Every day hundreds of new businesses are launched in an attempt to disrupt technology and improve our daily lives. But what does it take for a startup to actually make it? Most new companies fail to succeed or ever gain any serious market traction. Today’s presentation by Yevgenly Brikman examines the road map to a successful startup, with some killer quotes and examples.
Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.” – Biz Stone
The road to a successful startup is paved with the misfortunes of the many who’ve already failed. Even the most successful companies were once startups with some miserable projects that failed like LinkedIn (Answers, Events) and Google (Wave, Buzz). For example, Twitter started out as a podcasting company called Odeo, a site to create and share podcasts, but after the iTunes launch by Apple their business model was in jeopardy. Struggling to survive, they held a hackathon where co-founder Jack Dorsey proposed a new microblogging concept. After successfully reshaping their business, Twitter has grown to over 500 million users and a $10 billion valuation. Flickr started out as way to share images in an online multiplayer game called Game Neverending, but was rewritten to focus on photo sharing, and eventually acquired by Yahoo for #35 million in 2005. Startups may fail in the beginning, but the ones that prove to be successful find a way to pivot!
If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.” – Woody Allen
2. Speed Wins
In a world of trial and error, fixing defects quickly is the key to success. Always look to leverage what’s out there first. Do a Google search. Is there an open source library for that? Many minds are better than one. You’re not likely to get it right the first time, so build it, iterate and then improve your product. Those that are the first to enter new markets are the one likely to succeed.
If you’re not embarrassed by your first release, you’ve launched too late.” – Reid Hoffman
3. Boyd’s Law
Brikman corollary: “Speed of iteration improves quality of iteration.”
4. If you can’t measure it, you can’t fix it
The key to understanding the success of a startup is to measure everything and continually improve. What type of statistics matter to your business? Companies typically collect data about their web traffic, social media engagement, user registrations, server metrics, database, client-side data, activity, profiles, bugs, testing data and more.
Products do not sell themselves. The best products don’t always win, good distribution does. Common distribution channels include sales, email, Facebook, Twitter, SEO, media, personal relationships and marketing. Viral distribution loops must be built into the product. Google Analytics can help you measure the performance of your output channels.
Poor distribution – not product – is the number one cause of failure.” – Peter Thiel
Silicon valley companies share almost everything from papers, open source code, hardware and companies. Why? Teaching is the best way to learn. You get better code and products via an open community of developers which can lead to more free labor, QA, documentation, and bug fixes.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Isaac Netwon
What steps are you taking to ensure the success of your startup?