How to not bork up your startup

So you’ve done it. You quit your job and are working 18 hour days on a new venture. It’s great, you’re doing what you want, you’re scared and excited. It’s great.

You add some people to help. They are a virtual team because the best people out there don’t have to move to be part of the team and you want the best.

Then you loose your original vision in feature creep.

18 months later, you have a bloated product that doesn’t really do anything and is 12 months from ever shipping.

Sound familiar?

I thought so.

I’ve done a number of startups. Some succeeded, some went down in a pile of flaming crap. All were worth it. Here’s what I learned. Okay here’s a few things of the 10 bazillion lessons I learned.

  • To succeed you must lead these people you brought in. It’s your vision, keep them on your vision. They wont know how to do it. You can’t say “work on what you want”.
  • No whining. If you whine, the people who work for you will whine to each other. And yes, they’ll be whining about you.
  • People are not going to get it. You will have to cram it down their throats. Get a few poeple to LOVE it and they’ll tell all of their friends, who will tell all of… Once a few people get it, it may just explode into a viral phenominion that will have you calling me to figure your how the heck you’re going to scale this sucker.
  • Keep it simple. Period. It doesn’t need that new feature for people to use it. Your sales guy is making an excuse because he doesn’t know how to sell.
  • Stop having meetings. Or do what google does and limit meetings to XX number of minutes. Say it and get back to work.
  • Lead from the front, not from the back with a whip.
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