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Real Founder Lessons

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Creativity loves constraint

(at minute 19:11)

Founder Lesson
I don't know where I first heard this notion, but on a monthly basis I think about the counterintuitive concept that creativity loves constraint.

On a personal level I'm a moderate procrastinator for most things. Over the years I've found that forcing myself to get 50% of the work done in a tight . . .

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March 20, 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

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

Iterate your first product with a small group ideal users

(at minute 2:24)

Founder Lesson
What I like to believe about startups is that two passionate founders who love a problem have a unique insight in a space and work on that problem until something clicks.

But lately I’ve been thinking about an alternative path.

What if founders just try to solve a problem without a big mission from the . . .

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December 20, 2017

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

Fall in love with the problem (not your proposed solution)

(at minute 56:39)

Founder Lesson
Most first-time founders (and even lots of experienced founders) begin to think about any startup in terms of a product/solution. Like Peter Rojas, the founder being interviewed in this podcast, I find myself constantly giving the advice to think of all new ideas in terms of the main problem that customers have. This advice . . .

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May 17, 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) 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