Real Founder Lessons

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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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Why does a focused product win?

(at minute 26:44)

Founder Lesson
Focus. Focus. Focus.

This is one of the most common pieces of advice given to startup founders. As with most advice, it’s much easier to say that do…especially when it’s you in the situation and are faced with dozens of bright & shiny opportunities and death-defying uncertainties every day as a startup founder. . . .

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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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Pattern matching with startups is powerful

(at minute 15:29)

Founder Lesson
I’ve heard that chess champions don't win because they can see more moves ahead than chess novices. They win because they've played so much that their pattern-matching skills are extraordinary. In other words, they've seen patterns on the chess board so many times that they subconsciously know how the game is . . .

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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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Best to market will always beat first to market

(at minute 31:28)

Founder Lesson
Startups have lots of worries on a daily basis. Big worries that immediately to mind are (a) running out of money, (b) building the correct product and (c) hiring the right people. Another big, macro worry is how to think about competition, particularly how much to worry about getting your product launched before anyone . . .

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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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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) execution(36) my favorites(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) resiliency(19) super fans(19) vision(16) psychological friction(16) customer discovery(15) purpose(15) niche products(15) growth(13) stanford university(13) vc(12) creativity(11) raising capital(11) aaron harris(10) micromanagement(10) marketing(10) pattern matching(10) jay acunzo(9) financing(9) pivot(9) delusion(9) matt goldman(9) scalability(9) nextview ventures(9) michael sacca(9) competition(8) team(8) rocketship.fm(7) advisors(7) bootstrapping(7) sidenote(7) mixergy(5) risk(5) wharton business radio(5) joelle steiniger(5) retention(5) how i built this(5) hypepotamus(4) sam altman(4) timing(4) brand(4) culture(4) focus groups(4) andrew warner(4) joelle goldman(4) a16z(4) 33voices(3) kat manalac(3) startups for the rest of us(2) distribution(2) dorm room tycoon(2) listen to entire podcast(2) masters of scale(2) kara swisher(2) recode decode(2) eric ries(2) network effect(2) domain expertise(2) product hunt radio(2) accelerators(1) joshua reeves(1) tim ferriss(1) twenty minute vc(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) time(1) optimal living daily(1) loose threads(1) mentoring(1) mentors(1) fred wilson(1) chris sacca(1) home