Startup Life: the practical guide


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Startup Life: the practical guide

  1. 1. Startup LifeThe practical guide to interning in startups.
  2. 2. Startupsare notsmallversionsof largecompanies- Steve Blank
  3. 3. Start today.Internship in a startup is going tochange you.Simply put, you’ll walk back to school adifferent person. You’ll have theability to appreciate building productsand companies. You have become amaker.This book has been put together to giveyou an idea of how you can prepare forworking in a startup.
  4. 4. Read.Startups are always experimenting andthere are no fixed job descriptions so itrequires a certain amount of stamina tomaster your way around the day-to-day.
  5. 5. Crash course to startups.Lucky you. There is a ton of stuffthat you can read in advance. But bewarned - none of it will really prepareyou to the whirlwind you’re about toexperience.Hacker News Best of Y- Combinator Eric Riesnews.ycombinator. Startup Advice startuplessons-com learned.comTechCrunch Fred Wilson’s Tutorials Stanford ecorner.stanford.eduPaul Graham’s Marc Andreessen QuoraEssays Steve Blank Stack OverflowVenture Hacks Both Sides of theMixergy Table – Mark bothsidesofthetable.Signal vs. Noise
  6. 6. BuildFast and fearless execution is the onlything that counts. Most of the tasks you’llhave little or no experience with.Build something self-initiated andcompleted during the internship.Learn to solve problems.
  7. 7. Tips and tricks for getting goingWanted: talent, enthusiasm and a trackrecord of making things happen. Howdo you persuade the startup that you’rethe one? A couple of tips.Designers Developers BusinessWhat: Create a What: Build on the What: Plan ancustom landing page, startups API, fill in inventive, no-moneya 404 page, t-shirt or programming tests, marketing campaign.sticker design. Show develop analytics Show you can do cus-you understand how dashboard or create tomer development orweb is different from a small easter egg gather a list of poten-print. game. Show you tial bloggers to pitch. can build something Demonstrate youWhere: Coroflot, Drib- yourself. understand the role ofble, Forrst. customer service in a Where: GitHub, Bit- small startupExample: Netta Mar- bucketshall wants to work for Where: Use Slide-Instagram Example: David built a share, Quora, Twitter.http://iwannaworkat- site to apply for http://www.david- Example: 37Signals needs another Jason http://37signalsneed
  8. 8. ExperimentIn a startup, nobody will hold yourhand and tell you what to do - so hereare 50 projects for you to tackle. Tellus after the summer how’d it go!
  9. 9. Make a list of 50 most promis- Compile a presskit for youring journalists in the field of your startup. Check outstartup. For general leads, check and 50 most influential futureusers and contact them. Paper prototype a new interface and try it out to at least 100Business students - learn basics customers. Write three actionableof HTML and CSS. items you learned.Start compiling a FAQ site of the Do the same with Balsamiq orproduct. Mockingbird.Make screencasts of the new Organize an open hackday for allfeatures of the product. the local developers.Write an interview of an existing Organize a community micro-customer. Take a look at how event for the users.37Signals does it:productblog. Create a template for a ter.Make custom 404 pages. Or five. Make video-interviews of theInspiration from Github: founders & employees. Learn typography.Analytics. Dive deep into thenumbers. Present what you Try A/B testing something withlearned! the website.Organize a Friday evening beers Clean the pitchdecks. Inspiration& pizza session for the startup. from venturehacks.comDocument the company culture and(photos, examples) and make a noteandpoint.comslideshow. Upload it to Slide-share. Find competitors.Learn to take product shots. Plan a viral marketing campaign,Check out Etsy’s guide: measure the results. Find the coolest hackers andPlan and take press pictures of projects related to your startupall founders. from GitHub.Write a 100, 300 and a 1000 Find the most interesting design-word decsription of your startup ers from Dribbble and see if theyin english and finnish. do contract work.Collect related blogposts that areworth benchmarking.
  10. 10. Build an internal dashboard a la Design stickers and t-shirts.Panic board Make a cheeky robots.txt file. Check outDo customer support for a day, your main job is. Engage andand ask a lot of questions. together a lead generation Benchmark the best internal com-document. munication solutions: Hipchat, Flowdock, Yammer, Basecamp,Update all the support documents. Google SItes etc.Learn to handle Google AdWords,banner advertising, text advertising Try out Reinvigorate, Get Satis-etc. faction, UserVoice, Geckoboard and other hip startup toolsResearch potential partners APIs .and terms of service. Shadow a user for a day to see where the pain points are.Hack the officespace. Make itsomething like Zappos or 37Signals Survey people who returned the product or took a trial and didn’t continue.Plan a Jobs-section. Make yourstartup sound cooler than anyone Digg deep into Quora, Digg, Red-else. dit, Twitter. Identify super-users, twitter-lists, Facebook groups.Watch at least 10 customers useyour product. Communicate your Write a blogpost on your learninglearnings. experiences.Retweet relevant Twitter-posts and Make an internal Spotify list.schedule updates. Gather favour-ites! Make a company blog (check out for hosted orScan and organize or those papers. or scrum. Plan a company summer party. Execute some crazy vision with zero-budget!
  11. 11. For the most ambitious young people, the corporate ladder is obsolete - Paul Graham
  12. 12. MeetLast years interns are happy to sharetheir experiences - shoot us an e-mailat and we’ll intro-duce you. Also, order Startup DigestHelsinki ( to at-tend some of the best startup eventsof Helsinki.
  13. 13. What they say?"In a startup you feel that you have somethingvaluable to give. Together the team can achieveamazing results with less resources! And after awhile its harder and harder to leave and get backto your studies."– Lari, Kiosked, 2011"Ive learned that in a start up, words dont count.Actions speak louder than words."– Anni, Flowdock, 2011“The energy and positive drive at work are simplyirresistible. People are super responsive, prompt,efficient and professional, without losing theirsense of humor and politeness. There is no hier-archy for the sake of hierarchy. “– Nelli, Eucalyptus, 2011“The most influential lesson for me was to let goof planning and asking for permission. In a start-up, you just do stuff. Try something. If it doesn’twork, you try something else. And again andagain.”– Tuuti, Grey Area Labs, 2011
  14. 14. ScheduleThe application period for Startup Lifestarts January 6th and runs until Feb-ruary 29th. All positions will be filledas soon as there is a fit, so don’t waittoo long in apllying. Internships startin mid-May 2012.
  15. 15. My notes:
  16. 16. Go, ship! Silicon Valley Helsinki London New York Berlin Moscow St.Petersburg 2010-2012, Startup LifeContact us at