Covering the Las Vegas Startup World
October 22nd, 2011
Over my time in 5 startups, I’ve come across a recurring set of items. These weren’t always clear to me as critical success factors, but after seeing them over and over again (or in some cases, not seeing them) I realized how important they were. Hopefully, seeing these will save you some time and agony. Some of these came to mind or appeared in the presentation on “Preparing an Investor Pitch”. In any case, here are my top 10 startup thoughts.
1. There is a fine line between defending your idea and being defensive.
2. An entrepreneur’s best quality is irrational optimism.
3. Don’t ask anyone who works for you to do something you’re not willing to do yourself.
4. Invest time in hiring. Nothing gets you more leverage than adding people to your team.
5. Bootstrap if you can, take investment if you must.
6. Make it as easy as possible to do business with your company. Don’t impose your idea of how things should work on other people.
7. Relationships are key. Never badmouth anyone. Not only might you run into that person again (and they may in a different position where you need their help), but it’s just plain wrong. [Note: I didn’t have to learn this one the hard way. Thanks Mom!]
8. Seek advice. Talk about your business with others as much as possible. Most importantly: realize why you’re talking to someone. It’s to get their opinion, not argue why you are right.
9. When you hire someone, let go of some of the work. You hired them to take some of the load off. Let them.
10. Listen to the market. You’re providing a solution to a problem, which might not be the solution you started out with. Focus on the problem.
And two bonus ones that we’ve probably all heard but bear repeating:
11. Under promise. Over deliver.
12. Spend every dollar of the company’s money like it was your own.
Please add your thoughts below.
Posted by Rick Duggan — rick -at- vegasstartups.com
Wednesday, October 12th, 2011
Ok, so the title is no doubt a bit misleading. Certainly there have been many many Tech companies in Las Vegas that have hit the deadpool before. However, this is the first one since Las Vegas Startups began to close its doors. I’m sorry to see BloomWorlds go.
Todd and Darrell wrote a heartfelt and thoughtful post mortem on what went wrong with their startup. If you’re doing a startup in Las Vegas, I recommend you go and read the entire post. They do a great job teaching a lot of important lessons they learned often from the mistakes they made. I guess it’s true that hindsight is 20/20.
For those too lazy to go read the whole thing, this part was what hit me the most:
We needed to build our MVP and launch that shit! No matter how ugly it was, how buggy it seemed, it never launched! We rewrote code, rewrote web copy, and re designed the site….twice. What a waste of time and resources, this is a huge lesson learned and perhaps our biggest mistake.
A part of me wishes that I’d pushed Todd harder to launch his stuff. I think there are a few other Vegas Tech companies I’m going to have to apply this too as well. Thanks Todd and Darrell for being willing to open up and share your experience so we can learn from it.
Of course, the end of BloomWorlds is just the end of the company and not the end of the entrepreneurs. This story still isn’t finished. Here’s the last paragraph from the post-mortem:
We may be down, but not out. This is a list of things to do differently for our next venture which is already being in alpha tested. We’ve got one big fail out of the way. We are entrepreneurs, we are creators, and we are passionate. And we’ve learned. Stick with us. It’s not the end, it’s just the beginning. We want to make you all proud!
Now I just need to get me an alpha invite to their new project. Oh how I love the spirit of the entrepreneur.