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Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
Internet startups101
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Internet startups101

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This is a presentation about internet startup basics I gave at Trade School Vancouver's launch day.

This is a presentation about internet startup basics I gave at Trade School Vancouver's launch day.

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  • 1. Internet Startups 101 Ian MacKinnon (@imackinn)Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 2. What is this Talk It’s for People • who have an idea for a mobile or web app • looking to work for a startup • just want to learnSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 3. Warning • There is a lot of opinion in this • A lot of relying on industry leaders • The best people still only success 10-20% of the time • I cite where I can, but some bits of wisdom are hard to pin-downSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 4. What is a Startup? • "The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth." - Paul Graham • A coffee shop is not a startup, but a coffee chain expanding, or something that distributes coffee to thousands of households is • We mostly talk tech because nothing scales quite as easily as softwareSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 5. So, you have an idea...Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 6. STOP! • Stop building your idea, start solving a problem • Be careful not to have a “made up problem” • “Customers don’t care about your solution, they care about their problems”- Dave McClureSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 7. • “Get out of the building” -Steve Blank • Who needs what you’re making? • Why isn’t someone already doing this? • What are people forced to do now that your product does not exist? • Will people pay for a solution to this pain?Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 8. but but but...it’s secret • You’re so much more likely to be making something only you will want than someone stealing your idea • Nobody credible will sign an NDA to hear your ideaSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 9. What you don’t need to worry about yet • Name • Logo • Business titles • Business cards (sorta) • Business plansSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 10. But, I need something, right? • Launchrock.com • Unbounce.com • Get some seed people; build a mailing listSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 11. Incorporating • You’ll need to eventually, but the best companies tend to be products first • Don’t do a partnership, simple corporate structureSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 12. Getting Started • What is the absolute minimum thing you make to validate your idea as being useful? • Put the big assumptions up front • “Minimum Viable Product”Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 13. Minimum Viable Product • “The MVP is a version of a new product which allows a team to collect the maximum amount of validated learning about customers with the least effort” • Doesn’t have to be public • Deployed to early adoptersSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 14. But, I’m not a ProgrammerSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 15. • You can’t outsource your core competence • If you don’t have tech in-house, you won’t be able to move as fast • Investors won’t take you seriously if you’re dependent on an outside firmSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 16. Options for Lone Non- Technical Founders • Find old friend who’s a programmer • Hire Contractor to make an MVP • Learn yourself (codeacademy, BCIT, etc) • Network, but tech events are filled with people like you • Sell something firstSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 17. Partnerships • Don’t split up company right away • Make sure commitments are taken into account • Reverse vesting is your friend. Most investors will ask for it anywaySaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 18. Ok, back to making stuff....Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 19. Programming Languages • Unfortunately, this is an early decision that has a lot of long-term implications • “The single worst strategic mistake that any software company can make: they decided to rewrite everything from scratch” -Joel Spolsky • Determines who you can hire, not just technically, but culturallySaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 20. Mobile • iOS => Objective-C • Android => Java • Phonegap • TitaniumSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 21. Web • Ruby on Rails • DJango/Python • PHP • Java • .NETSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 22. Launching • The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. • You can try for TechCrunch, but sometimes mid- level bloggers are your sweet-spotSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 23. But what if it sucks? • “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched it too late” -Reid Hoffman • “Your #1 competitor starting out will always be the BACK button.” -Garry Tan • If you launch a crappy product, nobody is going to knowSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 24. Distribution • “Get distribution or die trying” -Parveen Kaler • How will your users find you? • Who is going to be your first paying customer? • You pay for users or they refer each otherSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 25. Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 26. Pricing • Don’t give your initial customers it for free • “You get the real feedback after you ask for $20” -Dan Martell • Don’t ask “What would you pay for this?” • “You’ve found the market price when buyers complain but still play” -Paul GrahamSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 27. Validated Learning • “If you launch it and see what happens, you’ll succeed -- at seeing what happens” - Eric Ries • “The truth is apolitical” -Google AphorismSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 28. Pirate Metrics (Dave McClure) • Acquisition • Activation • Retention • Referral • RevenueSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 29. Iterating • “Your startup is essentially an organization built to search for a repeatable and scalable business model” -Steve Blank • Pivot if necessary • “It’s not the customers job to know what they want” -Steve JobsSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 30. Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 31. Traction • Loosely Defined, but you can tell when you have it • Month-over-month growth • Customer/market fit • Ideally a “Hockey stick”Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 32. Let me know what it’s like to have traction :-(Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 33. InvestingSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 34. Should you take Investment? • Might allow you to quit your day job • Investors can ask questions that are illegal for employers to ask • Software costs are ridiculously cheap • You’ll need large market, scalability, exit plan, value proposition, unfair advantageSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 35. Investment Concepts • Equity • Convertible notes • X% of company doesn’t mean X% of control • Accredited Investors • Dumb Money vs. Smart MoneySaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 36. Seed Stage • 25k isn’t hard to get for credible teams • A lot of accelerators popping up • Serious gap in 100,000 to 1,000,000 range in Canada • Angellist.coSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 37. Raising is Hard • There are outlier stories, but those come from established people or teams with crazy traction • Takes months • “Traction trumps everything”Saturday, 19 January, 13
  • 38. Other Funding Sources • SR&ED • IRAP • CMFSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 39. Exiting • Get Acquired • acqui-hires • technology • strategic • IPOSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 40. Working for a Startup • If you’re not a dev, you’re gonna have a tough time • If you’re a dev, you’re gonna have to adjust expectations • Right after a company raises money is a great time • Hire slow, fire fastSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 41. ...more reading • Thoughtbot Playbook • Hacker News • Paul Graham Essays • 4 Steps to the epiphany • The Lean Startup • 500 Startups BlogSaturday, 19 January, 13
  • 42. Questions?Saturday, 19 January, 13

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