I gave at talk this morning at Yankee Group. It was part of the SmartSpeaker series that CEO Emily Green has been organizing for a few months now. Many months ago, over breakfast, Emily asked me to give a talk on strategies for startup success. Foolishly, I agreed.
The trouble with the topic, as I’ve written before, is that there are very few strategies for startup success with a high batting average. And startups, unlike blackjack hands and day trades, take a good piece of an entrepreneur’s life. A strategy that is successful 55% of the time will work wonders on Wall Street and in Vegas but may cause an entrepreneur to repeatedly fail her entire life.
Hey, let’s not get gloomy. There is a silver lining. It’s called luck and timing combined with assembling a great team that continually performs quick & cheap experiments. Esther Dyson says: “always make new mistakes”. Make them quickly and cheaply, I’d like to add.
I ended up giving three talks in one at Yankee today:
- Strategies for Startup Success
- Why Do Startups Succeed or Fail
- The Startup Environment
The questions from the analyst team were excellent. I hope to continue the discussion here.
I think that too few startup founders appreciate that the optimal approach (at least for themselves) is running a series of experiments. I think of this a bit like the agile approach to software deveopment. More iterations (experiments) with shorter time periods generally yield better results. I think startups are the same way.
Show me a startup that can make a high volume of small mistakes cheaper than others, and I’ll show you a startup that is more likely to succeed.
Thanks for this. This is extremely timely for me and more or less matches where my thinking has been headed based on my experiences with a company over the last year.
Thank you for this thought-provoking presentation. It reminds me of this video (http://eclips.cornell.edu/search?querytext=bootstrapping&id=id&clipID=8049&tab=TabClipPage) and it makes an interesting point.
I think that people don’t always think these things through as they start their companies.
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