What would I tell myself about startups if I could go back 5 years

Original author: Ben Dixon
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This is what I would tell myself about startups, if I had fallen into the past five years ago when I was just starting out. In fact, this is what I have learned over the past time. And certainly these are not recommendations or advice, but the “you” here is addressed to itself, so read as “I”. The presentation style is free ( approx. Translator - as well as the translation style ).

1. Nothing happens if you try to do too much and do it too late. Avoid this diligently.

2. Someone is already working on the same idea right now. And, in general, this is not so bad.

3. Never sign an NDA until you hear what it’s all about.

4. Whether you like it or not, most of the social networks in London are based on drinking. Humble yourself and accept, managing to avoid a constant hangover.

5. People who really achieved something are not those who constantly thump.

6. Linear growth can be worse than no growth at all.

7. Most people who talk about imminent failure do not do this at all.

8. It is easy to fool yourself as if you “care about the interests of users”, although in fact you are trying to find a way to make them agree with what you yourself want to work on.

9. Everyone has a nest egg with domains that they have never used.

10. It is easy to be extremely categorical and answer all ideas: “This will not work, because ...” This is just laziness, do not do it that way.

11. And again, do not do this - especially in conversation with people who are not in the subject. Stretch out with those who fumble.

12. It is difficult to listen to how someone is promoting an idea that you have already watched for the failure of, and to stay focused on work - especially if there is still something new and interesting there.

13. Being a good developer is not the same as being able to get things done. I always prefer the first to the second.

14. The debate about which language / framework is the coolest is fun, but there are more important things in life.

15. A good developer can learn the right language or platform in a couple of weeks.

16. I still have not met real investors.

17. Keeping a constant record of the work performed can be very tiring - and does not give sincere joy to real victories.

18. It is difficult to create a product if you haven’t got enough cones on the problem that it solves.

19. It is very dangerous to pay more attention to the product itself than to the problem that it solves.

20. You can do without understanding how hash tables work, but finally understanding them is really cool.

21. The same story with the notation of big O.

22. The midnight exploits of the little red-eyed are not such an achievement. Still, Social Network is a great movie.

23. I still do not understand PR.

24. Most technical issues are bullshit compared to the task of promoting the product to end users.

25. To do what people need is much less informative than to do what you yourself want.

26. However, your desire is not enough to make it a business.

27. If you do not have direct knowledge of the industry, then you have a completely erroneous idea of ​​how everything works there, what problems exist and how they need to be solved. Talk to people.

28. Advertising as a way of monetization is what will end any business model.

29. “Data” - now this is now instead of “advertising”.

30. As a result, the people you want to work with are those who are always interested in how to help you. Take an example from them.

31. But do not be shy to take the initiative and ask for help yourself. Most people will meet you. If you meet someone important and influential - get acquainted.

32. Be able to refuse people asking for a discount on their interesting projects for which you do not have time.

33. Think twice about what will make a business successful, but at the same time take away your interest in the product itself.

34. Keeping a blog, a column in a magazine, writing a book is great.

35. And do not worry about the kamenty to the written, there will always be someone dissatisfied who does not like at least one single sentence.

36. One troll can cross out hundreds of positive contacts, so drive them with wet rags from your community.

37. If, over a cup of coffee, you buzzed someone’s ears with your idea, suggest that he do the same.

38. Promise to do only what you really are going to do. It is easy to earn the reputation of a person who does not keep his word.

39. Show, not tell. “I'm going to make a cool thing!” - MUCH less interesting than: "Yes, I here weakened in a hurry such a damn thing." Everyone, damn it, is going to do something - nobody does.

40. Creating something is awesome, don't let yourself get stuck in the Lean Startup Landing Page thesis.

41. Lean Startup ( approx. Transl. - theleanstartup.com ) is cool, but it's a pamphlet, not a book. It is enough to read the first few chapters to catch the point. «The Four Steps to the Epiphany» ( approx pens -.. Steve Blank Four steps to enlightenment. ) A technical and generally more useful book.

42. Most startup tips are terrible, and good tips are usually something obvious. Everyone will give you various advice, trust your gut.

43. Except in those cases when it comes to the needs of your customers - then pacify your gut and trust them.

44. No one has ever used ATMs with bitcoins for practical reasons.

45. Make rough forecasts for any potential business model that you come across, just to figure out if she has a sufficient market audience - up to several orders of magnitude.

46. ​​It is easy to start on the machine to sew off everyone who starts a conversation with the words: "I am looking for a technical co-founder." So you lose the opportunity to talk with interesting people. Just at the beginning of the conversation, let's make it clear that you are not this co-founder, so that no one later feels like you wasted time.

47. Trying to raise the headstock and get into the business accelerator is a full-fledged job. You either make a product or hunt for money. Not all at once. Doubt what to focus on - choose work on the product.

48. The solution to many, many problems does not lie in the field of technology. Which does not stop people from trying to solve them using applications.

49. Facebook is not for you, but for Vasya Pupkin, do not waste time there.

50. What you laughed at at the hackathon will probably survive all that you are trying to do.

51. If there are people who like constant failures, then I have not met them.

52. An idea is not considered yours until you have realized it. And then I'm the same dude who invented facebook, Nest and Oculus Rift.

53. People do not steal ideas. Share them with everyone. Never ask to sign an NDA before you tell the idea, because you lose confidence.

54. To be friends does not mean being able to work together successfully.

55. Small teams can advance very quickly, be careful when recruiting new people to a project that needs flexibility.

56. Being multi-tasking is not an option, the loss in switching between tasks is high, do one thing and do it as best as possible. Understand everything that distracts you.

57. Read all of Paul Graham's articles .

58. Technical news (and indeed the news in general) is inferior to books and communication in terms of the ratio of time spent and useful output.

59. Read Founders Stories , Fooled By Randomness and The Four Steps to the Ephiphany .

60. At the beginning, the logo does not play a big role, come up with a simple text logo that can be used in other projects.

61. If possible, open the source and welcome any third-party projects. Now or later, but thanks to this you will make new acquaintances with interesting people.

62. Continuing to work hard for 12 hours is a bad idea. If this happens often, think about how to optimize your work.

Translator's note:
I ask in PM about the errors found.
As the author promised, his syllable is indeed non-trivial, so I tried to convey my mood and meaning without bothering with a literal translation.

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