5) how i built this(5) retention(5) wharton business radio(5) joelle steiniger(5) hypepotamus(4) joelle goldman(4) andrew warner(4) sam altman(4) focus groups(4) timing(4) a16z(4) culture(4) brand(4) kat manalac(3) 33voices(3) recode decode(2) distribution(2) product hunt radio(2) dorm room tycoon(2) eric ries(2) network effect(2) listen to entire podcast(2) masters of scale(2) kara swisher(2) startups for the rest of us(2) domain expertise(2) tim ferriss(1) accelerators(1) fred wilson(1) chris sacca(1) twenty minute vc(1) joshua reeves(1) loose threads(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) mentoring(1) mentors(1) time(1) optimal living daily(1) home