There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance
Most startup founders don’t realize what sacrifice it takes to build a startup. And how little you actually know about what it takes to build a successful business. That’s why you have to fail your first time to discover if this thing really is something for you or if you’re happier working at Google or Facebook, building the next great feature(insert sarcasm here).
Every single startup is different. There are no such things as identical cases. That’s what makes the game so ridiculously intriguing. You can’t learn how to build a successful online business by simply reading books, copying other companies strategies or speaking to a million other founders that are trying to figure out the same thing.
You simply have to live it, build it and burn it first. Fail, learn – try again, never underestimate the power of the feedback loop. Makes sense right?
That’s why my advice is always to start working out your idea right away. Build a prototype, proof your startup hypothesis and ship it. Even though the odds are against you, whatever happens, you’ll gain tremendous life experiences, grow as an entrepreneur and be able to do better next time.
Only once you’ve done every single thing you can do wrong, you’ll learn enough to be able to make less mistakes at your second or third startup.
Most hot shot techies have deadpooled at least one or two startups or pivoted their way into a successful business when the initial concept didn’t work out. You have to be able to cope with failure. Failure should never discourage you. It should be your mentor. Because nobody will be more honest about your failure and teach you to do better next time.
Has your startup just hit the deadpool? Don’t give up yet! Analyze every single mistake you and your team have made and log it, don’t make those mistakes again and make smarter decisions next time. Trust me, if you’re truly an entrepreneur – there will be a next time .
I’ve stalled my entrepreneurial ambitions temporarily and am in state of Hiatus, not planning a comeback yet. My first impression? It’s a struggle…
The first thing I did entering my Hiatus was to throw out my ridiculously long To-Do list and relax for “new times” sake. This was great for the first three weeks however, after the first three weeks I was pulled back by the passion I had for long to-do lists I guess.
The 4-5 hours sleep a day, the emotional rollercoaster, never depleting To-Do list etc all were back again. You might wonder what happened next? Well I was back at the drawing board, building a re-invention of my first search startup which made an awful lot more sense than my original “plan”.
Fast forward two months later, and I was in Hiatus again. Unfortunately It took me two months to remember why I had entered into Entrepreneurial Hiatus in the first place. The problem with Entrepreneurs is that we simply can’t be idle or follow an already fixed path. We want to be the creators of new paths and possibilities. That’s what Entrepreneurship is all about in my point of view: creation.
An Entrepreneur is born with the drive to create. So while an Entrepreneur is in Hiatus, the Entrepreneur feels kind of lost and useless. This explains why there are so many serial-entrepreneurs in tech(at least to a certain age). Back to being in Hiatus. While you’re trying to block your drive to start a new business, you get great new business ideas every single day that you get excited about. So the struggle continues.
Unless you have a clear sense of what you want to do next, you’re inevitably probably going to start thinking of building yet another company. And so the cycle continues. As an Entrepreneur in Hiatus you’ll always get pulled back to startup life someway, because it excites you and problem solving is what you love to do as a creator.
Where I’m at – at the moment? I’ve got three weeks left to decide whether I’ll start working on a new startup again or if I’m going to get my Law degree. Wish me luck making the decision. I’ll sure need it!
We’ve just met and I’m already neglecting you. I’m sorry. Honestly…
Just give me some time and I’ll come back stronger than ever. I’ll Write article after article day after day.
Just give me some more time.
“If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.” ~ Churchill
Hey, you there. Mr. CEO without a technical background! Do you really have a strong enough CTO building your product? While you’re every second of the day, 24/7 forming your product vision – do you truly have a rock-star CTO leading the process of translating your vision into an amazing product?
Your #1 priority as a Internet Startup CEO is to find a rock-star partner in crime that can lead, is ambitious, loyal, dedicated, result oriented and above all your partner should be able to advocate your mission. The last quality is underrated by most startup founders but if your CTO doesn’t completely share what-ever world changing mission you might have, you won’t have a truly dedicated CTO that will make the difference between your startup’s success or failure.
A rock-star CTO must possess a number of qualities that supplement the skill set normally expected from a Chief Technology Officer. Your CTO must not only posses operational excellence to meet certain critical deadlines, but also a complement of other skills that you normally associate with other C-level executives.
1. Leadership – Your CTO has to be able to lead and coordinate a group of developers to solve all high-level technology problems with limited financial and human resources.
2. Result oriented – Most founding CTO’s at start are hackers. Which is fine, however you should be looking for a CTO that can make that switch from being a hacker to a C-level executive. You need a CTO that’s result oriented and capable enough to set realistic deadlines for himself and the rest of the team. Otherwise total anarchy will be spread from the top all the way down to the bottom of your organization.
3. Visionary – Visionaries are innovators. Great CTO’s are outside the box thinkers that have a strong vision and aren’t scared of using new techniques to tackle certain technological problems. Besides that after discovering and implementing new techniques they are quick learners that won’t make the same mistake twice.
4. Work Ethos – Startup companies are a different kind of breed. There are no 9 to 5 hours. But 7 to “whenever todays objectives have been achieved” hours. Certain factors can influence your CTO’s work ethics. You don’t want to hear from your CTO: “Sorry I can’t work on Sunday – I’ve promised to take the kids to the Zoo…” so take all factors carefully into consideration.
5. Evangelism – Your CTO will have to be able to sell your mission to attract new engineers, partners, PR etc. It’s important to have a representable CTO that can passionately spread the word about your company and inspire others to join you on your mission to change the world!
Obviously there are more qualities you should be looking for in your quest finding the perfect CTO to partner up with but I think these are the most important points you should take into consideration.
A study from the Search Engine Land reflects that year-over-year, search spend rose with 17% in Q1 of 2011.
While search engines remain the best monetizable internet properties, there are hardly any new search startups being funded for years.
I’m currently working on my second search startup and believe me it’s extremely though to raise funding for search startups. It seems almost like all VCs share the same short sighted opinion that Google can’t be beat.
Just a handfull of search startups have been funded in the past few years. Two of them are Searchme and Cuil, both heavily funded but failed startups. Powerset on the other hand was acquired by Microsoft for a measly $100M just over two years ago. The most recent funded search startup that still has to prove itself is Blekko.
The sad conclusion that we have to make is that about one search startup every year is raising funding. It’s no miracle why Google still hasn’t been thrown of its throne – there simply aren’t enough fresh competitors produced.
The contextual intent-based advertising platform that generates search engines revenues has remained and will remain the most important advertising medium for the next couple of years.
While search spending keep rising and one company dominates almost the entire market, why aren’t more search startups being funded? Isn’t that odd?
Now, I might be biased – but I think this is the perfect time for VCs to fund new search startups. Over the past few years Google has been conservative in producing truly innovative search products. The SERP might have been slightly upgraded but hasn’t changed much either. Google the chairman of the search industries throne, so why would they care right? it works… Wrong, Google is currently stalling innovation in the search industry because of the limited competitors it faces. While search as a problem hasn’t even closely been solved. Search engines can and have to become richer more accurate and vertical oriented.
Because Google is too eagerly on its quest of finding new revenues streams to keep their shareholders happy, they invest more time in exploring new markets, while neglecting continuing innovating the search industry like they did in the early days. Their latest distraction is: social.
Even after two miserably failed attempts Google is again desperately trying to force itself into the social space. Don’t get me wrong. Social actually is very important for search engines, however Google shouldn’t try to compete with Facebook and Twitter. They should for example go after the social space that they could easily dominate: Social Data Mining. In this age of information we’re generating huge amounts of social data. Why isn’t Google instead focusing on solving this huge problem that actually is in line with their expertise?
While Google is fighting the wrong battles abroad(Facebook, Twitter, TV, etc) it currently isn’t protecting its own borders anymore. This creates the perfect environment for a range of new search startups to successfully capture a piece of the lucrative search pie. There are enough youngsters working in their basements on solving our great search problems but will the VCs fund them?
I think I’ve provided enough food for thoughts on this subject. What do you think? Besides all the obvious reasons, why are there hardly any search startups funded, while the search industry is one of the most profitable industries?
Reza Sardeha is a serial entrepreneur currently working on a stealth startup.