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.