Mentoring founders is hard
(what's your superpower?)
When my startup was growing like crazy and I felt like we had product-market fit, for the first time in my career I tried to mentor some startup founders. In 2012 I reached out to a half-dozen founder/CEOs with a simple offer...
If you agree to meet with me for coffee every month and tell me everything, I'll advise . . .
What's your earned secret?
(at minute 8:07)
Talk with a dozen successful founders and you'll hear a few very common themes of general startup advice...
Team. Nothing matters more than great people. The hugely successful Techstars accelerator values team so much that they say that the five things they care about (in order) are "team, team, team, . . .
Make one doughnut
(at minute 13:01)
There’s a doughnut shop in my neighborhood called Revolution Doughnuts. As a neighbor I can attest that they are a tremendous local success story and their ratings on Yelp put them in the top 15% of all restaurants in town.
I lived nearby before they launched their first location, so I saw how the owner . . .
Focus on problem being solved rather than technical difficulty of solution
(at minute 9:22)
A few years ago I had an epiphany moment about startups...the best founders are problem solvers. They see the world as infinitely malleable and proceed to think about ways to change it to add value. This might sound obvious, but when you compare "problem solving" to money, power or fame as primary career drivers, . . .
You can't skip steps
(at minute 4:19)
I was recently talking with a founder. Last year he and I were spending a bunch of time together as he manually tested his theory of human behavior. At the time he had a full-time job and the manual test that I helped him execute had some holes, so I don't believe that he validated an intense enough consumer use case in . . .
Don’t pay for customers for years
(at minute 12:37)
One of my first blog posts was called "Paid advertising is the tax you pay for not being remarkable." I got so many "what the hell are you taking about?" comments from this early post that it fueled my desire to continue to blog about counterintuitive/advanced startup concepts.
This notion that . . .
Founders need a theory of human behavior
(at minute 13:03)
A trusted startup friend came to me the other day with a new idea...
He just bought a house, so he's thinking a lot about paying contractors for large projects and doing smaller projects himself. There are lots of videos on YouTube about small home projects (eg cutting down vines on the side of your home), but . . .