By no means am I an expert in startups and I realize there’s a lot I don’t know. However, there’s a few things I do understand now which I didn’t when I started. Here’s a few big ones for me.
1) When you have a meeting with someone and they ask if you want an introduction, it’s up to you to follow up afterwards and make it happen. All you need to do is send an email reminding them. e.g.
Hey, thanks again for taking the time to meet me. As we discussed, you were going to introduce me to Person A. Cheers, Andrew
If you don’t follow up, that’s fine, no one’s going to think less of you. But the opportunity to meet that person will be gone and you’ll miss out.
2) Startups fudge their numbers. Whether it’s complete fabrication or just getting creative with the definition of a “user”, the numbers you hear are almost certainly inflated. That’s why a number at any given time is useless, but movement over the long run is more telling. It becomes a lot harder to fudge growth when you have exponential compounding in play.
3) Any idea that seems like any easy way to make a money is a terrible idea. There’s no quick bucks anymore. Just hard, gruelling marathons and harder, more gruelling marathons. If you’re not willing to spend years working on your idea, you’ll fail. Writing a blog post on your company’s industry should be exciting. When it’s not, consider that a flag.
4) Setting up problem & solution interviews with warm leads is way more enjoyable than cold calling. Just make sure these “friendlies” give it to you straight. It’s natural to try to avoid hurting someone’s feelings when you know them or have been connected by a friend.
5) Seeing people enjoy your product in person is one of the best feelings in life. Most people don’t realize how terrifying it is to build something and put it out there. After spending so much time and effort on it, it feels like an extension of you. So for you & your product to get validated, it’s incredible. Something everyone should experience in life.