I have referred to Jason Cohen a few times this year as I read his blog at asmartbear.com. Jason is the founder of WP Engine and has quite a track record. As we try to fine tune our pricing in this piece in reference he talks about the pricing positioning – one that could potentially help you 8X your price. Super tempting.
What is disruption? Why are we so enamored by this word? Well it came into the tech lexicon possibly from Clayton Christensen’s classic – The Innovators Dilemma. One key point to be made is this : According to Christensen “new companies disrupt incumbents not when they introduce new technology, but when they help create new markets.”
I dug out this very readable profile of Naval Ravikant, written in October 2015, by Sarah Lacy, founder of Pando and Chairman Mom. That month Anglelist was announcing multiple initiatives including a $400m fund with CSC group from China, a vehicle for VC’s to engage early and a Tinder like app for individual jobbers.
Most of the advice on Startups have a timelessness about them. People have been starting businesses with an idea that they found compelling for hundreds of years. Still you would wonder why we do not learn from the abundant availability of information? Possibly because we are making conscious choices like – ‘build to be acquired – not to serve customer needs’. A few clever people do get away with that. But I digress.
I came across this highly readable article by Vishal Kataria (http://aryatra.com) on common blunders founders commit and I thought it would be nice to reiterate the basics that we ignore. No idea why?
Vishal talks about these:
1. The Mere Ownership Bias : Be fiercely customer centric.
2. Selling Products And Services : Sale the Solution (to the customers problem) not the feature ( in your product).
3. Ignoring The Process – This is super important. But clarity in role and deliverables is key to success.
4. Pursuing Every New Opportunity – Stop doing that. Obviously.
5. Saying No To Learning – Learn about new tech, new competition, new user needs.
Give it a read. It has illustrations, more links and a nice way to quick check if you are in the clear.
Last week Jason M. Lemkin pointed to Marc Benioff’s TechCrunch Disrupt interview where he told his starting up story – how he went up and down Sandhill Road and no one was interested in his vision of cloud and how no one without exception offered him any money. Its his friends in US and Japan who stood by him and help him build Sales Force which is now 100Bn in market cap.
I sat through a session organised by TiE,Bangalore of Francisco Santolo the founder of Scalabl – Argentina based Academy of Entrepreneurship and innovation, during his recent trip to the city. He had some radical views and an endearing personality making him instantly likeable. His core message was – the current VC funded startup ecosystem is broken. And in this article in Medium he explains why. It is useful to look at alternate thought processes from time to time to ensure you are doing what is right for your dream and not what is expected in the current discourse of building a startup. If you follow my posts you will know I do agree with a lot of this line of thinking and have followed and written about Rand Fishkin and others who have contrarian views to the current discourse.
I found this interesting article by David Mercer of smepals.com in AllBusiness. He shares 5 lessons he learnt in his entrepreneurial journey and they made a comprehensive list of learnings.
As a startup founder myself I spend a lot of time reading and (writing). One thing I look forward to is listening to Podcasts. Here are 5 I frequent. They push my thoughts Masters of Scale – Hosted by Reid Hoffman it is wonderfully produced and brings in a lot of insights as founders open up like never before.