Making dumb mistakes, offering radical candor and hanging out next week.

Happy Friday.

Hello from Lisbon today where I’m keynoting FastTrack later today. If you’re in the Washington, DC or Kelowna, BC next week, scroll to the bottom — I’m hosting a couple of private meetups and I’d love to meet you.

1. “You may have noticed a theme here: at this stage, your marketing layers become reliable.” [Link] [Tweet]

I probably sound like a broken record by now: building a great product is table stakes, figuring out how to make the right noise about the product is the real differentiator between good companies and great companies.

Another important point from the author: “Since the ease of marketing a product is directly proportional to how great it is, incremental improvements at the outset can change the entire trajectory of your business in the long run. In a startup, the odds against you are already so high that marketing a sub-par product isn’t worth anyone’s time.”

2. “Intelligent people have a reputation for making dumb mistakes, especially in situations that require common sense.” [Link] [Tweet]

Everyone makes mistakes. The surprisingly hard part is to recognize them.

3. “Once you’ve taken care of the basics, there’s very little in this world for which your life is worth deferring.” [Link] [Tweet]

I love this: “I can only speak to the experience I did have. The one I do share with millions of people who have the basics taken care of, but who still yearn for the treasure perceived to be behind the curtain. For those who might contemplate giving up all manners of integrity, dignity, or even humanity to pull it back.”

I’ve made a ton of business-related mistakes and they all share one thing in common: I put money first.

4. “Two-thirds of people around the world failed a short test of basic financial concepts.” [Link] [Tweet]

Know your money, yo.

5. “If you can’t offer radical candor, the second best thing you can do is be an asshole.” [Link] [Tweet]

Being nice and being direct don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

6. “I felt like this led to an arm’s race for the highest growth rates” [Link] [Tweet]

There are few people that understand SaaS businesses as well as Christoph Janz. Click through to his site to find KPI templates and a bunch of other extremely relevant content.

7. “Nei­ther of us know any­thing about angel in­vest­ing. Let’s learn quickly by fund­ing a bunch of star­tups.” [Link] [Tweet]

While it’s always interesting to read the story behind any successful company, survivor bias will likely result in at least a few of the readers to consider opening their own accelerators. If that’s you, don’t do it — accelerators are much harder than they look.

8. “mindset research is increasingly finding that it doesn’t take much to shift one’s thinking.” [Link] [Tweet]

I’m hot right now. Shifting my mindset doesn’t seem to be slowing my profuse sweating.

9. “cash is addictive.” [Link] [Tweet]

The best entrepreneurs see money as a tool rather than a milestone.

10. “Silicon Valley loves the mission-based startup and retroactively constructs a founder mythology.” [Link] [Tweet]

Every company has a story and a real story. Unfortunately, we rarely hear the latter.

Want to meet up next week?

Washington, DC Metro: I’m tired of working out of coffee shops when I’m at home in Ashburn — if you’re around on Tuesday, come hang with me. I’m borrowing a friends office for a few hours and want to get some work done around other smart people. Get more details and sign up here.

Kelowna, BC: I’m going to be hosting two workshops this coming Thursday in Kelowna:Fundraising 101 and VC 101. Each event is limited to 15 people so signup now.

Can I spend a week with you in 2016?

I’ve spent the last few years jetting in/out of places for keynotes and demo days. It’s an effective way for me, as an investor, to meet the maximum amount of companies in the shortest amount of time. I want to give back to local tech communities in 2016.

Here’s the general idea: I’ll come spend a week in your community and we’ll put together a week full of office hours, tech meetups, keynotes and fun. I might even bring some other investors with me to help.

In exchange, you cover my costs and help me figure out how to best help your tech community. Bonus: I might do it all in an Airstream.

I’m only going to do a few of these week-long trips in 2016, please fill this out ASAP if you think I can help your local tech community. I’m booked into six cities already, hurry up. 🙂


You can get the full stream of the things I read, it’s all on Twitter — follow me: @paulsingh. Sometimes I write stuff too. You can always find me on Slack, apply to join.

Have a great weekend!


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