Regular readers will know that I have co-founded a startup. It has been an incredible learning journey so far. Being involved at this early stage has helped reinforce a few key truths about tech startups:
Startups play by different rules than other small businesses. The end goal of a startup is the same as that of any other business: to make a large and growing profit. But the journey there is very different, and during that journey different rules apply. Alex Danco refers to the startup journey as a “controlled bubble”. Learning to play by the right rules is so important.
Your idea doesn’t matter very much. It can be easy to get caught up with the beauty of an idea, but it is dangerous to sanctify it. As Mike Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Your idea is going to get punched in the mouth a lot.
Execution is where the magic happens, and where it can all go wrong. To a large extent, great organisational execution is what this newsletter is about!
The symbiosis between founders and venture capitalists is what powers the entire ecosystem. I like this definition of symbiosis: “Symbiosis is an intimate, long-term, and specific association between organisms of two or more species.” While it is fun to highlight occasional outpourings of greed and stupidity on either side, and while natural tensions exist, founders and VCs are deeply dependant on one another. It has been delightful to see how truly collaborative the relationship is.
The Startup Podcast
These truths (and more) are the focus of The Startup Podcast, a new project I have begun with Chris Saad. Chris and I have admired each other’s work from a distance for a while, and decided to collaborate on this podcast to share what we’ve learned from our collective experiences in Silicon Valley and Australia. Our dream is to teach people how to approach building truly ambitious, world-changing startups like it’s done in Silicon Valley.
We are five episodes in and showing no signs of slowing down! If startups are at all something that interests you, I encourage you to give it a listen. I believe we’re creating something special.