Real Founder Lessons

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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 . . .

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The value of side projects

(at minute 31:12)

Founder Lesson
Trying to imagine how your new startup idea will be built, adopted & grown can seem very daunting when you think of all the things that need to happen after the idea stage. One of the main forces in startups that keeps me hopeful and excited is the concept of “side projects”…small projects that people do outside of . . .

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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 . . .

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Why does it take at least a year to get traction?

(at minute 8:27)

Founder Lesson
One of the counterintuitive things about startups that most fascinates me is how long they take to see even the smallest bit of true traction. A while back I wrote my first blog post on this topic and it’s one to the topics that I expect to re-visit a bunch in future blog posts.

I believe that this timeline is so . . .

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Lean into marketing channels to make them work

(at minute 27:38)

Founder Lesson
Marketing has always baffled me. This is the main reason why I rely so much on product & brand - I want new customer awareness and conversion to be as easy as possible, so I have to rely less on traditional marketing after launch.

Because marketing has always been a nagging worry of mine, I’m always trying to . . .

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Even startups that rely on a network effect can be validated early

(at minute 1:04:56)

Founder Lesson
I was meeting with a very successful local founder this week and he was describing his current strategy - after years of honing it - of finding a group of initial "happy customers" for a new product. Like this founder, over the past year it seems like I'm constantly telling founders...

"Distill . . .

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The best founders combine vision & micromanagement

(at minute 42:50)

Founder Lesson
It’s common wisdom that startups are defined by their limited resources. The actual definition of a startup could be “a new business that grows quickly despite limited resources."

While this startup rule-of-thumb is known by most everyone, very few people have been in the trenches enough to truly understand . . .

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Archive

All Categories: all(114) podcast(102) process(89) focus(80) product(70) counterintuitive things(65) product market fit(64) business model validation(60) solving a problem(58) mvp(57) unique playbook(48) traction(43) founders(40) my favorites(36) execution(36) hustle(34) first principles(33) value proposition(32) video(32) this week in startups(30) jason calacanis(28) ycombinator(24) persistency(24) engagement(23) lean startup(20) super fans(19) resiliency(19) psychological friction(16) vision(16) purpose(15) customer discovery(15) niche products(15) stanford university(13) growth(13) vc(12) creativity(11) raising capital(11) aaron harris(10) pattern matching(10) micromanagement(10) marketing(10) nextview ventures(9) scalability(9) matt goldman(9) michael sacca(9) financing(9) jay acunzo(9) pivot(9) delusion(9) team(8) competition(8) sidenote(7) rocketship.fm(7) advisors(7) bootstrapping(7) mixergy(5) risk(5) how i built this(5) retention(5) wharton business radio(5) joelle steiniger(5) hypepotamus(4) joelle goldman(4) andrew warner(4) sam altman(4) focus groups(4) timing(4) a16z(4) culture(4) brand(4) kat manalac(3) 33voices(3) recode decode(2) distribution(2) product hunt radio(2) dorm room tycoon(2) eric ries(2) network effect(2) listen to entire podcast(2) masters of scale(2) kara swisher(2) startups for the rest of us(2) domain expertise(2) tim ferriss(1) accelerators(1) fred wilson(1) chris sacca(1) twenty minute vc(1) joshua reeves(1) loose threads(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) mentoring(1) mentors(1) time(1) optimal living daily(1) home