Real Founder Lessons

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 . . .

Read More

April 04, 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 . . .

Read More

August 09, 2016

How to know when you don't have product-market fit

(at minute 30:01)

Founder Lesson
Many of us have been in this spot...

1) You feel a problem so deeply that you have to solve it, so you set off on your startup journey.

2) You wireframe a product that will solve your pain for lots of people.

3) You spend 6-12 months getting your product built.

4) You launch the product and the results are meh.

Now what?

A . . .

Read More

June 21, 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 . . .

Read More

June 07, 2016

Entrepreneurship is activism

(at minute 35:50)

Founder Lesson
I frequently describe myself as a “heart” entrepreneur (versus a “head” entrepreneur). What I mean by this is that two things are most important to me before I ever think about the economics or financial gain of a new startup...

1) The “magic” of the product. I have to be able to imagine what will truly surprise & delight . . .

Read More

May 26, 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 . . .

Read More

April 04, 2016

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 first-time . . .

Read More

March 17, 2016