Entrepreneurs are risk-takers… or so the story goes.
In my experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Over the last 13 years in Silicon Valley, I’ve found that the homerun hitters are precisely the opposite: risk-averse. They mitigate downside whenever possible with low-cost and short-term testing. They’re often extremely ambitious and aggressive (e.g. Travis Kalanick of Uber or Elon Musk), but they aren’t remotely haphazard.
They’re methodical, and this is a learned trait.
The above video is a conversation between me, several first-time entrepreneurs, and Noah Kagan, CEO of AppSumo.com. In this video, Noah — who was an early employee at Facebook and Mint.com — covers his risk-minimizing methodologies:
In the first 20 minutes:
- His career path, including failures.
- How he has used low-cost testing in his own ventures.
- Why focusing on the small things (even trivial things) is a big thing.
- Common mistakes and coping mechanisms of first-time founders (e.g. seeking multiple co-founders).
In the second 40 minutes:
- Live critiques (in some cases, constructive tear-downs) of real companies and entrepreneurs.
- How entrepreneurs can make the jump from theory to revenue… in real-time.
- How you can immediately stop “playing business” without customer contact.
If you’re going to skip any part, skip the first 20 minutes. Though I enjoyed every minute, the last 40 minutes are especially must-see.
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What tools or services have you found most valuable for low-cost business validation? Any other tricks?
Posted on: August 8, 2013.