Real Founder Lessons

All Categories: all(115) 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) purpose(15) customer discovery(15) niche products(15) growth(13) stanford university(13) vc(12) creativity(11) raising capital(11) micromanagement(10) pattern matching(10) marketing(10) aaron harris(10) matt goldman(9) financing(9) jay acunzo(9) michael sacca(9) nextview ventures(9) delusion(9) pivot(9) scalability(9) competition(8) team(8) bootstrapping(7) advisors(7) rocketship.fm(7) sidenote(7) retention(5) joelle steiniger(5) wharton business radio(5) risk(5) how i built this(5) mixergy(5) timing(4) joelle goldman(4) andrew warner(4) sam altman(4) focus groups(4) hypepotamus(4) brand(4) a16z(4) culture(4) kat manalac(3) 33voices(3) distribution(2) product hunt radio(2) recode decode(2) eric ries(2) network effect(2) dorm room tycoon(2) listen to entire podcast(2) masters of scale(2) startups for the rest of us(2) kara swisher(2) domain expertise(2) optimal living daily(1) twenty minute vc(1) joshua reeves(1) accelerators(1) tim ferriss(1) loose threads(1) chris sacca(1) mentoring(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) mentors(1) fred wilson(1) time(1) home

The Broken Windows Theory of startups

(pay attention to details)

Quick note: I recently changed the format of my blog. You can read more about it here.

Background
In the 1980s and 1990s there was a theory of policing called The Broken Windows Theory. The hypothesis was that cracking down on minor offenses would reduce the number of more serious crimes as a result of a general feeling of . . .

Read More

July 09, 2019

Mentoring founders is hard

(what's your superpower?)

Background
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 . . .

Read More

June 08, 2019

I'm back

(with some new thoughts)

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

Backstory
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 . . .

Read More

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, . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

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, . . .

Read More

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 . . .

Read More

July 17, 2018

Archive

All Categories: all(115) 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) purpose(15) customer discovery(15) niche products(15) growth(13) stanford university(13) vc(12) creativity(11) raising capital(11) micromanagement(10) pattern matching(10) marketing(10) aaron harris(10) matt goldman(9) financing(9) jay acunzo(9) michael sacca(9) nextview ventures(9) delusion(9) pivot(9) scalability(9) competition(8) team(8) bootstrapping(7) advisors(7) rocketship.fm(7) sidenote(7) retention(5) joelle steiniger(5) wharton business radio(5) risk(5) how i built this(5) mixergy(5) timing(4) joelle goldman(4) andrew warner(4) sam altman(4) focus groups(4) hypepotamus(4) brand(4) a16z(4) culture(4) kat manalac(3) 33voices(3) distribution(2) product hunt radio(2) recode decode(2) eric ries(2) network effect(2) dorm room tycoon(2) listen to entire podcast(2) masters of scale(2) startups for the rest of us(2) kara swisher(2) domain expertise(2) optimal living daily(1) twenty minute vc(1) joshua reeves(1) accelerators(1) tim ferriss(1) loose threads(1) chris sacca(1) mentoring(1) founder's journey(1) indie.vc(1) mentors(1) fred wilson(1) time(1) home