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Entrepreneurs Tell What They Wish They’d Known before Founding First Startup (davidhauser.com)
169 points by dh on Nov 7, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 37 comments

Notice how a lot of the answers form a single connected thread: how hard it is to get users, that doing so depends on making what they want, and that to make what they want you have to understand them (instead of working on some idea conceived in a vacuum).

Interesting. It surprises me that many tech entrepreneurs dismiss UX methods as fluff when they were designed to accomplish this exact goal.

It doesn't help that user research is constantly getting conflated with how to do drop shadows and gradients.

and to understand them you have to observe them, observe the problems they face everyday and create a solution for them so that next time they see you on the street they give you a HUGE hug

Better yet, you need to be one of them. It works well when your service is, well, of service to you! thats when the proximity to the user is maximized.

Always works if you're one of them

What I liked most about this post: not so much the answers, but the fact that the answers were all so different...further emphasizing that there rarely is one right answer, but many possibilities and that you have to find your own.

Great read. Thank you, OP.

I agree. It is truly a great read.

I also read the book "Connect the Dots" 2 years back. That tells the founding stories of 20-25 founders. But all those stories are from India and are about general businesses.

It is so inspiring to read success stories of other people and you also learn the way they think about the problems and the way they tackle it.

My personal takeaways:

Mike Arsenault's suggestion of the Van Westendorp's Price Sensitivity Meter



Just what I needed right now (I'm struggling to find the correct price for an app, was going to go with the market).

Something that also resonates with me is:

"I wish that I knew how difficult it is to acquire a customer, get them to pay for your product and believe it’s as magical as you think it is."

Edit: changed broken Wikipedia link.

Just a head's up, that link is broken. I think you may have meant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_Westendorp%27s_Price_Sensit...

Also, I just want to mention that if you have the ability to change your price rapidly then using a dynamic pricing API[0] might be better suited for determining the best price.

[0] Disclosure: this is what we do, but don't feel compelled to use us.

Thanks, your company looks good :)


but at a glance it doesn't seem to work for App Store / Google Play.

Plus, I'm not sure how it would work for our intended demographic.

I'll definitely keep it in mind, looks like a great tool in the startup toolbox.

Is your product for shopping carts only or can it be used with anything? What if for example i was selling something using something like gumroad or shoplocket?

Our product is just a REST API, so you could use it with anything. We have been building out integrations with shopping carts but I think Gumroad would be a perfect application for it.

Excellent. I look forward to trying it in the near future.

These people seem to have been chosen because of(and their advice ordered by) their physical attractiveness rather than their actual entrepreneurial success.

Edit: OK, I kind of take it back. I started paying attention at #4 and stopped at #10.

They must have changed the order (and added a few people) in the 15 minutes since you wrote this comment.

That is not how they were chosen at all

What I'm taking away from this is that you think Dan Martell, Neil Patel, and Nick Francis are really good looking. Is that what you're getting at?

Gotta say, that font-color is absolutely terrible. Light on light, really difficult to read.

Yeah, had a tough time reading it as well.

> Don’t hire people that are getting a salary bump up by working with you

Anyone else find that piece of advice a bit odd? Wouldn't someone like that be more of an asset since they were (ostensibly) getting paid closer to their worth than before, especially if they actually fit your culture?

My interpretation is that early-stage start-ups need employees motivated primarily by something other than money (at least in the short term).

Accepting a position at a higher pay than your current one is a low-risk proposition, and start-ups are not an ideal environment for people who prefer to play it safe. Working to make their equity valuable in the long term should be a higher priority for early employees than extracting short-term financial gains.

I thought this was strange too. I wish he'd gone into a bit of detail.

My takeaway (Cliff's Notes):

Customer: build from distribution backwards / know your customers / build small or incomplete first in order to test demand

Self: running a company is an emotional roller-coaster, be prepared mentally, schedule the important stuff, your team is extremely important

Company: build necessary metrics from day one, price test / analyze, iterate quickly, learn always

Tumblr is having a problem today, guess we have to move the blog

it seems that the recurring theme is "You can loose so much time worrying about things that don’t even matter" - Gautam

"start saying NO to things that would take me away from what really needed my attention" - Renee

"is the question I am agonizing over right now likely to be the thing I will agonize over four years from now? The answer is usually no." - Bo

The main idea I got from this is to re-evaluate the things you are doing every day and prioritize the tasks that are absolutely essential to the startup.

Was one of them capacity planning?

Ding! next

I get this message:

"We're sorry Our servers are over capacity and certain pages may be temporarily unavailable. We're working quickly to resolve the issue."

I got there through Google's Web Cache:


This has happened to me often enough lately that I really wish someone would implement peer-to-peer hosting in a form that will replace the way the current internet works.

Apparently this is currently possible, or will soon be possible, on Chrome and Firefox -- able to cache websites, and able to serve websites, through client-to-client communications.

You mean like a CDN but for websites instead of just asset.

Welcome to Google's High Replication Datastore.

A very interesting one: "Never take advice from anyone who hasn’t done or isn’t doing what you want to accomplish."

Thanks so much for the great post. I can definitely identify with the emotional roller coaster aspect.

What users really want. That's a billion dollar answer before starting the start up


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