101 Lessons Learned for Startups
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A collection of my real-life experience of running startups. Hope others can find this useful.

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

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101 Lessons Learned for Startups Presentation Transcript

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