I just finished re-readig Jessica Livingston‘s collection of interviews with startup founders, Founders at Work. I read most of this when it came out, but I never owned a copy until a couple of months ago.
It’s a great book, highly recommended. The stories read almost like short fiction. Except you know the companies and, in some cases, the people. It was fascinating.
Some strong patterns emerge:
– Validate your idea often, ideally by charging money for it. No substitute for market validation, no matter how fancy the technology.
– Be flexible in everything from your technology to your business model, and in between. So many startups totally change their idea.
– The team matters far more than the idea. Find people who complement your skills. Don’t look to be the sole hero.
– Almost all startups have at least one near-death experience. Some have many.
– Solve one bottleneck at a time. Make an improvement every day in some way, no matter how small. As long as you keep moving forward, you have a chance.