Building Skills for Startup Part II

Hi Reddit,

I've just graduated from an undergraduate business school, which means I graduated without a HARD skill per se. I now have 6 months of free time before I start work and am trying to decide on how to spend them. I'll be working in consulting for two years, but then my goal is to join early-stage startups and eventually start my own down the line.

With that in mind, I'd like to work on something that will help me down the line. I've considered learning photoshop/design but figured this is something that can be outsourced for cheap and could be not the best use of my time as there are so many photoshop-skilled people out there. I am interested in learning more about coding and have previously taken intro courses, but I am unsure about whether 6 months would give me sufficient proficiency to even be useful? I've also considered working remotely unpaid for an interesting start-up, but felt like I could find more valuable things to spend the summer on given remote/corona work may not be the best learning environment. Lastly, I've considered taking the CFA to get a deeper understanding of the financial end of the stick. I think I'm trying to work on building hard skills but I'm not sure where to go.

Those are the ideas I've had for now and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions or better ideas on what I could do for the next 6 months. Thank you!

Quote Mark

Best Answer

Sales is the only skill you can get decent at in 6 months. Go sell cars if you can get a job doing it now. If not and depending on where you live start selling lawn care. .

Learn how to be told no and it bounce off you.

Learn how to read people.

Learn how to negotiate.

Also you have lots of time for reading. Tons of good books to chose from that would help if implemented. Here’s what I would choose:

The first book is just one of the best self improvement methods you can use, the next couple are for sales, then after that is general startup books. Ended up in about the order I would suggest you read in anyways

Atomic habits by James Clear

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Pitch Anything by Oran Klaff (the first 1/3 of the book isn’t even worth skimming while he talks about the “science” of his system. He isn’t right about why it works, but he is still right about how to do it).

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink

The Lean Startup Eric Ries

The Art of War by Sun Tzu (yea that one, read it, read it again, then read it one more time. It doesn’t get more boiled down and applicable in business.)

The four hour workweek by Tim Ferris (there is controversy about this one. Don’t take the idea of a 4 hour week literal but instead to be able to do more in the same time)

Other points

Don't think about your passion or your offerings. Questions like "If you have 6 months of free time go build a product. Sell it. Market it. Get feedback. Rinse and repeat." and "What’s your passion? What does make you feel alive when you do it?" are probably from people who is not even more qualified than you.

The world is made of fantasies and post-fantasy folks. Veterans know that shinny things are lures and that pleasing words are attempts to turn you into a paying customer. I was a professor for 20 years turned entrepreneur with six startups and really really scar-ed. I can tell you two facts. One is 90% of business is marketing. Marketing is a nice way to say "gimmicks" but that is how a lot of people on earth feed their family. Two is that making code making product making something new is very very far away from becoming a business (not everyone can be Jordan or musk). The Lean Startup book author is trying to sell you a book by appearing to sincerely wanting you to succeed. Well, he really wants to sell you a book. His teaching will result in ennuumrable regrets down the road. The "lean startup' typically turn into "lean life" even if you succeed in crowdsourcing.

I remember Mark Cuban has an old interview answering "what should I do if I lose everything" and "what is I start a side hustle today". Both are illuminating.

https://www.giga.biz/gignews/How-Mark-Cuban-would-restart

https://www.giga.biz/gignews/Mark-Cuban-on-Side-Hustle

Cuban said he would just do two jobs. Bar tending at night and selling stuff in the day. In the recent interview, he would just be doing AI Alexa coding and peddling the benefits to small businesses. Well we may not all like Cuban but he is a smart cookie when it comes to nonsense smell sensor.

As for the book suggestions u/thatdude391 gave. Reading is great, but never a substitute of learning through direct experience. The writer's number one job is not to alienating you and make you pay. So it say things that you like to hear. Also, a lot of books do not induce understanding and internalization. The only way to really learn is direct experience. You want to have some skills so you can participate in direct experience such as a good job - then hear what Cuban had to say about what he would do.

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May 8, 2020, 10:56:32 AM

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Startup Lingos To The Point

choice

bold vs stupid

Bold is do the right thing that no one agrees and hard. Stupid is to do the wrong things that a few agrees and impossible.

business plan

business plan

A business plan has two parts, the aspiration and the traction. A business plan is about two parts: how the business runs, and how to start that business.

business plan

business plan and exit

The plan to reach the exit, including unknown uncertainties that will surely happen.

business model

business model

How to turn an interest into a money maker. How to attract people, how to stimulate people to pay, how to make profit, how to make relations, how to keep relations.

value proposition

value proposition

How much do I have to give my audience so they can pay me something in return? What do they value? what problem do they search for answers on your own? I want to solve that problem.

passion

passion

You may like your dream, but if you have to suffer tremendous set backs to realize your dream, would you give up?

passion

passion

You may like to startup, but you may not the business you startup

investment

due diligence

VC or investor check. Include standard items 1. Did you quit your job; 2. Did your cofounder quit his job; 3. is your sales validated.

leadership

leader

Protect and provide. And gets loved.

traction

traction

When you finally connect what you love to do to what a lot of people love to buy. When you can focus all you want and still have unlimited work and fun.

founder

founder and CEO

A founder is not a CEO, until the company is making money and profit enough to stay alive on its own.

chance

Serendipity

After you have a sale or a market hit, you ran into all kinds of accidental discoveries that you never knew exist.

sales

Marketing vs. sales

Marketing makes the first sale happen. The sales department work on the rest.

value

Largesse

A general or CEO or founder who is tolerant and generous. Someone who recognizes own mistakes. Someone with big heart for hiring people better than him.

brand

Brand

Brand means name recognition. A lot of people knows what your company does and what you stand for. Brand is result of long campaign of consistent value provision and media cultivation. Brand helps a company reduce marketing cost.

validation

Validation

Whether there are buyer willing to pay or not. For that to happen you must provide extreme value. The entire startup process would be based on guess before the validation. Validation happens in a market, not on the street.

value

Value

Value is what you give customers beyond the price you charge. Value is effective solution to a problem. The price your customer pays reflects whether the problem is big for them and whether your solution is uniquely effective. Value stems from quality and detailed work.

marketing

Marketing

Marketing means bring your product to the market and bring your message to your customer. Marketing is not salesmanship. Marketing is to penetrate the world of commerce through many barriers and existing networks.

invention

Widgety MVP

A "MVP" wanna-be that is still at the widget stage. Lacking ability to demonstrate effects, only projected effects.

lean

MVB

Minimally viable business, or MVC, minimally viable company. A company that scrapes by, full of guess and hope and no traction and sales. When you give your customers things for free they all take it. But they never pay and you can never rent a table at the market.

MVP

MVP

Minimal viable product. A full artifact of a real product. Something that works ALL THE TIME. You can demonstrate the real effect on real people - not to sell hope. The MVP may not have certain non-essential bells and whistles, but it needs to have appeal value.

value

Customer is king

A business lives at the mercy of its customers. You provide your customers 10 dollars worth of value and they pay you 1 dollar, not knowing that your company only costs 99 cents to provide the item. The value is not the item - the value is what is attached to the item.

cash

Cash Flow Is King

A company needs to have daily activities to keep employees busy and engaged. Otherwise the good ones will leave.

mission

Company culture

Company culture is based on a company making money. Once your workers are paid, they need to have a mission and aspiration so they are not bored everyday and make trouble in the work place.

focus

Take a stand

Tell people what you stand for, clearly and loudly, and those who like you will come to your stand. Others will walk by and shake their heads.

bold

Bold

Veterans do things their way, because they know all the naysayers are just beginners and by-standers.

focus

Onlyness

When you find a full universe within a grain of sand, a life time of work to do by focusing on one thing. There is enough people behind you to support your living and cause.

success

Fame

People's reaction when they know you have done something they could never do And they know this is not accident because you have done it a number of times.

investment

Company valuation

A company valuation is cash investment divided by the percentage. As long as your story is good, the valuation will keep coming, and the investors will keeping falling into the line.

investment

Return on investment

Investors are either behind family fortune (never work with them) or for rich clients as investment vehicle. Both need returns 2-3 times better than stock market darlings.

investment

Due diligence

A thorough validation of everything you said.

solepreneur

solopreneur

Someone wanting to build a lean startup by projecting, offering, and test.

traction

traction

Having found what people want, not just what people may need. Your offering and their acceptance is sure, no longer a guess. You can provide it for profit, and you can indeed making living on it. Traction is sometimes called validation. You are no longer a theater. You have touched nature, and found cash vein.

passion

Passion

Natural love.

mission

mission

Things to make sure the founder will not fall into despair, boredom or get distracted during the long execution even in face of repeated setbacks.

value

Magic

Insanely high value/solution to price ratio

vision

Vision

Ability to walk long distance in the dark.

magic

Disruption

A complete shift of the supply chain and value provision.

disruption

Game changer

A new value provision that causes supply chain to move and customers getting more value for the same price.

mission

Mission

Mission is how to beat loneliness during startup, mission is why your employees get up in the morning.