I have been an entrepreneur for little less than a year now. It has been quite interesting experience so far. I’ll cover some learnings during this phase.
Advice: Follow your passion. Contradictory advice: Never fall in love with your idea
There have been enough cases where people left an idea early and failed and someone later did the same idea made it successful. So I guess it ok to fall in love with your idea. The chances of success in startup are anyway close to zero. You better love what you are doing.
Advice: Work only on billion dollar ideas
The reality is no one knows what can become a billion dollar idea. Could someone have imagined that Rovio’s Angry Bird will be such a big hit? Or PSY – Gangam Style video (by Park Jae-sang)will have 1,430,586,498 pageviews? So I think we should not care too much about whether idea can become big or not.
Advice: Find co-founders with complementary skills.
This sounds ideal but does not work in reality. People you generally hang out with are people who share similar interests and work background. Hackers tends to hang out with hackers and so on. When you work with people who have no clue about your skills and see it as a blackbox, they are less likely to value your contribution and vice versa. I’m not saying it will always be the case, but probability will be higher.
My point is when the journey is long, it better be either alone or with people you can hang around daily for 16 hours. Looking for complementary skills should be much lower priority than chemistry.
Advice: What you are attempting is already done. So don’t do it.
I hear it all the time. What I have started to believe in is that it is not the idea but the way you do it. There are so many bookmarking based idea like delicious, digg, reddit, pinterest, twitter. They all have signatures of execution of their co-founders. So its not the idea but how you sign it.
Also Google was not the first search engine, Facebook was not the first social networking site and so on. There are many more such examples.
The lessons I learned so far
- Work on something which you can work daily tirelessly and which makes you forget lunch/dinner often.
- Don’t be too obsessed with monetization part. Don’t ignore it completely also. At least think about Ramen profitability. When Uncle and Aunty type people ask about that, just pretend that you are making huge money and have figure out how to create next billion dollar business. I personally like this tip:
Fake it till you make it (or fail)
- It is ok to not know all your passions. Some passions you will discover along the way.
- Innovation depends on information and awareness. Try to go in depth of some of the topics you like and you will see lot of scope to innovate. But you need to deep dive. Deeper enough to start thinking better than most people.
- Most competitors may look big and scary. Don’t overestimate them. Its better to be little naive and ignore them. Just find a way to start small in that domain.