Steve Blank

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are world-class inventions that changed the nature of funding for startups. But don’t use such platforms prematurely. If you’re trying to crowdfund your initial idea, that almost guarantees you are working on the wrong thing.

New entrepreneurs misunderstand what Kickstarter is for. They think it’s a way to do customer discovery, to test their product’s appeal. In fact, going on Kickstarter freezes customer … [ Read more ]

Craig Wortmann

Just because somebody is willing to take something rudimentary from you for free is not proof you have a customer. But when someone commits financially—even at a major discount—that person is serious. And he or she is going to evaluate your product or service much more critically. That’s the kind of feedback you need.

You can also try to get upfront sales, though that’s a … [ Read more ]

Phillip H. Kim

It’s rare that all founding partners are equally committed. How much time each will invest, what opportunity costs each will accept, and the level of ambition each has may differ. That’s especially true if one founder had the original idea and brought on the others, or if one founder devotes himself to the business full time while his co-founders hang onto their day jobs. You … [ Read more ]

Philip Krim

Early-stage investors get excited about hearing your story, and how you’re going to change the world and why, as opposed to your saying, “Tactically, here are the next six steps we’re going to do, and this gets us to launch.” That tactical conversation—you need to have a keen grasp of it, but it’s not what sells the dream. It’s important to build your 12- or … [ Read more ]

Randy Komisar

You will do market research, but that comes later. Before trying to figure out how big your market is, you need to know that people have accepted and will continue to accept the gist of your value proposition. Otherwise, you’ll be piling assumption on top of assumption.

Norm Brodsky

I’ve been doing a lot of negotiating these days, and I keep noticing mistakes people make. Their most common mistake is focusing on what they want when they should be devoting their attention to learning what the other side wants, and how badly. If you can do that without showing your hand, you wind up controlling the process. You can craft a deal that satisfies … [ Read more ]

Jason Fried

If your company makes four products, it really makes five. If it makes 12, it makes 13. Even companies that make just one thing actually make two.

The secret product? The company itself. Your company is a product. Who are its customers? Your employees, who use it to do their jobs.

Since your company is the product that makes all of your other products, it should be the … [ Read more ]

Tony Robbins

The biggest illusion people share with me is “I started a business so I can have more free time.” That’s like saying you had a child so you could have more free time. That is dumb, right? It’s another reason people fail. My view is that if your business is your mission, if it’s truly something you love and live for, it’s an extension of you, it’s … [ Read more ]

Evan Williams

Lack of trust doesn’t necessarily come from people lying and cheating; it generally comes from a lack of good communication.

Susan David

If you tell your employees that you want them to embrace teamwork, but then reward your work force based on what they accomplish individually, you’ve undercut your message. In all likelihood, the consequence will be that employees who want to be considered for a bonus may no longer want to perform or support “unseen” collaborative work, which, despite what the company posits, goes unrewarded.

Chris Powell

Trust and transparency are the two biggest factors that impact engagement metrics, and if you don’t share survey results, you’ll erode both. You don’t have to do everything employees want, of course, but explain why you’re moving forward with some ideas and not with others. Organizations tend to do a poor job with the ‘why.’ They tell the team the ‘what,’ but not the reason behind … [ Read more ]

Kate Rockwood

In addition to “inherent” diversity (a mix of age, race, and gender), the strongest teams have people with “acquired” diversity, such as military experience, foreign language skills, and time spent abroad.

Derek Lidow, Scott Leibs

[A founder’s mentality] comes down to balancing the conflict between projects and processes. People tend to like one or the other, so the leader must keep reiterating how and why both are necessary. Remind the projects people, who may be driving innovation, that the processes you’re rolling out won’t kill the fun; they’ll generate the money to fund more projects.

James Allen, Scott Leibs

As companies move from insurgent to incumbent the original culture is often lost. A variety of factors contribute, but one in particular concerns talent management: As you implement more systems, you tend to hire the kinds of people who are comfortable working within, or running, systems. You jump from a “time of heroes” to a culture reshaped by hastily implemented systems that may drive away … [ Read more ]

Inside the Psychology of Productivity

Burned out? Can’t get it all done? The problem might be in your head.

How to Win Against Counterfeiters

Online fakers are coming after everybody—but even the small and scrappy can fight back.

Glass Ceiling Debate: He Said, She Didn’t

Some biases are so subtle neither gender may be aware of them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist.