Mentoring founders is hard
(what's your superpower?)
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 . . .
Make one doughnut
(at minute 13:01)
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.
I lived nearby before they launched their first location, so I saw how the owner . . .
Creativity loves constraint
(at minute 19:11)
I don't know where I first heard this notion, but on a monthly basis I think about the counterintuitive concept that creativity loves constraint.
On a personal level I'm a moderate procrastinator for most things. Over the years I've found that forcing myself to get 50% of the work done in a tight . . .
Product-market fit isn’t rational
(at minute 15:43)
There isn't a topic that interests me more than product-market fit. In the 2007 - 2010 timeframe I went from a lifestyle business (where I could fool myself that it was high-growth) to a high-growth startup (where you didn't have to wonder if it had product-market fit) and that transition completely changed the way . . .
Raising money takes 6-9 months
(at minute 2:44)
Last week I was talking with a founder who was getting ready to raise money for the first time. During the course of our conversation it occurred to me that he's thinking the thoughts that all founders think before fundraising for the first time...
"Investors are going to meet me and hear my idea and in . . .
Good ideas have to look terrible
(at minute 11:35)
Someone from a large company was asking me recently how I evaluated new startup ideas. They asked in a way that made me think of Shark Tank. I suspect that he expected me to say something like "I look for a strong technology patent" or "there has to be a big vision for a big market."
How I think . . .
Every startup is a series of pivots
(at minute 0:33)
Last week I was having dinner with a founder who had a very good exit for his startup. Halfway through dinner he begins to reminisce about the journey. It is well-known that this startup had four distinct (large) pivots, but his narrative didn't describe it that way. Because he was the person on the front lines of this . . .