Real Founder Lessons

Founders need to lie (especially to themselves)

(at minute 15:20)

Founder Lesson
Startups are tricky business for many reasons. One of the trickiest of reasons is the notion of “truth.”

When you have a new idea that you think will make lots of people much happier, but you haven’t built anything yet, you have to weave such a dream that you make everyone believe in your vision. Then you have to . . .

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Are you working on the right thing right now?

(at minute 19:48)

Founder Lesson
I left my last startup about two years ago. Ever since then the topic that has most fascinated me is how disruptive companies are launched from the earliest moment that the founder has a special insight...what I call the "idea stage."

In order to focus full-time on this problem, I joined a long-time . . .

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Focus on one key metric

(at minute 4:57)

Founder Lesson
This morning I was having coffee with a first-time founder discussing his new business idea. Like many (first time and experienced) founders, he spent most of the conversation discussing “at scale” issues. These are issues that become hurdles down the line (eg partnerships that drive new customer acquisition, legal issues, . . .

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The pit of despair

(at minute 30:49)

Founder Lesson
The common belief is that you become a founder the day that you leave your day job to focus full-time on a new startup idea.

I’m beginning to believe that the path is more like this...

Step #1 You start off with a problem that you want to solve.

Step #2 You have a vision of what the future with . . .

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Example of not having product-market fit

(at minute 6:20)

Founder Lesson
I’ve spent a decade of my life in the “local discovery” part of the startup universe. In 2009 I co-founded a company called Scoutmob, a very early entrant into the part of the local discovery space that Groupon kicked-off a year earlier. This was after working for two years on the same problem with a different startup . . .

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Test investor reactions before running a full process

(at minute 33:33)

Founder Lesson
Once founders have a good handle on their startup, the topic of raising money is never too far behind. Because raising capital takes so much time & energy I’m always looking for lessons to help me think about this topic.

This podcast captured my attention because the founders detailed a step-by-step process . . .

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Startups come from where people aren't paying attention

(at minute 44:19)

Founder Lesson
Over the past few weeks - for no particular reason - my mind has been focused on the topic of unique product visions. Partly fueled by some recent thinking about MailChimp and Snapchat, I find myself thinking about what it means to have a truly contrarian view of the world.

With all of these thoughts swirling . . .

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