Commandments to Startup Success

Every time I read a management or self-help book, I find myself saying, “That’s fine, but that wasn’t really the hard thing about the situation.” The hard thing isn’t setting a big, hairy, audacious goal. The hard thing is laying people off when you miss the big goal.                                                   —-  Ben Horowitz

Startups are hard and by ensuring that one is clear on some of the following aspects, the chances of failure can be brought down dramatically.

Founders Vs Investors

  • Understand the difference between them. No part time co-founding.
  • Founders are a part of the journey, investors have a stake in the journey.
  • Similar financial and intellectual sync, you will not succeed if your motivations are not the same.

Hypothesis Vs Validation

  • Get your hypothesis behind startup plan clear. Why are you doing it ? Keep updating and regularly check on these notes, imperative to get your shop running.
  • Validation is a series of experiments backing your initial hypothesis. A strong home work and quick answer here is necessary to make either the right pivots or to do course corrections.

Culture Vs Strategy

  • Culture eats strategy for breakfast.
  • Marry strategy with execution, have fewer risk points and diligently work to de-risk as many components of the company as possible.
  • KISS : Keep it simple, if you can’t articulate in simple terms, you are missing something.

Execution Vs Operations

  • Have KPIs defined for every task. You don’t improve what you don’t measure.
  • Some things take time, don’t try and rush off. Understand gestation period for foundational task and don’t scale prematurely.
  • It’s going to be difficult and throw new challenges not anticipated. In the end, execution is all that matters.

Hiring Vs Firing

  • Single handedly the biggest factor in early stages.
  • Get it wrong and nothing else would matter.
  • Hire for attitude first. Fire if no aptitude.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton


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