5 Things Every Person in A Struggling Tech Startup Must DO

If you have started up; worked in one; or are planning to — here are some things I would highly highly recommend (especially for struggling startups):

  1. Read “The Firm” → The Firm is a biography of Mckinsey (street name — the firm), and superbly articulates the import of consultants. Consultants may or may not be valuable to a startup but the attitude of being a consultant is, I think, of extreme importance in a startup! If you cannot step back and take a “helicopter view” of things and be able to judge your company with indifference, then you may miss out on taking the right path to building a company.
  2. Watch “Silicon Valley” → A famous (& dripping with satire) show on the tech ecosystem and how weird + cool + eccentric it can be. This is comfort food for any struggling entrepreneur because it shows how a team of techies is in the throes of success, $10 mn acquisition offers, absolute doom, $21 bn fraud liability and then back on its feet again. It’s just a great release from a bad day at your actual startup.
  3. Find a Cheap Support System → Startups always have horrifying phases. The kind that make you want to break things and lie in bed all day. One day, the concerned mother of a founder called me up to say that her son had only been staring at the wall of his office/bedroom for 7 months. I think a startup can be a lonely journey and it’s critical to have an easy and ever present means of galvanizing yourself. For me, personally, that cornerstone is sports. Also, it helps if your support system is cheap.
  4. Read About Other Biz Models → If you are doing something wrong, see what others are doing right. Read Business Insider and Forbes. They have covered tech startups since the 2000s and there’s a lot of stuff to learn from!
  5. Have Your Monthly Spend*25x + New Idea Money → If you are a startup guy, you will always want to startup even if you fail! At the same time, before you start or while you are failing, make sure you always have enough money to atleast cover your monthly spends for a year. Don’t be stingy, don’t live below your lifestyle — people think that startup guys cannot own nice cars, houses or travel abroad. I think that’s a bit stupid. Your idea’s success is not dependent on how rich or poor you are. Yes, saving money means more runway to pivot; but you can also pivot faster by working smart and not necessarily working harder at the same thing!