Real Founder Lessons

Focus all of your resources on the one key risk in your business

(at minute 41:10)

Common Founder Issue
I've spent the better part of 20 years working on startups and thinking about what makes founders successful. The single most important lesson that I’ve learned is that focus is the biggest competitive advantage that startups have, so I’m always on the lookout for additional thoughts on this topic. In this podcast . . .

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October 21, 2015

Competition doesn’t kill startups

(at minute 18:45)

Common Founder Issue
I decided to make my very first blog post this one because it’s the link that I send the most to founders. The topics “what matters most to my startup?” and “how should we think about competition?” are endlessly fascinating to me because startups by nature have very limited resources, so focusing on what matters is . . .

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October 19, 2015

A business is just a byproduct of solving a problem

(at minute 45:55)

Common Founder Issue
The very early stages of a startup look more like passion projects of the founders. Many times it’s just a single, small problem that they want to solve or just a general area of the world that needs some attention with no consideration for being a business. The addition of things like a company name, employees and . . .

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October 16, 2015

The best founders are going to be entrepreneurs no matter what

(at minute 20:38)

Common Founder Issue
I tend to believe that the best founders are going to start something no matter what. The feeling of putting something new and amazing into the world and having their ideas touch lots and lots of people is what motivates these folks. And during tough times - like the downturn in SF during the financial crisis - the . . .

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October 13, 2015

The best predictor of startup success is getting lots of small stuff done

(at minute 35:55)

Common Founder Issue
I tend to focus on startups that are very early stage. This typically means just a few passionate founders working 24/7 on an idea. Over the years I’ve struggled with how to identify the most promising teams before their businesses have had enough time to show traction.

Before even seeing this video, I . . .

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October 06, 2015

Most startup products are 10% better. 10x better is required to beat incumbents.

(at minute 16:33)

Common Founder Issue
Founders typically try to get as many users as possible as early as possible. What typically works better is for a startup to find 100 super fans initially because "it's a lot easier to take something that has a real depth of appeal - something that people really love - and grow that than it is to take . . .

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October 02, 2015

Paid advertising is the tax you pay for not being remarkable

(at minute 43:12)

Common Founder Issue
I often hear founders launch the the first version of their product and then complain that they have a "marketing problem" when initial customers aren't signing-up as quickly as expected. When this happens, I typically think this isn't a marketing issue...it's about the product.

Context
. . .

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September 30, 2015

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