You can’t build a $5B startup without a bias towards action.
Patience is a virtue but it’s one rarely associated with entrepreneurship.
In a world where startups try to ramp headcount as quickly as possible, Noah deliberately kept the team tight for nearly a decade. You need less (money/people/products) than you think to build a great business.
Olo was a superlative solution, but adoption was slow at the start.
Then Uber came on to the scene and…
“Product Manager” might be the most fluid title in tech.
It can mean anything from a spreadsheet-obsessed APM at Google to a savant who can create new user paradigms from scratch.
But what makes for a good product leader at a *startup?*
Product Managers like to think of themselves as “CEOs of the product,” but not all CEOs make effective entrepreneurs.
Here’s what I look for in product folks who want to lead a <10 person startup.
The most impressive product founders have a strong point of view that cascades from the demo, to the deck, even…
Few successful founders drop out of college, found a successful company, and stick with it for their careers.
Most entrepreneurs are going to have some period of time working for someone else.
Here’s how to make the most of it if entrepreneurship is your long-term goal.
Fuzzy projects, like launching a new territory, or working on a skunkworks initiative, are often avoided by corporate strivers. The lack of clear success metrics can stall career progression, but they’re great prep for future founders. Prove that you can ‘run through walls’ and have someone who can sing your praises.
By Eric Paley
How do you bootstrap a $1B+ hardware startup?
SimpliSafe founder Chad Laurans recently shared some wisdom with our portfolio:
🪤 Avoid the “trap of perpetual unreadiness”
🎯 Have a hiring “hit rate”
♻️ Start succession planning from day one
🎯 Have a hiring “hit rate”
If you’re scaling quickly, you’re not going to hire perfectly. However, many managers fear losing face by admitting they made a bad hiring decision. Give them a permission structure to end poor fits before they poison your organization.
☑️ Reference people early
Chad urges hiring managers to call references as…
By Brittany Brody
I’m a venture capitalist.
I’m a lawyer.
I’m not a cat…
…but I play one on Instagram and TikTok.
I want to share what I’ve learned about the influencer economy by getting my orange cat named Dobby to 60K+ followers across both platforms.
I knew people might like pics of cute cat with enormous ears — but I had no idea they’d send msgs asking about her food & litter box preferences. Celebrity kitten is an absurd phrase, but it’s a real & valuable phenomenon.
Dobby’s “fame” revealed how much people invest in parasocial personalities. 60K fans…
A friend ran marketing for a startup famous for its cult-like workout classes and zealous members.
In the early days, this person had a limited budget — unable to buy ads, she pored over customer service logs and made a horrifying find: Their towels smelled bad…
The towels were plush and freshly laundered, of course, but the detergent’s scent was unpleasant.
The hour spent picking a new laundry soap likely had a bigger impact on the brand’s NPS score than any single hour of brand strategy that week.
Marketing success at a startup, especially at the early…
By Eric Paley
Founders, if I told you that you could:
🧱 Increase productivity
♻️ Reduce turnover
🤗 Build loyalty
All in 15 minutes a day, you might think I was peddling snake oil.
There’s actually an easy way to do it.
Your best people *are* being recruited.
They’re being offered better titles, better pay, and the rush of being courted.
If you’re not making them feel recognized and valued at your company, they will take one of these offers.
Don’t lose them to a lack of attention.
I understand why founders let this slip. They have urgent…
“Product-market fit” has a mythical quality. Many believe PMF is a dragon to be slain as you storm the castle en route to taking your place at the round table with Sir Elon and Lord Bezos. Those of us that have operated know the truth — the dragon takes many forms.
Customers *say* they love the product you describe and pledge to pay handsomely for it when ready. But when presented with a product that differs from their vision — even slightly — their interest in writing a check disappears.
Some startups find PMF before they build…
I recently shared a thread urging founders to preserve their exit optionality by limiting the amount of capital they raise.
Read this post if you would prefer to own more of your startup.
Skip it if you want to help your VC to buy another yacht.
The easiest way to maintain ownership is to put off the point at which you raise capital so you have more heft when you do. Bootstrapping in the early days will also train “resourcefulness muscles” and limit time spent on unproductive activities.
Today, many seed rounds are being raised based on…
Founder 1: Runs startup for five years. Sells for ~$100M. Makes $30M.
Founder 2: Running startup for ten years (and counting). Valued at ~$1B. Founder shares valued at $30M.
Which founder would you rather be?
There is no easy — or correct — answer to this question. These founders have different life situations and ambitions. However, I don’t think VCs do enough to highlight the financial risks founders take by getting on the fundraising treadmill.
Raising venture capital increases the theoretical value of a startup and the paper wealth of its founders. It also reduces the number…
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