37 Pithy Insights From Street-Smart Entrepreneurs

Source | www.onstartups.com | Dharmesh Shah

The response to an earlier article “Startups: 10 Things MBA Schools Won’t Teach You” has been overwhelmingly positive.  The article has now received about 150 comments across various websites (on the OnStartups.com site, in the OnStartups LinkedIn group, etc.)  Unsurprisingly, many of the comments are much better than anything I could have ever come up with on my own.OnStartups Gear Head

So, to further the conversation and discussion, I decided to collect, edit and share some of the fantastic insights from reader comments. 

Thanks to all of those that contributed such great insights.  Sorry I could not include them all.


37 Pithy Insights From Street-Smart Entrepreneurs

1. Infect employees with pride of ownership. If the employees feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, then they’ll work that way. 

2. Every company has “idiotsyncracies.” Some crazy thing they do that works for them but would never work anywhere else. Trying to “correct” that ends up destroying what makes the company special.

3. You pour your heart and soul into a startup.  Someone who hasn’t done it won’t understand the effort until they go through it.

4. Most start ups should start selling the product before they think they should.

5. Ritualize the work atmosphere — everytime a contract comes in, ring a bell or gong and let everyone celebrate. There’s a reason Survivor has rituals.

6. Competitors & customers can, do, and will do irrational things. Neither care about your title, your education, your pedigree, your investors, or your SAT scores.

7. Customers are defined as people or organizations who pay more for something than it costs you to make it.  The relationship should be arms-length (which is why your dad is not a real customer).

8. A lack of competitors is almost always a bad thing because it means the market you entered doesn’t interest anybody else.

9. Your core founding team needs to be smart, energetic and committed. It helps if they can fill multiple roles at the same time (sell, write software, deliver services and invoice). 

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