So, you want to Startup?

A couple of months ago I started working in my first Startup (SlidePick) and to be honest, I had no fucking idea about what I was suppose to do, I didn’t even know what the word Startup standed for.

So I think you can imagine how lost I felt when I started this journey.

But it was something that just felt right. That feeling in your guts (Yes, that one you feel right now) telling you to dream, to imagine, to innovate, to create…To Startup.

I know that, as me, there are thousands of new founders and entrepreneurs looking out for some guidance or orientation on how to get start building this amazing idea that we have in mind. Dreaming day and night about this divine inspiration that we received and the quest to make it real.

The problem is that there is not a magic potion or ancient secret for success and probably “All the Startup advice you read are wrong” (Ev Williams).

Despite this, I have learned that there is few basic things that we should be encourage to do and others that we should avoid at all cost.

Start asking you Why — So you want to Startup? Tell me Why. Which are your motivations and expectations doing this?…If it’s because it’s sexy, you want money or to be famous, wrong way buddy.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe” -Simon Sinek

Ideas are worthless, execution is everything — Yup, your idea is worthless now. In the other hand, your ability, focus and drive to execute this idea could worth millions.

“Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.” — Michael Dell1

Don’t fall in love with your idea — You must have a long term vision about your product and always ask yourself what is the goal you are trying to achieve by building it. Is very useful to have a clear north about what you are trying to do: Build a Company? Make an exit? Create a community?. Even this, you must embrace and look for changes and iterations that should lead to a product/market fit.

Your idea must be a Pain Killer — Find a problem that you feel the urge to solve. Don’t even try to start building something thinking that it will make sense to people and that it will solve their problems. We don’t work under assumptions, we are usually wrong about them.

“Life’s too short to build something nobody wants.” -Ash Maurya

Create an Customer Profile — Think about 20 close people that they have the problem you are solving and that they will, literally, go mad of happiness because of what you are trying build. Then, as a National Geographic reporter in the jungle, you must watch, study, understand and register every thing that could help you to understand how they behave when they experience the problem you are working on. This will lead to incredible useful insights to apply on your solution.

Hypothesis, Metrics, Experiments — Define:

  1. What Hypothesis you want to validate with your users.
  2. What is the most important Metric (successful criteria) about this Hypothesis that you need to gather.
  3. What kind of experiment with your users you must do to gather this Metric.
Lean Startup Cycle

Question and Validate Everything — Sooner you do this, sooner you will understand how to succeed or fail faster…Speed is the key. (Revenue is the ultimate validation of your idea)

GTFO of the building

…That’s right, your users and customers are not sit across the hall. So stand up and go to their natural habits!

“There are no facts inside the building, so get the heck outside!” -Steve Blank

Create a Mockup before a MVP — Don’t waste your time, money or energy coding and building something before you have tested it with your users in simple Mockup. Even if you have to draw your idea on a napkin, that’s good enough. Just show the core concept of your product and get sure people get value from it (And that you can take value from them = Money)

Ask for feedback, feedback and more feedback — Ask for it every day, every hour and every minute. Anytime, anywhere.

Co-Founders? — Ask you this. If you die to tomorrow, will they continue working on this idea? That’s the kind of partners you want on your team.

“Choose co-founders the way you would choose a spouse. The reality is that you will, at least in the early days, spend far more time with your co-founders than your partner. -Danielle Newnham”

Nobody will steal your idea — Don’t waste time thinking that.

  1. Half or more of the people that will hear about your idea will probably think that it sucks.
  2. Nobody have the time and energy to be copying an idea that is worthless. (For now)
  3. You’re losing valuable feedback and insights from people by keeping it to your self!

Learn from Failure — Nobody likes to fail, but we can’t deny the incredible amount of learning experiences that this shitty process means. Don’t be afraid of failing, be worry to stand up every time you get knock down. Most important: Celebrate every little triumph that you made!

So now, take that leap of faith and believe in yourself…Just Startup.

I would love to catch up with you and know about your experience! @mati_honorato

Any grammar, spelling or punctuation mistake, please let me know. So I can keep improving my english…my best to all of you!

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