September 28, 2013

Startup Metrics For Pirates lecture by Dave McClure

This is a lecture by Dave McClure (@davemcclure). The video is a little shaky in the beginning but will improve after a few minutes. I had never heard of him before I saw this lecture, and according to his Wikipedia page, he's "an entrepreneur and prominent angel investor based in the San Francisco Bay Area, who founded and runs the business incubator 500 Startups. He is often described as one of the super angel investors." If you want to read his (old) blog, it's called Master of 500 Hats.

Lessons learned
  • You are an entrepreneur if you can solve a customer's problem, get them to pay you for it, and make more money than it cost you to build the product and get your customers.
  • Most new ideas fail, but the cost of testing new ideas and find new customers has decreased.
  • Most entrepreneurs know how to build a company from a technology point of view, but they don't know how to find new customers.
  • "Don't learn how to play basketball by watching Michael Jordan" = Don't believe you can increase the value of your company by imitating companies like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. They might have a high valuation without any profits but Dave McClure prefers companies that sells something or companies knowing how to make money from the customers they have today.
  • When Dave McClure worked as a programmer he thought that marketers were a waste of time and didn't contribute to the company since they only sold his products - then he realized that he needed them.
  • Recommended the books: The Mating Mind, Spent, Influence, Understanding Comics.
  • When you know what you customers want (your product is interesting enough to your users so they are profitable), stop adding more features and begin to focus on marketing and growth.
  • You have to fail multiple times, but you also need to gather data from you failure so you can learn why you failed. Don't worry about your future customers knowing about how you have failed - they will not know it or they will forget it when they notice you have a great product. 

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