25 startup commandments.

Someone (i can’t recall whome) twittered this. As I read the list, many didn’t apply, Tom and I have no API. I suppose maybe we’re our API, does that analigy even make sense? I dunno. Some of them however made a ton of sense to me, and I found myself feeling better about some, and worse about others.

1. Your idea isn’t new. Pick an idea; at least 50 other people have thought of it. Get over your stunning brilliance and realize that execution matters more.

 Ain’t that the truth! Conferences and trade shows date back to Jesus. Granted we’re small and nimble and taking the big ones on, but still we’re the same too.

3. If you don’t have scaling problems, you’re not growing fast enough.

 This rings true to me a lot. Tom and I have odd problems of scale. We’re both employed full time, yet our model of events doesn’t bring in windfalls on a single event. We can’t scale up to more shows without doing more shows, you see where I’m going with this :)

13. If you don’t pay attention to your competition, they will turn out to be geniuses and will crush you. If you do pay attention to them, they will turn out to be idiots and you will have wasted your time. Which would you prefer?

 Tom and I spend a pretty good amount of time thinking about our competitors. There’s no direct but many, many indirect competitors that could decide to become direct competitors, and likely will. Most are in the Charge too much model, some are in the Community isn’t the important thing model. We all have our differences.

21. A startup will require your complete attention and devotion. Thought your first love in High School was clingy? You can’t take out a restraining order on your startup.

 This is a big one IMO, and one that Tom and I fight about a lot. 360Conferences is a two man show, done part time, our attention is stretched and often things don’t happen when it might make sense to or things don’t get done. It sucks, but for now is the nature of our business model. The upside is, most people don’t seem to notice, but I think I have an ulcer the size of Rhode Island, I know that’s still not very big, but come on!

25. Abject Terror. Overwhelming Joy. Monstrous Greed. Embrace and harness these emotions you must.

 Done. Tom and I thankfully aren’t greedy. We’re not very good capitalists in that sense, but it works for us. Sure we’re not our Startup’ing full time, though I’d like nothing less, we’re not raping our customers, and that’s what’s most important to us. We give a ton of money to charity, even though we don’t make enough to pay us salaries yet, because it’s important to us. Monstrous Greed, squashed. Now terror, that’s another story :)

I only took a few, go read them all. They’re incredibly salient no matter what your startup does, and may open your eyes to a few things.

5 Replies to “25 startup commandments.”

  1. I like the #1 advice the best. There’s an old quote that goes: “Nothing is really new. You just think it’s new because you haven’t been around long enough.”

    But in case you are trying to establish something new and you try to create a new market, you are in the worst position possible. The most difficult thing to compete against is nothing. It is much easier to compete against something, ie: “You can go with Vendor X or you can go with us.” It is very difficult to move anybody with this sales pitch: “You can go with us, or you can do nothing.”

    That’s why it was so difficult to sell a CMS in 2001.

  2. @Harry

    Yeah 1 is extremely salient to me, especially when I have people throwing NDAs at me just to talk to me about something. I’m just like “It’s not new” get over and move on. You’re not planting a flag, you’re building a better mouse trap.

    Yeah I can imagine selling X vs. nothing at all must be tough. At least when selling X against Y, you can point out Y’s flaws. LOL

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