(Hello from Lincoln, NE today where I’ve been checking out Lincoln Startup Week, eating runza and speaking.)
1. “It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready.” [Link] [Tweet]
When you’re starting something new, it’s scary easy to get bogged down in the details before ever taking the first step. “I’m going to need business cards” and “how will I ask for my first sale” are real questions that overwhelm many people before they ever take the first step. As Reid Hoffman (the founder of LinkedIn) famously said, if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve waited too long.”
Just. Ship. Something.
2. “10 years from now people will be embarrassed to say unicorn.” [Link] [Tweet]
The “short cut culture” is absolutely a real thing. Sometimes it’s easier to think about possible short cuts rather than doing the unsexy work that it takes to grow a company. I’ve done it, you’ve done it and that’s OK as long as you recognize it. The important thing to remember is that “it’s really about love. And sacrifice. And hard work. And putting in the daily things that it takes to achieve great things.”
3. “I like you, but you gotta understand, my friends don’t get out of bed unless they’re writing a $25 million check.” [Link] [Tweet]
I love Semil Shah’s writing, particularly his ability to take complex topics and distill them into posts that anyone can understand. If you’re thinking about raising a fund soon, it’s worth reading this entire post (and subscribing to his blog).
4. “If our research is correct, you need to eat even less and exercise even more.” [Link] [Tweet]
Back in my day, we used to be able to have a Happy Meal every day without thinking twice. Ah, the good old days.
5. “You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. It’s a natural thing.” [Link] [Tweet]
Two thoughts here:
- If you’re having a hard time reaching a certain goal, it’s worth taking a hard look at the people around you most often. Then change it.
- I grew up in the Indian community of the DC Metro area. Many of the young people I knew at the time spent the majority of their free time with other Indian kids on the weekdays and weekends while I, being in enrolled in a private Christian school, spent the majority of my time with anyone but Indians. I’m convinced this was a HUGE benefit to my career. Said another way, I think most Indian kids are at a disadvantage: they spend so much time with other Indians that they never quite learn how to interact with other cultures — this hurts their prospects in the long run.
If you notice that everyone in your circle looks like you, comes from the same place as you and generally does the same thing as you, it’s time to make a change.
6. “Growth is where all the action is, and to where all the money flows.” [Link] [Tweet]
I met a founder today that seemed to have a pretty cool product. The problem, however, is that no one is using it. When I poked the founder about this, he responded, “well, I thought you might be able to help me get customers.”
Growth doesn’t happen magically and it doesn’t stop magically. It happens because founders focus on it.
7. “Sell yourself, sell your vision to investors, employees and most importantly, to your customers.” [Link] [Tweet]
Yes. Yes. Yes. Everyone needs to be a storyteller.
Oh, by the way, I offer a free email course on public speaking and storytelling. 1,100+ smart people are currently about halfway through the course and I’ll be opening up the next cohort very soon — sign up here. Again, it’s free so you have no excuse not tosign up.
8. “I think innovation can happen anywhere, you just have to dream big.” [Link] [Tweet]
Ashton Kutcher is super smart, you should read the entire article.
9. Yes, Let’s Ask Men in Tech About Being Dads [Link] [Tweet]
Dads are people too.
10. “Truism: customer money is better than VC money.” [Link] [Tweet]
This is amazing to me: “At Arthur Ventures we’ve made 15 investments out of our current fund. 3 of those 15 have not spent a penny of our money and another 3 have burned a relatively small amount (50% or less) before being roughly breakeven again. All 6 of these companies have had at least a year since initial funding.”
I’m coming for you
Next up (though, not in this exact order): Madrid, SP, Halifax, NS, Detroit, MI, Lagos, NG, Chattanooga, TN (coupon code: PaulSingh) and a bunch of other interesting places.
If there’s cool stuff happening in your neck of the woods, let me know ASAP — let’s get it on the calendar, I want to see how startups are growing in your neck of the woods.
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!
P.S. If you loved this newsletter, share it with a friend. If you hated this newsletter, share it with an enemy.