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This probably won't be a popular opinion here, but anyone using the term "MVP" has always set off red flags of failure for me. The best products come from people who are in love with technology scratching their own itch.

People wanting to "do a startup" are most likely in for a world of hurt. If you're not writing code on a daily basis (because that's what you do!) and eventually writing code to solve a problem you're having, or just cause you have a cool idea, then the likelihood of success is basically nil.

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Following the Lean Startup approach isn't incompatible with scratching your own itch, or with having passion or whatever. It's just a way to avoid wasting a ton of time and money building something that ultimately fails because nobody wants it.

Now if you look at a project through the lens of "even if it fails as a company, I win anyway because of the lessons I learned from building it" or something similar, then I could see the argument for disregarding this approach. But the idea really just reduces to "build what you want to build, but do it iteratively and combine some validated learning about your market along with your development."

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Indeed, the lens is what I'm talking about. I'd go so far as to argue that you should never approach a new project as a potential company and instead just build things you find fun/useful/novel. The greatest successes (financially, world impact) I've seen have been from developers making cool projects. These eventually got traction and the developer had investors... beating down the door. At that point the project turned into a company (although not one that had revenue). Growth continued because the products were awesome and eventually led to massive acquisitions.

You could argue that they hit their MVP and that's when everything took off but the mindset was definitely "I'm going to build something cool" opposed to "I'm going to build an MVP so I can have a startup".

These founders eventually left post-acquisition and have since continued to crank out new projects without regard to commercial viability. Not what the business schools teach but they have "won" so I don't think they care.

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That's not so different from the way I'm approaching the startup I'm working on. It did start as something that I just thought would be cool to work on, and everything is open-source, and I definitely figure that I win from doing the project no matter whether it becomes commercially successful or not.

That said, I feel like it is something that has a chance commercially, and we are actually employing the Customer Development / Lean Startup model to things. I don't necessarily see that as incompatible with "doing cool stuff." I'm just prioritizing the "cool stuff" a little, based on feedback from potential customers. That's a sacrifice that I, personally, can live with. YMMV. :-)

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Cool, now they can bypass the painful step of forcing you out of the CEO role, and just never let you take it in the first place. Also, Fred would not invest in this app and Jordan isn't a real VC, so the piece is pretty bogus.

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The scrum teams don't own the means of production. Individual contributors are human capital. The means of production are owned by the people in control of the finances and business model. If the company were to shift direction and your product discontinued, it's possible the scrum team would be disbanded and the resources that were being used to support them would be reallocated by the "owners" to a new team that aligned with their decision to shift strategy.

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The team could also quit en masse and go found a startup to do what they'd been doing before, if they really believed in it. It's happened to more than a few big companies.

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Yes they do - just like lawyer owns his skills and can take them elsewhere and continue his work.

A factory worker on the other hand, can't (legally) take the machines with him.

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The one thing they totally failed to predict was the trend toward much more casual clothing. Partially due to technology becoming available to all the classes but even upper class people would find this level of dress over the top for current times. How long before we end up in the stereotypical white space jump suit?

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If they could have accurately predicted today's women's clothing, the cards would have been banned as porn. Even SF cant manage the future. Forbidden Planet, one of my favorite movies, all the men had DA haircuts. Start Trek crew had these monster devices hanging out their ears. Heinlein envisioned Autodesk but the drawings were made by a robot device.

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Better still, we could walk around with our Facebook wall (and little text ads) displayed on our backs!

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One reason for the "casualization" of dress were the world wars. Rationing and general mood (and having your country ripped apart) made it kinda impossible to dress extragantantly as a rule anymore. After the war ended, it kinda stuck (just like the daily shaving thing).

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That sure sounds plausible, but is there any evidence that this was actually the case? I'm always looking for excuses to dress extravagantly and not shave.

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I wonder how a16z would feel about an upstart portfolio company turning down world class talent in the name of friendship? Obviously, don't hire someone if it will sour a relationship that is financially important for your company, but are you really a great entrepreneur/ceo if you're turning away awesome people for some fuzzy feelings you have with another ceo?

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I think a16z really really approves of "good guys" - ben horowitz wrote a really inspirational blog post about the HP CEO being sacked and how leaders need a moral compass.

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DON'T: Choose a partner that has a spouse/significant other who won't be supporting the business through the inevitable down times that come with launching a business.

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Actually it doesn't have to be the opposite. It just has to be something repurposed into a context not intended by the original meaning.

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Granted, the original claim of irony was still incorrect.

EDIT: no, actualy I still disagree. Mere 'repurposing' in the "black is white" sense is not enough, there has to be contradiction.

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Great points. VCs (and larger angels) will tell you all day long that there's no such thing as pitching too early (cf. http://www.thisisgoingtobebig.com/blog/2009/10/19/never-too-...). It's simply not true. As Rand mentions the power dynamics in those talks are entirely one-sided (not your side).

This isn't black and white and investors are great at playing the game. Often they'll send an associate your way in the early stages (or send you back down to an associate after a MD intro). If this happens, insist on talking to the MD. If they agree, they're interested and possibly trying to mask that interest. If they don't, they're not interested and just trying to "hang around the rim".

Unless you love pitching, don't spend time with investors that don't have partners chasing YOU.

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