Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Forgive Myself

Every year on Yom Kippur I meditate on forgiveness, and post my thoughts here. Last year I was inspired by Steve Jobs, and learned from him that forgiveness is for the forgiver, not for the forgiven. That post made me rethink my attitude towards forgiveness, not as something that I bestow on others (and only if they are really sorry and promise it will never happen again), but a gift that I give myself, regardless of how the forgivee acts or even if they accept it.

What about forgiving ourselves though?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Stop Using Lack of a Technical Co-founder As a Crutch

Why should every tech startup be one business guy and the rest engineers? Why should you always finish the product before you build the business? A true entrepreneur doesn't hold up his business because he can't find one factor input. She fakes it, makes it work, pushes forward by sheer willpower. He does it manually until it's clear that there's a business and has developers clamoring to be his CTO.

It's one thing if you are selling technology, be it hardware or software; it's another if you are a tech-enabled business using the web for greater efficiency and scale. Saying you need to be a programmer to start a web-based startup is like saying you need to be an architect and a bricklayer to start a brick and mortar business. Get your business going, then you'll find the greatest architect ever and have more than a dream to sell him on.

The Fetishization of Product

[this post is likely to draw some controversy, not only b/c it goes against tech startup orthodoxy, but also b/c I didn't edit it before pressing 'Publish']

Should product be separate from business? As if business would sully it? Like asking about a business model at NYTM?

Are more people likely to use Uber b/c it has a great "product", or because of the availability of cars?

Twitter still has a horrible "product" - but nobody really cares.

I think we are moving into a post-product world, where people understand that the role "product" is to deliver the business, not the other way around.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Brand Is the Key to Scaling

The startup world loves to talk about the ability of a company to "scale." "Scale" doesn't have a precise definition, but it roughly means growing the business really big, with increasing, non-linear returns on headcount and equity capital. There are many levers for scaling - product, marketing, customer service, partnerships, etc - but they all boil down to one thing, regardless of product or industry: brand.