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Startup Engineering Flashpoint Batch 3 Better Startups Faster


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Startup Engineering is a new way to do startups. At Flashpoint we "teach" founders how to achieve success faster. Flashpoint operates like an accelerator, but what we do with our teams is unlike what happens at accelerators and incubators. We have figured out what an entrepreneur needs to know to do founder's work. This is the presentation I gave at the mentor orientation session for Flashpoint Batch 3.

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Startup Engineering Flashpoint Batch 3 Better Startups Faster

  1. 1. Startup Engineering™ Curriculum Overview: Batch 3 Merrick Furst Georgia Tech @merrickfurst
  2. 2. We Create Startup Value Better Startups Faster™• Reduce Risk• Reduce Cost• Higher Quality Successes
  3. 3. Let Me Give You the DishFounders tell us a zillion customers are going topay a gazillion dollars for what they are building.We know they don’t know or are most likely wrong. How do we know?
  4. 4. Only Four Things to Get Right Business Model Technology People FinancingIf only it was so simple …
  5. 5. Startup Risk Categories• Ambiguity – We have no idea … what could happen?• Uncertainty – Something could happen, but will it?• Inaccuracy – It will happen, but even close to my plan?
  6. 6. Inner LoopIdentify Next Most Important Risk Ambiguity Come up with theories Develop hypotheses Experiments to disconfirm Uncertainty Define events Tests for likelihoods Inaccuracy Define Indicators Runs for measurements
  7. 7. Startup EngineeringStart with a “Theory” Until there is a real model (or 4 months up): Pick next biggest risk Ambiguity or Uncertainty or Inaccuracy? Experiment or test or measure Reconsider the theory and the model [Lots of these are running in parallel]Rapidly accumulate value by reducing riskAim for a funding milestone
  8. 8. Timing Demo Days (clever squiggle is Paul Graham’s)Ideal Must Cross
  9. 9. What We “Teach” at Flashpoint Startup Engineering• How to generate theories about markets, channels, relationships, resource needs, activities, partnerships, revenues and costs• How to recognize and identify the most important risks• How to construct hypotheses and run experiments (these are, e.g., “structured meetings and calls”)• How to describe events and test likelihoods (eg, “call led to a meeting”, “we closed an x”, “a user activated”, …)• How to take measurements, and what indicators to measureHow to reverse engineer model & product™ and calculate pivots™ Unique to Flashpoint and Startup Engineering Business meets Science crossed with Behavioral Decision Theory
  10. 10. What We Concern Ourselves with During Flashpoint• Things that affect funding – Team Dynamics – Cap Tables – Corporate Identity – Ability to Pitch – Pitches – Ability to Sell – Sales – Unbounded Risks
  11. 11. What We Have Not Taken Interest In During Previous Flashpoint Batches• Product Engineering Processes – Agile – Platform and API choices• Recruiting New Founders• Hiring Service Providers
  12. 12. Mentor ExpectationsParticipate in all Flashpoint Nights We ask you to let us know if you have to miss more than 3If you are “officially” connected with a team Keep us informed about how the relationship developsDon’t worry about Mentor Whiplash Stay above the frayBe open with Life Advice, General Expertise & Domain KnowledgeWe are making no implied call on your Plaxodex We constantly remind teams that your relationships are valuable Don’t feel obligated to make introductions, unless you want to Thanks to Paul Ollinger for renaming the Rolodex!
  13. 13. Flashpoint Process Time Line• 1st MTW: Flashpoint Process 3-Day Start• Weekly Schedule – Mondays 2-5pm: Startup Engineering Workshops – Tuesdays 5:30-8:30pm: Flashpoint Nights – Thursdays Noon: Informal Sharing Lunches – Every Day: Office Hours, FP Advisors & Mentors 11-1 – Mondays and Tuesdays and at least one office hour are mandatory for all team members• Early June: Demo Days. PROGRAM DOES NOT END AT DEMO DAYS.