Friday roundup: hardware as a service, learning from your own mistakes and what founders should worry about.

Happy Friday.

It’s been three years since I’ve been to Columbus, OH and things seem to have come a long, long way. Between the accelerators, coworking spaces, code schools and venture firms (big and small), it seems like it might just be one of the easiest places to start your business.

On a couple of personal notes:

If you’re new this week, these are the top 10 clicks across my tweets this week. You can always get the full firehose here.

  1. “From now on, I won’t be building any more native apps.” [Link] [Tweet]

Less apps, more businesses. Kthx.

2. “Consumers might object, of course. But they might not.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’ll admit that I’m not well-versed in hardware / IoT companies — mostly because the cash required to get off the ground is more than I generally have to invest at the early stage.

That being said, the idea of selling hardware / IoT as a service is worth a deeper dive. I know I’d be much more likely to buy them.

3. “Want to really change the world? Be brave and start your next company in the Midwest.” [Link] [Tweet]

Having visited 41 cities this year, I couldn’t agree more. You don’t need to be in Silicon Valley / NYC to build a meaningful company.

4. “Just say no to grabbing coffee” [Link[Tweet]

If your only excuse for not starting something — even on the side — is not having time, you’re lying to yourself.

5. “What I see, consistently, very few companies raise a Series A after a Seed. There’s always another Seed.” [Link] [Tweet]

If I had a penny for every time a founder said “we’ll be profitable in six months,” I’d never have to work a day in my life. Welcome to the real world:

What I see very consistently is second Seed rounds. Financing is not a dot, it is a line and it is part of your job as a founder and a business leader to keep the capital coming in. If it was a world with just Seed, then Series A and then Series B, it would make everyone’s life easier.

6. “Start a company, and start learning from your own mistakes.” [Link] [Tweet]

Here’s a challenge: next time you have a question or idea, take the first step at figuring it out before you start asking other people for advice.

The alternative is what most people do: they start by asking other people for opinions — which are usually useless (or, worse, wrong).

7. “Ultimately the interim, or even ultimate, valuation of venture-funded companies is not what matters.” [Link] [Tweet]

My hope is that a re-focus on realized returns by financing round will help us return to more capital- efficient investing and management. Shouldn’t we celebrate the entrepreneurs and VCs, for example, in an investment that generates a 15X return on a $200M exit more than we do an investment in a Unicorn that generates a 2X return?

I find it fitting that unicorns are mythical creatures while the Triple Crown is real. Unicorns are overrated. Triple Crowns are better.

8. “Startup communities around the world are leveling up.” [Link] [Tweet]

Talent and ambition seem to be equally distributed around the country — access to capital and functional expertise is what’s missing. I’m going to start testing a couple of ideas to help fix that gap. (If you manage a coworking space or accelerator, please email me. I’d love to run a quick idea by you.)

9. “A resume is ineffective at finding the best employees.” [Link] [Tweet]

I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that’s said, “you should see this resume — it’s amazing.”

If you’re reading this, you probably don’t need to worry about your resume. Instead, you should be thinking about what people are finding about you when they Google your name.

Do interesting things, write about them and keep repeating it.

10. “I’m a big advocate for revenue first, fundraise later.” [Link] [Tweet]

Most startups die because nobody wants what they’re making. This is the existential threat early. If they get past this, they die from lack of execution, so team matters big time.


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh.