I said bye to my employer and take the plunge
I just wanted to share that after spending a couple of decades building software for other businesses, today I gave my employer a two week notice so that I could focus full-time on my own startup. I've been working with another co-founder since last year. We have great traction and raised just enough capital for me to eat rice and beans for the next few months while I rebuild our prototype into something that can really go to market.
Good luck - having done a tech startup things I learned.
The product is probably ready before you’ll think it’s ready. Get it into the hands of users and let the audience help you improve it.
Start to charge for the product as early as you can, even if it’s a small amount for some additional functionality. Sooner you find paying users the better and calms investors nerves.
Eat well, and take time to eat. Sure there will be rushed meals grabbed between hacking sessions. But take time out with your team to sit and share a meal. Some of the best ideas come when people are not pressured to perform and are relaxing and feeling chill.
Speak directly to as many users as you can. It’s the small asides and little frustrations that make good into great user experiences.
Be honest with yourself and your investors. If you are gonna blow a deadline tell those who need to know as soon as you know. They are riding this thing with you, so make sure you share the responsibility and accountability. Nothing worse than knowing a deadline is gonna be missed, hiding it then having to tell everyone the day of the deadline. Plus you’ll feel shi77y every day up to the deadline.
Sometimes the investors like to offer “advice” have a process for taking it, exploring it fairly and making sure you feedback why it will or won’t work and cost implications. Nothing pi55es off an investor faster than feeling like their “great” ideas are being ignored.
If something fails, own it. Learn from it. Move on.
Deal with head 5hit. Have a mentor you can speak to who is not financially involved in any way. You need a confidential pressure valve to blow off when the mess in your head needs to be untangled.
Enjoy it, the whole crazy thing, every day is another day to be better than you were. You get to make your life better, those around you get to have better lives and your users lives are improved (or should be!) enjoy it, all of it!
Be ware and enjoy. Having a cofounder and capital is good! A careful advice if you care to listen, is to be ruthless in business! From day one, never play by the rules. Rules are set so others can predict your path and ambush you.
Second advice, only work for fat market. Be careful in a niche market that does not scale or metamorphosis - it becomes forever miniature and forever ungrowable.
I have many examples around me, and they all failed, the younger ones who did not burn the bridge can go back to old job or even become VCs, and older ones suffer. If you expect the best of human behavior you will fail. Many people develop product, have great customers, and then fail and lose every penny. I see many 40-50 year olds suffer. A guy who quit a national lab director job 20 years ago forever works in a shopping mall office.
I wish someone stopped me from quitting my job. Startup is fortunate incidents of heaven, not man made products. Startup is a skill, not a path to success. Startup is simple. It is like baking.
Here is a collection of startup failure stories. Most common reasons of failures are: (1) cann't grow after "success"; (2) does not have money to get into market.
When you go climb the mountain of gold, get a guide who knows where the skeletons are buried.
"Perfect it. Don't try to be fancy..."
Several of my entrepreneur clients have discovered that they can save INSANE amount of time when building their product if they are keenly aware of the exact level of quality the client needs, and then deliver just above that, rather than what the entrepreneur is CAPABLE of.
Of course, that requires getting out of the house and talking with the client!
We're all more capable than we think, and I have yet to meet someone who was unable to vastly exceed client expectations.
90% done takes half as much time as fully done.
80% done takes one fifth the time of fully done.
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