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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

Startups are learning machines

(at minute 9:35)

Founder Lesson
Every founder has super powers and blind spots. The hope is that the results that come from the super powers far outweigh any problems that are caused by the blind spots. Once a company is growing you can hire to offset blind spots, but early on it's really about one side overwhelming the other for the founding team.

One of . . .

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August 01, 2017

Don't grow until you have product-market fit

(at minute 2:11)

Founder Lesson
A few days ago I ran across this blog post. It’s the announcement from Shyp that they are cutting headcount and closing expansion markets to focus on profitability. Too many similar outcomes come to mind recently…Sprig, HomeHero, Zirtual, Beepi, Good Eggs & Homejoy. And these are just the ones that immediately come to mind. . . .

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July 25, 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

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

The three parts of organic growth

(at minute 4:05)

Founder Lesson
Anyone who reads my blog knows that I’m a product-first founder. I just looked at the various tags that I use for my blog and 40 of my blog posts (over half) are tagged “product.” I love product.

I focus so much on product because I believe it’s like the foundation of a house. If you make the foundation amazing, then everything . . .

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January 25, 2017

Why execution is what really matters

(at minute 52:09)

Founder Lesson

One of the most common pieces of advice about startups is...

The idea doesn’t matter. It’s all about execution.

When founders ponder this statement, they often translate it into “ideas are a dime a dozen” or “ignore competition.” What is often difficult to fully grasp - until you’ve lived it - is how many different ways there . . .

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September 13, 2016

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