Fred Wilson: Starting Up Just to Start Up Isn't a Good Idea
Instead of a final exam, I assign my students the task of blogging. You can see the the class blog here, where the students wrestle with the limitations of the lean methodology, challenges in seeking product-market fit, premature scaling, and other important startup topics.
I encouraged the students to live tweet the class and it was a huge success. You can see the Twitter stream from the class here. A few highlights/quotes that I thought were particularly salient:
- "We should always bet on the team and, in this case, ignored that it looked like a niche market." (Fred on lessons learned on passing up the opportunity to invest in AirBnB)
- "It’s a lot better to fail with professional investors’ money than with friends and family money. We’re used to losing money."
- "Don't let your own reality distortion field convince you, as a founder, that you've hit product market fit."
- "As an entrepreneur, stay a 'free agent' as long as possible." (i.e. don't pick a VC partner too early in your lifecycle--Union Square and Flybridge aside...)
- "[When pitching investors,] focus on the big vision, how you will be the market leader in 10 years, don't get stuck in the operational details."
- On career choices: "You'll learn more doing your own start-up [versus joining someone else's]. But doing a start-up for the sake of doing a start-up isn't a good idea."
- "VCs look for passionate, authentic founders who actually believe they can defy gravity." (I think this was me but Fred seemed to agree)
- "There's value in having a founding team with a crazy person with vision alongside a co-founder grounded in logic and analytics."
Thanks again to Fred for coming out and helping make a memorable class experience.
JEFF BUSSGANG | Columnist | General Partner, Flybridge Capital Partners
Jeff is a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners, which focuses on consumer, Internet commerce, marketing services, software, and mobile start-ups. He's the author of Mastering the VC Game, and the blog Seeing Both Sides.