All things being equal, from my observation success or failure of a startup boils down to three main characteristics of its staff: Motivation, Ability & Attitude. This of course, first and foremost applies to the founder, followed by his/her team that supports him/her behind.
Motivation – is the founder motivated to make his startup-idea a success? Is this his own idea that he is passionate about? Or was he put in charge of this startup by someone else (board, investors..)?
Level of motivation that a founder has for his startup-idea plays a major role in the success of his startup.
Ability – is he capable, both as a leader and a manager? Does he have the expertise in the field that his startup is operating? How is his execution skills? Is he a doer? Does he have the required experience?
Well-roundedness is the key characteristic of ablepeople – people who get things done. They understand and appreciate the different complexities of running a company. From product development to HR to Operations etc. And they are able to navigate through the many challenges and still get the things done.
Attitude – does he have the right attitude towards the idea, the startup, the way startups normally operate in a chaotic environment, agile methodology, continuous improvement, continuous customer feedback…? Or is he a 9am – 5pm, corporate type of guy?
Having a right attitude will produce a right behavior and vice versa. (Definition of an attitude: a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.)
It’s hard to change attitudes, and often times it’s impossible to change settled attitudes. Therefore, it’s absolutely critical to have the right person as the founder from the beginning. Same goes to the hiring of team members. Most hiring managers tend to pay more attention to CV credentials than an attitude of a person, which I think is a big mistake.
Often times, people have different combination of these three. I hope that your founder has the highest scores in all three, namely; high motivation, strong ability and the right attitude in order to achieve a fully connected cycle to run your startup smoothly.
But realistically, it’s difficult to find an individual that has a fully connected cycle. And it’s more difficult to build a team that has the full-cycle as well.
This is not some sort of management theory from MBA books. It’s just my personal observation throughout the years. Being both as an entrepreneur myself and an employee of startups and big corporation. I, now can see these three characteristics that are needed in the founder & the team to get a good idea turn into a successful startup.
Snapchat is becoming more than just a messaging app between teenagers. It’s transforming itself into a powerful media communication platform not only between users, but also between brands and users.
What’s Snapchat? – Snap a photo or a video, add a caption, and send it to a friend. They’ll view it, laugh, and then the Snap disappears from the screen – unless they take a screenshot!
Its LIVE feature has been quite popular recently generating a lot of buzz on the web. This is how you can access the LIVE section and see what’s going on in the world. 1) After you open the app, tap the burger menu 2) Choose one of the LIVE channels 3) And enjoy the videos in that particular LIVE channel.
Snapchat has also created a brand new opportunity for News channels like CNN to distribute their content to a new segment of users via their DISCOVER feature. And the way the content is designed and distributed is very unique to Snapchat, unlike the web or normal news apps. If you haven’t experienced it, you should really check it out. Continue reading →
My Rating: 9/10The Four Steps to the Epiphany – It’s a must read book for all Tech Entrepreneurs. Newer version of the book is called The Startup Owner’s Manual. Author of the book Steve Blank, was the lecturer of Eric Ries who popularized the Lean Startup book/movement. This book will teach you how not to build a company, and to avoid many pitfalls that early entrepreneurs normally do. It’s a highly recommended book that will change the way you approach building and growing startups.
My Rating: 10/10Don’t Make Me Think – This was one of the first books that I read on usability, back in early 2000s. If you are into web usability and user experience (UX), this is a highly recommended book. It’s one of those foundation books that can set a solid base for someone who is foraying into the field of building usable user interfaces (UI) and user experiences (UX) for the web.
Plastimake is an easy-to-use plastic that you can dip in a hot water and mold it with your hands. It’s non-toxic, super-strong, reusable, lightweight and biodegradable. It’s a great way to have a family fun with your kids.
Kinetic Sand is sand that breathes motion. It’s easy to clean, dust-free and never dries out. Playing with Kinetic Sand gives a moment of relaxation for your kids and it’s great for their fine motor, sensory and cognitive development. Continue reading →
My Rating: 9/10The Lean Startup – In his hugely popular book, Eric Ries basically expands on Steve Blank‘s “Customer Development Model“, a formula for building successful and sustainable products and businesses. The main idea of the book is about shortening the product development cycle by way of validated learning. It encourages building MVP (minimum viable product) version of the idea and then adding small iterations and improvements to the product. Each new iteration (i.e feature) has to be tested against the customers. So that, you are absolutely sure that the features you are adding to your products are actually useful to your customers.
My Rating: 7/10Zero to One – this is a very easy to read and simple book. Peter Thiel touches on many topics with simple examples (oftentimes too simplistic). But one takeaway from this book is, he suggests that everyone should try to build a monopoly-company (i.e proprietary products and solutions, closed ecosystem, patents etc). He argues that instead of competing with your competitors in the perfect competition market, which results in marginal increase in revenue, you should build a monopoly company where you can charge a lot higher margins for your products and services. He also argues that many of the successful companies (eg; Google, Apple etc) are monopolists, but they have been successful in “tricking” everyone that they are competing in a very competitive industry.
I have had this idea of reviewing books that I’ve read with a very short review – only the gist of them, the main theme so to speak – and it shouldn’t be more than five sentences. So, here goes the first one.
My Rating: 8/10The Innovator’s Dilemma – this book argues that the processes and resource allocation priorities that are setup in big corporations are not startup (new idea) friendly. For this very reason, it argues that big corporations often miss the boat on the new emerging and disruptive technologies. Because they are setup to keep churning more and more revenues from existing products and services. Their focus is to improve existing line of products and services, and ignore the new emerging technologies that are initially not directly competing with them.
Eg; Telcos – SMS vs Whatsapp, Taxis vs Uber, Hotels vs Airbnb etc.
Eric Ries who has popularized Lean Startup methodology has done an AMA on HackerNews. When he was asked “Are there examples of lean startup ideas going wrong or being misunderstood and leading startups straight to failure?”
He had this to say:
“Tons! I think about this all the time, since I feel a responsibility to try and talk about lean startup in such a way that prevents misunderstanding.
I would say the three most fatal misapplications are:
“Up and to the right“ disease.
Here you split-test everything and just do whatever moves the numbers. pretty soon you are selling porn or psychic hotlines.
“No vision, no problems“ error.
It’s like trying to do science without a hypothesis. In lean startup we emphasize that people trying to predict the future are often wrong, so it’s best to experiment and pivot as you learn. But some people interpret this to mean that the future is unknowable, there’s no point in having any kind of vision, and you should just ship something and see what happens. the problem with this plan is you are guaranteed to succeed – at seeing what happens. after-the-fact rationalization will prevent any learning, because if you can’t fail you can’t learn. having a big expansive vision is really helpful because it provides lots of falsifiable hypotheses for testing.
“Minimum Viable Crap” sloppy execution.
Some people think MVP means just throw garbage at the wall and see what sticks, especially since the M makes people think lean startup is for doing something small. but the truth is if you’re doing something small, you don’t need MVP or lean startup. you only need an MVP if you’re trying something large. further, part of the MVP process is to learn what customers actually value in terms of quality, so we can build something that they perceive as excellent. shipping crap isn’t the goal, and people that go on TechCrunch with garbage and then claim “but it’s an MVP!” are doing it wrong. the hard truth is that spending more time “perfecting” a product in the absence of feedback often makes the product worse, not better.”
I can see the No3 in many startups. You can read the full AMA here.
Below is one of the many solutions that will be coming up soon that will be built on top of free, transparent, public ledger technology called Blockchain. And money will be sent on the Blockchain platform via one of its main apps/features called Bitcoin.
Transaction fees are nearly $0 on the Blockchain, but service providers and apps might charge their own service fees. But these service fees won’t be like the ones above in my tweet for sure.