Category Archives: Getting Started

The myth of the 80 hour work week

The prevailing frame of thought in the startup community is that you have to work crazy hours if you work for a startup.  If you are the founder of a startup, you hours need to be even crazier.

There a very few contrarians to this 80+ hour work week thinking.

One of them is the co-founder of 37signals David Heinemeier Hansson.  I think every entrepreneur should regularly read the content created by both David and his co-founder Jason Fried.  They provide a contrarian perspective to almost every pervasive startup meme you could think of.

In the particular post I want to share today titled All or Something, David makes the case for the 10 or 20 hour startup work week.  He states:

The marginal value of the last hour put into a business idea is usually much less than the first. The world is full of ideas that can be executed with 10 to 20 hours per week, let alone 40. The number of projects that are truly impossible unless you put in 80 or 120 hours per week are vanishingly small by comparison.

If your main fear of going after a startup idea is the amount of time it will require, then I suggest you read more of this post.

In addition, you should read their book Rework and Getting Real to find motivation.


The age myth: Are younger entrepreneurs better?

There is a common perception that once an entrepreneur turns 30, he or she is over the hill.  Even worse, the prevailing thought is if you haven’t hit an entrepreneurial home run by age 30, your chances of ever hitting a homerun are next to nill.

It turns out that these beliefs are just plain false.  

Adeo Ressi, the founder of The Founder Institute, has done personality and aptitude tests on over 3,000 potential entrepreneurs worldwide to draw conclusions on the question: Are younger entrepreneurs better?

Ressi states the following regarding the age myth:

The research shows that an older age is actually a better predictor of entrepreneurial success

Ressi then goes on to conclude the following:

Age is only one factor among many to predict the success of entrepreneurs, and anybody at any age can break any molds put forward by “experts.” However, it’s clear that the stories of a few “college-dropout turned millionaire” (or billionaire) startup founders have clouded both the mass media and the tech industry from reality. We have romanticized the idea of a young founder because, well, it’s a great story, but these stories are not the norm. In the end, classic biases of gender, race, and age need to be discarded for a real science of success.

To get the background on Ressi’s methodology for these conclusions you should read this blog post he wrote on TechCrunch.

Make your product an extension of you

My man Neval dropped some deep knowledge on me this morning in a post that was probably less than 150 words.

No Really, it would’ve been easy to miss this.

Most people probably did miss it since his post is almost 2 years old and I haven’t heard it repeated at all.

Not only was it the first time I read it, it was the first time I heard any mentor state this so plainly.  So read this carefully:

Often, the best companies are ones where the product is an extension of the founder’s personality, which shouldn’t be a big surprise, since everyone is passionate about themselves.

This might be the key ingredient to the secret sauce we’ve been searching for.  This just might the most important thing about entrepreneurship I’ve ever read.

The name of Neval’s post is Before product-market fit, find passion-market fit and I suggest you spend the next 5 minutes reading it 5 times.

Btw…this is in direct conflict with the advice Mark Cuban gives.  But I think Neval is right.

Or are they saying the same thing in a different way?

What do you think?

Most entrepreneurs aren’t qualified for their jobs

The title of this post applies to only first time entrepreneurs for the most part.  If you are a first timer (like me), you probably don’t know what you should be doing to make the best use of your time. New York VC Charlie O’Donnell wants you to know that this is perfectly normal. In his blog post titled Admitting that you have no idea what you’re doing O’Donnell states:

 The next move isn’t easy for anyone when it’s the first time they’ve ever done something.

The solution?  Start asking a lot of questions.

His solution begs the question, who should you ask? Well if you don’t have a mentor or a coach yet, now would be the time to start looking…

Read O’Donnell’s full post here.

Your destiny lies in how you apply your time

It was only a matter of time before a Mark Cuban blog post came up to provide us a few ingredients to add to our entrepreneur secret sauce.  Since Cuban blogs about a lot of random, non-entrepreneurial stuff, it doesn’t surprise me that a gem didn’t come across my radar until 30 days into the start of curating this recipe.

This insight from Mark is just what you would expect from him… provocative.  I had to dig more than 1 year back in his blog to find it.

If you really want to know where you destiny lies, look at where you apply your time.

The above quote comes from Mark’s post titled Don’t Follow Your Passion, Follow Your Effort.  He suggest that the prevailing belief that following your passion leads to success is rubbish.  Instead, you should follow how you spend your time. He says

”Follow Your Passion” is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.

His rationalize is quite simple.  The more time you spend on something, the better you get at it.  Read all about it on his blog.

Most entrepreneurs are like artists: passionate and starving

The title of this post is a quote  from Dan Martell, a Canadian entrepreneur who has built and sold several successful startups.  He pinned this quote in a blog post he titled Entrepreneurship Is Not A Career Move.

Although this may be a downer for some, most entrepreneurs are not successful in their pursuit of riches.  This is why the #1 reason you should become an entrepreneur should be your passion to create a solution for a problem, not for the money.  As Dan states:

I’m not sure when being an entrepreneur turned into a career but it’s a dangerous way to look at it. It’s like waking up one day deciding to become an artist. You don’t decide to become an artist, it comes from a passion to create.

Read more of Dan’s advice here.