Real Founder Lessons

The value of accelerators

(at minute 36:07)

Founder Lesson
There's a bunch of startup stuff happening in downtown Atlanta this week, so I've been thinking a lot lately about programs that support startups.

The startup programs that have emerged over the past five years fascinate me. I'm old enough to remember the first startup hubs that emerged across the . . .

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The job of the founder/CEO is to say "no"

(at minute 4:19)

Founder Lesson
I'm a huge fan of hack tests. For example, let's say you believe that gardeners will buy more gardening equipment if you create a content-focused startup where the content's goal is to drive e-commerce. Instead of spending months building a site/app, setup a MailChimp account today and start sending emails . . .

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Do the simple thing first

(at minute 13:46)

Founder Lesson
Two years ago I was working with my co-founder to help renovate an old building in downtown Atlanta to become a startup hub. We didn't know anything about construction, so there were lots of lessons. Perhaps the biggest lesson was that construction is a process with lots of fits & starts. You decide one day to put a . . .

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You aren't the exception

(at minute 19:31)

Founder Lesson
About a year ago I was talking with a founder going through Techstars and he told me something that really stuck with me...

"Our behavior towards our startup totally changed when it occurred to us that we are the rule...not the exception."

In other words, this delusional founder (he's . . .

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Think differently about procrastination

(at minute 2:56)

Founder Lesson
Startups are creative exercises. This is true because the path to creating a tool/brand/mission to solve a problem isn't known. If it were known/correct/big, it would already exist.

If you've ever done much long-form writing, it's like that. The basics of your story are in your head (eg a new college . . .

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Why founders don't heed good advice

(at minute 00:49)

Founder Lesson
I don't have all the answers. No one does.

Your best advisor doesn't have all the answers. The best VC on Sand Hill Road doesn't have all the answers. The best founder doesn't have all the answers. That's why startups are so tricky...every straight-forward problem has been solved. So what's . . .

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Focus on the what not the how

(at minute 5:58)

Founder Lesson
If you spend any amount of time around startups, you won't hear many phrases more than "product-market fit." It's used so much for good reason...until some percent of your users love what you are doing, nothing else matters. Sidenote: the definition of "love" can be found here.

Whenever . . .

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