I have a lot of advice for startup CEOs, but maybe I will share the top 10 that come into my head:
- You're not doing this alone. You have friends, family, your investors, and employees rooting you on. Talk to them.
- Everything seems like it sucks -- metrics go up and down. Customers leave. An employee quits. Product/market fit could be a lot better. But this is how it feels even if it's a rocket ship. It's important to put it into perspective.
- Your job changes dramatically over time. Your first job is to build the machine -- the product that attracts the customers, and generates the revenue. But eventually it turns into a job where you're building the machine that builds the machine. It's all about hiring, leading, managing, etc., etc. Prepare for this to feel weird when it transitions -- especially spending 25%+ of your time hiring.
- Everyone's gotten very data-driven these days, which is great, but you should set your strategy, and then your metrics should follow. It's to verify that your strategy is working -- having a lot of dashboards is no substitute for strong product insight and strategy.
- Some people say to stay off Twitter and forget the distraction. I say the opposite - find interesting, knowledgeable people from social media, and DM them to meet in person. Stay outbound. Use it for recruiting, networking, fundraising and more.
- Raising money is a really, really important thing. It can feel like a great milestone, but it's just the beginning.
- Ben Horowitz's book The Hard Things About Hard Things is the best book about being a CEO and managing your own psychology as you set out to do this crazy hard thing. It's fantastic. Read and re-read it.
- Also read and re-read High Output Management by Andy Grove.
- Build long-term relationships with your employees, investors, and people in the ecosystem. Hopefully your startup thrives, but maybe it won't -- and you'll still want to build a long-term network because there will be more to do in the future.
- Don't worry about generic startup advice -- including lists like this one! Make sure you find advice that's tailored to your startup's stage, industry, and specific situation. Talk to experts who are willing to dig in. Lists like this are fun to read but there's a big gap in applying them.
OK that's my first 10.
This question originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions: