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 with at least $1M in annual revenue?
I suspect that you’ll only interact with a few people per month that have done this in their careers. And if you are in a town like Atlanta - my home - then I suspect that number is even smaller because Atlanta hasn’t historically been a prolific startup town.
(sidenote: Those of us in Atlanta are very fortunate to have David Cummings as part of our startup community. If you aren’t already reading his blog, go and sign-up right now! He recently published a blog post validating the rarity of startups that hit $1M in annual revenue.)
There are many types of people who can support startups. Investors are fantastic for money and general advice. I’ve also found attorneys to be super helpful - my attorney introduced me to my Series A investor. And non-founder advisors for specific areas (eg technology) are hugely valuable.
But if you are the founder/CEO of a startup, I would encourage you to think about the value of successful founder/CEOs and do your best to surround yourself with these folks whenever you can - ideally as advisors or board members. Their general value is less straightforward/tactical, but there’s no substitute for people who have actually accomplished what you are setting out to do.
Over the past few years some of my most important relationships have been one-on-one advisory relationships with founder/CEOs. There was never one conversation that was a silver-bullet, but the weekly/monthly/yearly relationship was hugely impactful...for both sides.
In this podcast, one of the most revered VCs right now discusses how his entire firm was begun to support founder/CEOs because they are so critical to making any new venture truly successful.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 26:16 of this podcast.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Ben Horowitz (@bhorowitz) of Andreessen Horowitz (@a16z)
Tom Byers (@tommybyers) of Stanford University (@Stanford)
Stanford University (@Stanford)
Stanford ECorner (@ECorner)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.