Never Go It Alone

I read Do More Faster: Techstars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup by David Cohen and Brad Feld a while ago and loved it. 

Techstars is a startup accelerator that provides mentoring to its entrepreneurs and this book is a compilation of lessons learned, in the words of the founders, mentors, and others involved in their world. These lessons are organized into topics like Ideas and Vision, People, Product, Execution, and many others. And given that they're told from the perspective of those who have learned these lessons firsthand, with commentary by David and Brad to give them more context, it's a quick, enjoyable, and informative read.

I couldn't do all the many lessons justice, but the one that I have learned personally and therefore stuck out is to not go it alone.

Entrepreneurship is hard. Doing it alone and having to be responsible for everything makes it nearly impossible to succeed. The authors explain that they have rarely seen a sole founder able to make it work and always recommend he at least get one or two partners. It's a lot easier to share the work, the lessons, the feedback, and the support.

I have now tried two of my own "startups" and to all intents and purposes, did them both alone. I executed the second better, cared much more about the idea, and pivoted a few times. I now understand why the second didn't take and don't know whether having a partner would have made a difference or not, but I can say that if I ever again feel compelled to work on another idea, I will first talk about it broadly and try to get a partner.

If the feedback is good and if I can get someone else convinced enough to join me, great; if not, than I'm better off going no further with the idea anyhow. As David and Brad explained, many startups pivot or start over with new ideas while in the program, which they're fine with since they tend to back the people, not the idea, at that stage.

Lucky for me I'm now working for,
a great startup that not only has three great co-founders but that has just been accepted into the Techstars 2016 Austin class. Although I won't be there in person, I look forward to learning lots secondhand.

Have you tried doing something really hard on your own? How was the experience?

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