Real Founder Lessons

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 . . .

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June 08, 2019

I'm back

(with some new thoughts)

Silvrback blog image
(the front entrance of my startup hub)

A few years ago I began blogging about twice per month. Each post was focused on one specific piece of founder advice for pre-product-market-fit startups.

My formula for writing a post was clear from the beginning. I would only write a blog post when three things came . . .

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Posted in: all

June 08, 2019

What's your earned secret?

(at minute 8:07)

Founder Lesson
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, . . .

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August 14, 2018

Make one doughnut

(at minute 13:01)

Founder Lesson
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.

Silvrback blog image
I lived nearby before they launched their first location, so I saw how the owner . . .

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August 02, 2018

Focus on problem being solved rather than technical difficulty of solution

(at minute 9:22)

Founder Lesson
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, . . .

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July 25, 2018

You can't skip steps

(at minute 4:19)

Founder Lesson
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 . . .

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July 17, 2018

Don’t pay for customers for years

(at minute 12:37)

Founder Lesson
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 . . .

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June 26, 2018


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