Be Nice Or Leave. We have a sign like this in our beach house.
We got it in New Orleans many years ago. I thought of that sign when I was on the phone yesterday. A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From Marc Andreessen. Marc Andreessen is able to explain himself so well that I should have less commentary to add to the quotations in this post than usual.
But where is the fun in that? My primary task with this blog post has been assembling the quotations and placing them in an order which flows well, since understanding the earlier topics helps the reader understand ideas which come later in the list. Each set of quotations is a mash up from sources like the links identified in the notes at the bottom of this post. My transcription of video interviews may not be perfect and the text is sometimes edited to reflect the brevity required in a blog format. 1/ “The key characteristic of venture capital is that returns are a power-law distribution. Justin Mares. You’ve decided you want to do something in this world.
You’ve internalized the fact that you can do anything you want. How do you succeed? Let’s say your goal is to be a millionaire by age 30. What do you do? Focus on becoming the type of person that can become a millionaire at 30. Life lesson. Willful Delusion - Startups and the Stockdale Paradox – Correlated Causation. Early when I was starting PrimaTable, a friend and mentor told me about the Stockdale Paradox.
Described in Jim Collin’s Good to Great, the paradox is named after Vice Admiral Jim Stockdale, an American naval officer held captive for eight years in the Vietnam War. Stockdale’s Paradox When asked about about how he coped with captivity and regular torture, Admiral Stockdale responded: “I never lost faith in the end of the story, I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”
When asked who didn’t make it home from Vietnam, Stockdale replied: Rate-of-learning: the most valuable startup compensation. The frothiness of today’s environment in Silicon Valley makes it easy to get sucked into a warped sense of reality.
Valuations are high, capital is cheap, housing prices are skyrocketing, and RSUs are flowing like wine. Talk of another “bubble” is rebuffed, even by those who were scarred by the Dot-com collapse of 2000. Some argue we’ve exited the installation phase of technology—which was still sputtering along at the dawn of the new millennium—and have entered what Carlota Perez calls the ‘deployment phase’ of technology. A DOZEN THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT BUSINESS. 1.
“If you play [your competitor’s] game, you lose every time.” Allan Benton. This quotation to me is all about moats and sustainable differentiation. Ruthlessness and Grit in Startups. Startups are in a state of perpetual change.
During a startup's first few years of establishing product market and winning the first set of customers, this state of change is obvious. But as a startup scales, the company must adapt by learning and reinventing. The Sure Thing. How entrepreneurs really succeed.
In 1969, Ted Turner wanted to buy a television station. He was thirty years old. Fail Fail Win: Never Give Up. On a Mission. One of the interesting things I have seen, especially in the last 10 years, is that many of the big winners in technology have been what I call “mission-driven” versus “mercenary-driven” companies.
There are a lot of companies that cut corners. There are a lot of companies that have a mercenary outlook, and will dump their idealistic goal to make a business work in the short-term. A Dozen Things I’ve Learned about Business from Bill Gates. 1.
“Business isn’t that complicated” and “Take sales, take costs, and try to get this big positive number at the bottom.” Many people make a living trying to make “business” sufficiently complex that you feel the need to pay for their services. Their business is to make business complex, when it is actually simple. 2. “Of my mental cycles, I devote maybe ten percent to business thinking.” and [John Malone] and I are damn similar. The Two Key Skill Sets Startups Must Develop To Grow. In "Why Winning Streaks End", Rosabeth Kantar, a professor at HBS, explains the key to maintaining momentum in any company is maintaining the discipline of every day processes.
Similarly, Atul Gawande's book Better echoes this idea. For surgeons, the best way to keep patients safe and healthy is ticking through a checklist before each surgery. As I've watched a handful of startups grow, the pattern I see emerging from most of them is their ability to persistently transform chaos into process. Dustin Curtis. Despite being the cheapest usable tablet on the market, and although the Kindle is already one of its best selling items, Amazon cut the price of the Kindle Fire HD today from $199 to $169.
At that price, it’s almost impossible to imagine any profit at all; when it was released in late 2012, some speculated that the cost of materials and manufacturing alone amounted to more than $185. It’s easy to imagine the strategy here–that Amazon expects to make money on digital content sales–but, historically, the numbers behind that strategy haven’t panned out. With billions of dollars in content sales, Apple still claims to run the iTunes store at “practically break even.” What makes Amazon think it can pull a profit when even Apple can’t? Startups Are Hard. So Work More, Cry Less, And Quit All The Whining. I slept at work again last night; two and a half hours curled up in a quilt underneath my desk, from 11am to 1:30pm or so.
That was when I woke up with a start, realizing that I was late for a meeting…But it was no big deal, we just had the meeting later. It’s hard for someone to hold it against you when you miss a meeting because you’ve been at work so long that you’ve passed out from exhaustion. Willing to be misunderstood. Jeff Bezos appeared on Charlie rose two weeks ago and spoke about Amazon’s history, future and best of all, its culture. In the interview, Bezos discussed Amazon’s core values: We are willing to be misunderstoodWe are obsessed with customers, not competitors.We are long term thinkers While all of them are critical to Amazon’s success, my favorite is the first because it combines three critical concepts for startups. First, it requires knowing a secret, in the Peter Thiel sense of the word, seeing something in the market that very few others understand. Second, it requires systems thinking, understanding where a new product fits into the market place and how to leverage a company’s assets to best deliver the product to customers.
Can-Do vs. Can’t-Do Culture. “God, body and mind, food for the soul When you feeding on hate, you empty, my n! *$a, it shows.” — Rick Ross “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw Lately, it has become in vogue to write articles, comments and tweets about everything that’s wrong with young technology companies. Believers vs non-believers. Is it Time for You to Earn or to Learn? Are You A Pirate? The credentials trap. Are you in a startup career path or are you one and done? Why I am long on French Tech Board Observers.
Generalists. The Depressing Day After You Get TechCrunched. How Well Do You Take A Punch? Program Or Be Programmed. Working smarter. The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get. Ideas have a 2 week shelf life. Occam's razor. Tenacity. The Wisest Entrepreneurs Know How to Preserve Equity. The Startup Curve. The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn. Why Do Harvard Kids Head to Wall Street? How I Graduated from Harvard, Turned Down Google, Got a Job On T. The VC And Startup Industries Must Do A Better Job Seeding A Sta. Risk and Reward Are Not Obvious. Startable - Healy Jones' & Pras. The Career Path to Becoming a Venture Capitalist or an Entrepren.
The best companies are analytical. Gamers make faster decisions than nongamers, just as accurate. 'StarCraft' Gameplay Boosts Mental Flexibility, Says Study - Digits. You need to use social services to understand them. Long Live the Web. Why Your Startup Should Be Involved in Open Source. Technology generation gap.