101 Lessons Learned for Startups

7,585
-1

Published on

A collection of my real-life experience of running startups. Hope others can find this useful.

Published in: Technology, Business
2 Comments
12 Likes
Statistics
Notes
No Downloads
Views
Total Views
7,585
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
17
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
433
Comments
2
Likes
12
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2434
  • 101 Lessons Learned for Startups

    1. 1. 101<br />Lessons Learned<br />for<br />Startups<br />Andy Harjanto<br />
    2. 2. Collected from others’ and my<br />experience as running startups <br />
    3. 3. More details, please visit<br />Shift Happens Blog<br />http://www.andyharjanto.com<br />
    4. 4. Why listening to me? <br />I’m just one of you<br />Not a startup celebrity, <br />Nor a superstar genius<br />
    5. 5. Building astartup today<br />is not the same as <br />building it a decade ago<br />Shift Happens<br />
    6. 6. Down Trend <br />Time to Market<br />Development Cost<br />Capital Expenditure <br />Distribution Cost<br />Fund Size<br />Better Tools<br />Cloud Computing<br />Modern Programming<br />Social Media<br />
    7. 7. Up Trend <br />Market Size<br />Competition<br />Noise Level<br />Impatience<br />Globalization<br />Social Media<br />Easier Barrier to Entry<br />
    8. 8. Lessons Learned Topics <br />we’ll be discussing<br />
    9. 9. Most of topics discussed<br />are also applicable <br />to “startup” teams <br />inside a company<br />
    10. 10. Thinking Starting up? <br />
    11. 11. 1<br />Do you have what it takes? <br />http://bit.ly/5dGJFb<br />to be a good<br />Entrepreneur<br />Risk Taker<br />Competitive<br />Resilience <br />Tenacity<br />
    12. 12. 2<br />Prepare to unlearn<br />what you’ve learned<br />2010s Startups have to do<br />many things backward and<br />unconventional<br />more later…<br />
    13. 13. 3<br />Your “killer” idea is just a hypothesis <br />Talk to potential customers, friends,<br />family without writing a single code<br />
    14. 14. 4<br />No need to perfect your idea<br />It’s almost a guarantee to change<br />
    15. 15. 5<br />Careful for creating a new market<br />Less competition, <br />yes, but…<br />It’s a lot longer <br />to create <br />than you think <br />
    16. 16. 6<br />Some games are in town really over. Don’t compete<br />Let the big boys play<br />
    17. 17. 7<br />Ride the wave, <br />Be the first<br />You have millions<br />of potential usersfrom day one<br />Facebook Apps<br />Twitter Based Services/Tools<br />
    18. 18. 8<br />At the end of the day, does your product solve problem?<br />Remember, <br />just cool won’t cut it <br />Can you retain users?<br />
    19. 19. 9<br />A 5 year business plan? How about 5 day operating plan?<br />Startup is operating<br />under extreme uncertainty<br />
    20. 20. 10<br />Targeting Consumer Market..<br />..seems so binary<br />More often than not, you have to be BIG fast <br />(millions of users) in order to succeed<br />OR Go Home<br />
    21. 21. 11<br />Targeting Business Market<br />…be prepared for long cycles<br />Work with channel partners, sales, <br />build relationship.<br />
    22. 22. 12<br />Your Plan: Getting revenue from advertising… Think again<br />Unless you’re to top 5 sites<br />in your market, you’re <br />almost nobody<br />
    23. 23. 13<br />Overnight success is a myth<br />Build a long runway<br />Media loves <br />overnight <br />success stories<br />All you heard is, <br />6 month start; 1 million users <br />
    24. 24. 14<br />Don’t sweat over your <br />competitors<br />They could be even <br />more clueless than <br />you are<br />
    25. 25. 15<br />Going against entrenched players? <br />They resist to change <br />Provide a product that solves<br />problems in a different, <br />better way. <br />
    26. 26. 16<br />Be wary of a small number of <br />competitors in your market <br />It’s either you’re genius <br />OR there is no market<br />
    27. 27. 17<br />Sadly, luck plays roles in your startup success too<br />Your product is ahead of its time<br />Celebrities love your product<br />It’s the economy, stupid<br />
    28. 28. 18<br />Gauge market interest first via <br />Social Media<br />Don’t worry about someone <br />stealing your ideas<br />
    29. 29. 19<br />Be prepared for extreme rollercoaster emotional rides <br />Low of the lows<br />High of the highs<br />
    30. 30. 20<br />Be prepared for rejection after rejection<br />No one cares about your startup<br />Persistenceis <br />the key<br />
    31. 31. 21<br />Just Do-It, you’re ahead of<br />99% of people<br />Too many people just talk <br />with zero action<br />
    32. 32. Money Matters<br />
    33. 33. 22<br />If you start a startup to get rich, you’re in the wrong business<br />Only few will make it “big”<br />Change The World<br />Challenges<br />Solves Problems<br />Independence<br />
    34. 34. 23<br />Startup is a very high risk business <br />It does not make<br />sense from <br />financial<br />perspective<br />Many ways to minimize the risk <br />
    35. 35. 24<br />Be prepared for at least 18 months without pay & benefits <br />Don’t jump<br />before<br />you’re sure<br />Too many jump and abandon<br />before fully developed<br />
    36. 36. 25<br />Always operate under assumption of no investors<br />Got change for<br />my startup?<br />
    37. 37. 26<br />More than anything else, <br />tractions are what investors looking for<br />Traffic<br />Number of users<br />Number of subscriptions<br />Can business scale?<br />Growth<br />Retention Rate<br />
    38. 38. 27<br />Knowing when to fold<br />More of art than science<br />Gut Feeling will tell you<br />Measuring your tractions is a good indicator<br />
    39. 39. 28<br />In many countries, government grants are plenty for startups<br />Governments encourage<br />high tech companies to <br />have presents locally, create<br />local jobs, and national<br />pride<br />
    40. 40. 29<br />Your passionate user are sometimes your best investors<br />
    41. 41. 30<br />Watch your burn rate very carefully. You’re on diet<br />No Physical Office<br />Skype (Free)<br />Free Email, Docs<br />FreeSoftware<br />Open Source<br />Ramen profitability<br />
    42. 42. 31<br />Less money gives you sense<br />urgency and boosts creativity <br />It’s amazing to see how human<br /> survival instinct kicks in<br />
    43. 43. 32<br />Charge for the service <br />from day 1 is not a bad strategy<br />You’ll get <br />very passionate customers<br />who believe in your product <br />
    44. 44. 33<br />Spend generously on tools, books, chance to network. <br />Your ROI is excellence<br />
    45. 45. 34<br />Don’t optimize your product<br />For VC<br />VC: <br />How big is the market size? <br />Superstar developers? <br />At the end of the day, <br />tractionmatters the most <br />
    46. 46. 35<br />Get into partner programs<br />with the big guys <br />Many offer free software <br />and services<br />
    47. 47. Building A Team <br />
    48. 48. 36<br />Find a great co-founder<br />Share the same values<br />Compliment skills<br />Check and balances<br />
    49. 49. 37<br />1st Stage: Hire Designer and Community Manager, instead<br />This could also be You<br />Gauge Market Interest<br />Ideas Validation<br />Quick Prototypes<br />
    50. 50. 38<br />2nd Stage: Hire Great Developers, Testers<br />This could also be You<br />Knows Scalability<br />Supportability<br />Quality Code<br />Security<br />
    51. 51. 39<br />Hire for Culture Fit & Passionate<br />Set min-bar for Intelligent <br />Gauge Market Interest<br />Interview Process: <br />Make the candidate as if<br />an employee for a day<br />Ideas Validation<br />
    52. 52. 40<br />Hire temp, consultants to keep<br />burn rate low<br />Gauge Market Interest<br />Channel Partners<br />Product Videos<br />Marketing materials<br />
    53. 53. 41<br />A very short daily meeting is much<br />better than a long weekly meeting<br />Human needs <br />constant reminder<br />of progress, accomplishment<br />and togetherness<br />
    54. 54. 42<br />Run effective meetingin<br />22 minutes<br />http://bit.ly/caXq6h<br />
    55. 55. 43<br />Don’t grow fast, until you<br />get to the product-fit phase<br />Gauge Market Interest<br />Keep in in quick tight cycles of <br />build, validate, learn<br />
    56. 56. 44<br />666 is the number to avoid<br />In a given startup project, nomore than <br />6people<br />6months<br />6day a week<br />
    57. 57. 45<br />Everyone should be CEO of<br />something<br />Promote a culture of <br />Veni, Vidi, Vici<br />I saw the problem<br />I own the problem<br />I solve the problem<br />
    58. 58. 46<br />Be decisive; majority of decisions are irreversible<br />Heard on the street: <br />“An hour meeting with 7 people <br />to decide one API change<br />What a waste!”<br />
    59. 59. 47<br />External dependencies are kiss of death for startups<br />They’re not moving <br />at the same speed<br />Reorg does happen<br />They can easily out-live you<br />
    60. 60. 48<br />Run your team on POT<br />(progress, ownership, transparency)<br />http://bit.ly/6XT3NG<br />
    61. 61. Designing Product <br />
    62. 62. 49<br />Why building an awesome product no body wants?<br />“Build it, they may notcome”<br />Talk to customers, <br />before writing a single code<br />
    63. 63. 50<br />Fail-Fast; and<br />Get Traction-Fast<br />Really means Fail-Fast on bad ideas<br />It does not mean abandoning project too <br />quickly<br />
    64. 64. 51<br />Quick build, validate, measure and learn. <br />It’s in our engineer DNA that we<br />like to build a perfect system<br />In an early stage, <br />Resist to be perfect<br />
    65. 65. 52<br />Can you tell the difference:<br />Progress vs. Wasted Progress?<br />Run tight, <br />small loops of<br />Ideas (Hypothesis), <br />Validate/Measure and<br />Build<br />
    66. 66. 53<br />Don’t just accumulate work done without measuring<br />Measurement will give you <br />feedbackto continue path, or to<br />change direction <br />Retention Rate<br />User Traffic<br />Bounce Rate<br />User Happiness<br />Conversion Rate<br />
    67. 67. 54<br />It’s OK to write messy codes<br />during validation process<br />
    68. 68. 55<br />Your spec should be UI<br />prototypes<br />Written spec is easily <br />obsolete <br />The cost of writing,<br />maintaining<br />UI prototype is minimal <br />and fun<br />
    69. 69. 56<br />Suppress many of your ideas<br />It’s not a feature to feature<br />competition<br />It’s who solves <br />the problems the best<br />
    70. 70. 57<br />Just build it now and fast. <br />No need for optimization yet.<br />Your code will likely<br />be a throw away<br />as you gather feedback<br />
    71. 71. 58<br />Concentrate on core scenarios<br />Make it great!<br />No place for mediocrity <br />People either love it <br />Or hate it!<br />
    72. 72. 59<br />Ignore your 10% cases.<br />That will take 90% of your energy<br />
    73. 73. 60<br />Eat your own dog food daily<br />Use your own product<br />regularly<br />In the early phase, <br />It’s better than hiring <br />a full-time tester <br />
    74. 74. 61<br />Boost virality, make sharing a click a way<br />People love to share<br />
    75. 75. 62<br />Boost retention rate.<br />Human is a curios being <br />Add a few analytics, news<br />about themselves and friends<br />e.g.“your doc has<br />been viewed 5 times”<br />
    76. 76. 63<br />Boost retention rate.<br />Human craves for attentions<br />RIM (Blackberry), Twitter, Facebook do this perfectly<br />They make users addicted to their product, by telling<br />them – “You’re important”<br />
    77. 77. 64<br />Minimize Frictions<br />Users are “very lazy” nowadays<br />One click<br />One minute setup<br />No installation<br />
    78. 78. 65<br />Don’t give user options<br />Set appropriate default<br />They have enough<br />other things to<br />worry<br />
    79. 79. 66<br />Ship your product with a minimum feature set<br />Enough to showcase<br />Your core scenarios<br />Add features<br />later after<br />after undisputable<br />feedback<br />
    80. 80. 67<br />After iterations, often ask what features to drop, instead of add <br />Remember, your ideas are just<br />a hypothesis; willing to let go<br />Pivot on your core beliefs, and<br />go to other directions appropriately<br />
    81. 81. 68<br />What Microsoft, Google, Apple can’t afford, but you can? <br />They can’t ship a crappy product,<br />even for their beta<br />They have reputation to maintain, <br />You don’t!<br />Use it to run <br />a tight feedback loop to<br />improve your product<br />
    82. 82. 69<br />Without instant gratification<br />Users drop like a fly<br />First 60 second experience is critical <br />I saw dead users leaving<br />
    83. 83. 70<br />Create a product that 10x<br />better<br />Dare to be different<br />Stand up and get noticed<br />The world is a very noisyplace<br />(and getting worse by day…) <br />
    84. 84. 71<br />Collect less, better privacy,<br />security. <br />Many analytics tools are good<br />enough to measure user behavior<br />
    85. 85. 72<br />Don’t put any features, concepts that you can’t explain in 15 secs<br />Does your product <br />ship with you? <br />Don’t make<br />user think<br />
    86. 86. 73<br />Reach Product-Market Fit Phase. Celebrate, Work Harder.<br />40%<br />will be upset <br />If your service discontinues<br />
    87. 87. 74<br />Watch out for your<br />site performance<br />Users have no patience <br />for sluggish sites<br />
    88. 88. 75<br />Do a side project/experiment.<br />Minimize your risk<br />Many side projects <br />made it big <br />
    89. 89. 76<br />Use Cloud Computing<br />Let’s not be IT guys<br />Let’s focus on building<br />great product<br />Sleep better at night<br />
    90. 90. 77<br />Building a new walled garden,<br />community is really, really hard<br />Piggy back existing ones<br />facebook<br />linked-in<br />twitter<br />
    91. 91. Customers, Where r u?<br />
    92. 92. 78<br />Never too early to start your <br />marketing campaign<br />How about Day 1?<br />Or even 90 days before<br />valuable contents<br />quality<br />comments<br />
    93. 93. 79<br />Show the world what you’re <br />doing. Stealth Mode is counter intuitive. <br />No need for private beta<br />Are you worried someone<br />stealing your ideas?<br />Really?<br />Are you building<br />space shuttle?<br />
    94. 94. 80<br />There is no such thing is product launching for startups<br />Continuous <br />improvement<br />Unless you’re Apple.<br />
    95. 95. 81<br />Approaching Press. Do you have unique, interesting stories?<br />They’re not your writers<br />Build a human <br />connection first<br />
    96. 96. 82<br />Don’t have good retention rate,<br />Don’t go to press yet!<br />News<br />published<br />Traffic<br />Wasted<br />
    97. 97. 83<br />Most effective way to acquire customers? Your passionate customers<br />Good news, travel fast and far<br />
    98. 98. 84<br />Save your money on press releases. Ineffective.<br />Different countries, however, it could be different stories<br />
    99. 99. 85<br />SEO, Social Media takes time to develop<br />Millions of others <br />are doing it; <br />how you stand out?<br />
    100. 100. 86<br />Viral is not a strategy<br />People are immune. Mutate! <br />Unless your<br />Product is <br />irresistibly good<br />
    101. 101. 87<br />Simple pricing is almost always better than complex one<br />Have 1-3 pricing<br />options as opposed <br />to complex pricing<br />choices.<br />Customers want predictable costs,<br />not many options <br />
    102. 102. Going Global<br />
    103. 103. 88<br />US is a crowded place. <br />Go play outside<br />Less competitors<br />Growing market<br />Of course, there is a catch…<br />
    104. 104. 89<br />Partner locally. Remote management is an illusion<br />Close, personal relations<br />often are prerequisite <br />outside US<br />
    105. 105. 90<br />Global team communication <br />is easy. Culture fit is hard<br />
    106. 106. 91<br />In many countries, social status is more important<br />…than your product itself. <br />“Your product sucks,<br />But X uses it, so I use it”<br />
    107. 107. 92<br />One size does not fit all<br />Package your product <br />differently in <br />other countries<br />based on market<br />demand<br />
    108. 108. Miscellaneous<br />
    109. 109. 93<br />Nice guy finishes first<br />… in the long run<br />
    110. 110. 94<br />Admit mistakes, start from the top. We’re all learning<br />
    111. 111. 95<br />Set expectation to team<br />Changes are constant<br />We’re a startup<br />not a manufacturer <br />
    112. 112. 96<br />You’ll be surprised, many people<br />are routing for small guys<br />Many offer <br />a helping hand<br />
    113. 113. 97<br />Whom Microsoft, Google, Apple should be worried?<br />You<br />They may have the muscles, but you can run faster<br />Few of youwill be the next them<br />
    114. 114. 98<br />Startup is not a job<br />It’s a life style. It’s drive and <br />passion to change the world <br />with little financial reward.<br />Yes, few made it very big<br />Yes, it has been known that startup entrepreneurs have genetic defects <br />
    115. 115. 99<br />It’s a growing pain experience with big personal rewards<br />
    116. 116. 100<br />Subscribe to these excellent blogs, vlogs, podcasts<br /><ul><li>Paul Graham http://bit.ly/pgqy8
    117. 117. Steve Blank http://bit.ly/juvQr
    118. 118. Venture Hacks http://bit.ly/1BOE8x
    119. 119. Both Side of Table http://bit.ly/EsjT7
    120. 120. Mixergyhttp://bit.ly/rgDKP</li></li></ul><li>101<br />It’s a blank canvas… <br />What are you waiting for!<br />
    121. 121. For more presentationslike this….<br />Please visit: <br />http://www.slideshare.net/Guppers/presentations<br />
    122. 122. Contact me <br />mailto:andy@gestone.com<br />
    1. A particular slide catching your eye?

      Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.

    ×