Note: This is a significantly longer version of an article I recently published on VentureBeat.
“Startups are the sum of the decisions made by the people who run them.” — Uzi Shmilovici, in Data Driven Decisions for Startups.
Uzi’s recent observation that “startups are the sum of decisions made by the people who run them” really resonated with me, and he’s absolutely right — the earlier startups begin collecting data, the better their decisions will be. There’s only one catch: Most startups don’t have any bench strength in Analytics. Continue reading “Why Startup Accelerators and Early Stage VCs Should Provide Centralized Analytics as a Value-Added Service”
Just wanted to share the news that my startup Selloscope got some great coverage by Haydn Shaughnessy over on his Re:Thinking Innovation blog at Forbes.com! It was a pleasure to speak with Mr. Shaughnessy, and while I appreciate the feature, I’m particularly looking forward to following Mr. Shaughnessy’s work on innovation moving forward.
It’s a fact of startup life that you win some and you lose some. Mostly you lose some. I’ve tried my hand a few times at bootstrapping a startup. I have one now that’s just ramping up, but I have to admit that along the way there have been a couple of times I just let a domain expire so I could move on.
Speaking of “moving on,” there’s a hugely popular yet dangerously bad idea out there that’s captivating more and more decision-makers: this idea of “Fail Fast.” I thought Mark Suster had put this one to bed early last year, but amazingly it continues to gain momentum. Here’s why I’m not buying it.
There are four things you absolutely have to know and do if there’s any possibility you’ll be involved in bootstrapping a startup:
1) Define and build your minimum viable product.
2) Aggressively keep your run rate as low as possible.
3) Iterate to find your product/market fit.
4) Don’t die.
If you live in a world where the flavor of the week is the most important thing — and I get it, I’ve worked there myself — then failing fast is a great strategy. Maximize your “successes” and get out while you’re on top.
But if I’ve done my marketing homework, the monthly bills are manageable, and I’m iterating toward market adoption, then as far as I’m concerned those “fail fast” guys can pry my startup from my cold, dead hands.
This past Thursday I attended the Dallas Startup Happy Hour 2.0 to do some networking for my startup, Selloscope. I thought, “I have a Dallas-based startup, these guys are Dallas-based startups, it’ll be great to get out and meet some people.” I was expecting it to be a little difficult to break into the conversations. (Actually it wasn’t so hard.) What I hadn’t counted on was this:
The first question everyone asks is, “Why are you here?”
So I give them the honest answer… I have a startup, I’m in Dallas, doing some networking, etc. etc. Turns out, that is the WRONG answer.
Continue reading “Startup Lesson Learned: Know Why You’re Here”