Turntable.fm‘s Seth Goldstein took the stage at Big Omaha yesterday.
He gave entrepreneurs advice in the form of 10 tweets, i.e. 140 characters or less.
Here’s what he’s learned from over 20 years in the tech industry, as both an investor and an entrepreneur (and here are his slides from the presentation if you want to view the whole thing):
- Anything worth doing is worth doing badly. If you think there’s a market for something, go for it even if you feel under-prepared. Don’t wait until the right moment.
- Leaders believe it before they see it, managers need to see it to believe it. Leaders are the people with the visions. Managers have a place too; they help leaders execute and prioritise.
- Dress British, think Yiddish. Look conventional, think unconventionally. Startups need to have a good brand, says Goldstein.
- Scale a single, social gesture. Find one thing people enjoy doing and hammer away at that. It worked well for Instagram.
- Hire slow, fire fast. Don’t hire just to fill a hole in your team — Goldstein calls this hiring while wearing beer goggles. B players bring A players down to their level, and B players never reach A level.
- Have difficult conversations. Don’t wait for the other person to bring something important up.
- What is going up and to the right? Chances are you’re doing something right. Even if users aren’t growing, there might be another positive metric to focus on. Really examine whatever is working and highlight it.
- Raise money when you can, not when you have to. Goldstein says the #1 reason startups fail is because they run out of money.
- It’s hard to bring an investor in, it’s 10X harder to get them out. Think of it like a marriage to someone who’s impossible to divorce. An investor won’t be writing a check then walking away, so pick carefully.
- It’s not about the money, it’s about the money. “We are being fattened like cows by our venture capitalists for the big exit,” says Goldstein. Don’t be too proud to sell; billion-dollar exits are rare.