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Co-Founders
  Lessons Learned




                    @andreasklinger
Co-
Founders
#1 searching
#2 considering
#3 joining
#4 working
(short lessons learned)
@andreasklinger

                           TL;DR:
                        I do startups…




LOOKK.com, die.socialisten.at, seedcamp mentor, leancamp fanboy

        Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/andreasklinger
#1 searching




               @andreasklinger
Searching sucks.
Waiting sucks.
Being dependent sucks.
If I find a technical
co-founder…
There is no “if” in
entrepreneurial
grammar.

And there is
too much stuff to do
to wait or just search…
Startup phases…



    Discovery         Validation       Efficiency        Scale


                                      Acquisition
Problem/Solution                    Company building
                   Product/Market




                                                           Source: Steve Blank’s
                                                          Customer Development
Startup phases…



      Discovery           Validation       Efficiency        Scale


                                          Acquisition
  Problem/Solution                      Company building
                       Product/Market




   “Talking” Land
(problem validation,
  first customers)
Startup phases…



      Discovery         Validation        Efficiency       Scale


                                        Acquisition
  Problem/Solution                    Company building
                     Product/Market




   “Talking” Land    “Public Hacked
(problem validation, Prototype Land”
  first customers) (solution validation,
                     more customers)
Startup phases…



      Discovery         Validation        Efficiency           Scale


                                        Acquisition
  Problem/Solution                    Company building
                     Product/Market




   “Talking” Land    “Public Hacked “Fix that crap” Land
(problem validation, Prototype Land” (Becoming a real
  first customers) (solution validation,  product and
                     more customers)      company,
                                        Fixing legacy,
                                     Channel optimization)
Startup phases…



      Discovery         Validation        Efficiency            Scale


                                        Acquisition
  Problem/Solution                    Company building
                     Product/Market




   “Talking” Land    “Public Hacked “Fix that crap” Land     “Mystery Land”
(problem validation, Prototype Land” (Becoming a real      (Fighting Dragons,
  first customers) (solution validation,  product and       Saving princesses,
                     more customers)      company,                 etc)
                                        Fixing legacy,
                                     Channel optimization)
Startup phases…



 Discovery    Validation   Efficiency   Scale




5-7 Months   3-5 Months




                                        Source: Startup Genome Project
Startup phases…



Discovery        Validation    Efficiency   Scale




  Enough time to
   kill your first
   startup idea.

   You can do dozens of
iterations of your potential
   problem and solution
without ever touching code.
                                            Source: Startup Genome Project
How to kill your
first 100 startup
ideas…
CustDev is the
most efficient way
                                                                  visualizing the solution
to kill your dreams.                 without biasing customers

Ever.




                                                      committing customers


  testing the solution ( www.Keynotopia.com )
Learn
coding.
Coding is not a sacred art, it’s a craft.
Learn
coding.
Coding is not a sacred art, it’s a craft.
Everyone can learn to code on
“hacky prototype level”.
Get
Clients.
Money talks.
Get
Traction.
There are millions of reasons
for not having traction.
But none of them is an excuse.
Good problems
to have:
“I got clients’ money, I need development
support” (real)

“My hacked-together prototype gets too
much traffic, can you help me” (concrete)
#2 considering




                 @andreasklinger
Before
you join:
Write down
your first impressions and concerns.
Positive and negative.
Revise this every two weeks.

People don’t change &
Your gut is always right.
Before
you join:

Have a VERY honest talk
about WHY each of you
wants to do that startup.
Keeping the product abstract
helps in that talk.

Goal: Find real intrinsic motivation
E.g.
Becoming known in the startup “scene”.
Making money.
Being known worldwide.
Building software people use.
Coding in that new language.
Being innovative
Helping underdogs.
Sounds more fun than my agency job.
Play the VC/Startup game.
Why?

Intrinsic Motivation
affects Values and Comfort Zone.

Both affect Strategies.

People only do what people like to do.
See finding a co-founder
as hiring process.

It’s the most expensive job
of the company. (equity intense)

Still people spend less time on assessing
their co-founders than their employees.
Why?
Start
Loose…
Loose projects…
Loose contracts…
Loose hopes…
Loose (but honest) or no promises…
#3 joining




             @andreasklinger
Co-Founding
~= Marriage
54% of all marriages end in divorce.
Co-Founding
~= Marriage
54% of all marriages end in divorce.


Set up vesting.
Co-Founding
~= Marriage
54% of all marriages end in divorce.


Set up vesting (with 6-12 month cliff).
Co-Founding
~= Marriage
54% of all marriages end in divorce.


Set up vesting (with 6-12 month cliff).
(seriously do it)
#4 working


             @andreasklinger
Clear
Leadership
“Some startup founder teams have a
 unified vision. Most have one strong leader.”
              ~ Devin Hunt
Clear
Leadership
“Some startup founder teams have a
 unified vision. Most have one strong leader.”
              ~ Devin Hunt


Be clear who defines (and changes) the vision.
Be clear about who decides in the end, if needed.
Don’t confuse common agreement with democracy.
Make communication
a habit.
Daily calls.
Weekly progress check.
Clear process for each of them
Make communication
a habit.
Daily calls.
Weekly progress check.
Clear process for each of them

E.g. Daily calls
(only one person talks at a time, 10 mins max, discussions are done in a seperate call):
1) What did i do today
2) What am i going to do tomorrow
3) Problems i face
4) Announcements
5) Ways i found to improve (e.g. myself) [idea by buffer]
Co-
Founders
#1 searching
#2 considering
#3 joining
#4 working
(short lessons learned)
recommended presentations

                          by @robfitz on custdev/lean:
 http://leanca.mp/2012/01/intro-to-lean-startup-with-no-buzzwords-by-robfitz/

http://thestartuptoolkit.com/blog/2012/05/how-to-do-and-what-to-expect-from-
                    early-stage-customer-development-sales/



           Pictures by “Where the Wild Things Are” by Warner Bros
                    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386117/
And if they
  haven’t killed
    each other
  they are living
happily ever after…

   @andreasklinger

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Co-Founders - short lessons learned

  • 1. Co-Founders Lessons Learned @andreasklinger
  • 2. Co- Founders #1 searching #2 considering #3 joining #4 working (short lessons learned)
  • 3. @andreasklinger TL;DR: I do startups… LOOKK.com, die.socialisten.at, seedcamp mentor, leancamp fanboy Slides: http://www.slideshare.net/andreasklinger
  • 4. #1 searching @andreasklinger
  • 8. If I find a technical co-founder…
  • 9. There is no “if” in entrepreneurial grammar. And there is too much stuff to do to wait or just search…
  • 10. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale Acquisition Problem/Solution Company building Product/Market Source: Steve Blank’s Customer Development
  • 11. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale Acquisition Problem/Solution Company building Product/Market “Talking” Land (problem validation, first customers)
  • 12. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale Acquisition Problem/Solution Company building Product/Market “Talking” Land “Public Hacked (problem validation, Prototype Land” first customers) (solution validation, more customers)
  • 13. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale Acquisition Problem/Solution Company building Product/Market “Talking” Land “Public Hacked “Fix that crap” Land (problem validation, Prototype Land” (Becoming a real first customers) (solution validation, product and more customers) company, Fixing legacy, Channel optimization)
  • 14. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale Acquisition Problem/Solution Company building Product/Market “Talking” Land “Public Hacked “Fix that crap” Land “Mystery Land” (problem validation, Prototype Land” (Becoming a real (Fighting Dragons, first customers) (solution validation, product and Saving princesses, more customers) company, etc) Fixing legacy, Channel optimization)
  • 15. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale 5-7 Months 3-5 Months Source: Startup Genome Project
  • 16. Startup phases… Discovery Validation Efficiency Scale Enough time to kill your first startup idea. You can do dozens of iterations of your potential problem and solution without ever touching code. Source: Startup Genome Project
  • 17. How to kill your first 100 startup ideas… CustDev is the most efficient way visualizing the solution to kill your dreams. without biasing customers Ever. committing customers testing the solution ( www.Keynotopia.com )
  • 18. Learn coding. Coding is not a sacred art, it’s a craft.
  • 19. Learn coding. Coding is not a sacred art, it’s a craft. Everyone can learn to code on “hacky prototype level”.
  • 21. Get Traction. There are millions of reasons for not having traction. But none of them is an excuse.
  • 22. Good problems to have: “I got clients’ money, I need development support” (real) “My hacked-together prototype gets too much traffic, can you help me” (concrete)
  • 23. #2 considering @andreasklinger
  • 24. Before you join: Write down your first impressions and concerns. Positive and negative. Revise this every two weeks. People don’t change & Your gut is always right.
  • 25. Before you join: Have a VERY honest talk about WHY each of you wants to do that startup.
  • 26. Keeping the product abstract helps in that talk. Goal: Find real intrinsic motivation
  • 27. E.g. Becoming known in the startup “scene”. Making money. Being known worldwide. Building software people use. Coding in that new language. Being innovative Helping underdogs. Sounds more fun than my agency job. Play the VC/Startup game.
  • 28. Why? Intrinsic Motivation affects Values and Comfort Zone. Both affect Strategies. People only do what people like to do.
  • 29. See finding a co-founder as hiring process. It’s the most expensive job of the company. (equity intense) Still people spend less time on assessing their co-founders than their employees. Why?
  • 30. Start Loose… Loose projects… Loose contracts… Loose hopes… Loose (but honest) or no promises…
  • 31. #3 joining @andreasklinger
  • 32. Co-Founding ~= Marriage 54% of all marriages end in divorce.
  • 33. Co-Founding ~= Marriage 54% of all marriages end in divorce. Set up vesting.
  • 34. Co-Founding ~= Marriage 54% of all marriages end in divorce. Set up vesting (with 6-12 month cliff).
  • 35. Co-Founding ~= Marriage 54% of all marriages end in divorce. Set up vesting (with 6-12 month cliff). (seriously do it)
  • 36. #4 working @andreasklinger
  • 37. Clear Leadership “Some startup founder teams have a unified vision. Most have one strong leader.” ~ Devin Hunt
  • 38. Clear Leadership “Some startup founder teams have a unified vision. Most have one strong leader.” ~ Devin Hunt Be clear who defines (and changes) the vision. Be clear about who decides in the end, if needed. Don’t confuse common agreement with democracy.
  • 39. Make communication a habit. Daily calls. Weekly progress check. Clear process for each of them
  • 40. Make communication a habit. Daily calls. Weekly progress check. Clear process for each of them E.g. Daily calls (only one person talks at a time, 10 mins max, discussions are done in a seperate call): 1) What did i do today 2) What am i going to do tomorrow 3) Problems i face 4) Announcements 5) Ways i found to improve (e.g. myself) [idea by buffer]
  • 41. Co- Founders #1 searching #2 considering #3 joining #4 working (short lessons learned)
  • 42. recommended presentations by @robfitz on custdev/lean: http://leanca.mp/2012/01/intro-to-lean-startup-with-no-buzzwords-by-robfitz/ http://thestartuptoolkit.com/blog/2012/05/how-to-do-and-what-to-expect-from- early-stage-customer-development-sales/ Pictures by “Where the Wild Things Are” by Warner Bros http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0386117/
  • 43. And if they haven’t killed each other they are living happily ever after… @andreasklinger