Real Founder Lessons

Do the simple thing first

(at minute 13:46)

Founder Lesson
Two years ago I was working with my co-founder to help renovate an old building in downtown Atlanta to become a startup hub. We didn't know anything about construction, so there were lots of lessons. Perhaps the biggest lesson was that construction is a process with lots of fits & starts. You decide one day to put a . . .

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September 27, 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

Passion, Persistency & Purpose

(three lessons in one podcast)

Founder Lesson
Every so often I run across a startup podcast that has a bunch of lessons in it, so it’s difficult to choose just one. That happened with this podcast. Every few minutes I was taking down a new lesson, so I figured the best thing to do was to mention them all.

In this podcast, the co-founder of ModCloth made three main points . . .

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August 09, 2016

Any startup culture can win but it has to be authentic

(at minute 23:44)

Founder Lesson
Startup culture. Of all the startup terms that get thrown around and discussed, the concept of “culture” is one that seems to be the least understood.

First off…I’m no expert on this topic. As a matter of fact, I’ve probably not thought about this topic much more than the average founder. But I did start a startup that grew a . . .

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June 07, 2016

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 is . . .

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May 17, 2016

The importance of having experienced founder/CEOs as advisors or board members

(at minute 26:16)

Founder Lesson
One thing that I’ve come to realize recently is how rare it is to come up with an idea for a new venture and have it get to a reasonable size.

Think about all of the people that you interact with on a daily/weekly/monthly basis - how many of them have ever written an idea on a napkin and then grown that idea into a business . . .

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April 04, 2016

Put simple rules around creativity

(at minute 22:09)

Founder Lesson
Even though startups are businesses, I’ve never thought of myself as a “businessman.” Like all college business majors, the Wall Street Journal was interesting to me for a few years after graduation, but I quickly realized that I was drawn to startups due to what happens with them during their earliest moments - when they are . . .

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February 17, 2016