Monday, January 30, 2006

Startup Feedback

Starting a new company requires good feedback.
  1. Let's start with the idea for the new company. Develop a trusted set of two to three people that you can bounce the idea off. From when I first started to conceptualize Hubpages, to where it is now is a complete transformation. This is a good process. Find the holes and tweak. Once it is solid, move to step two. .
  2. Make a list of the few people that you would consider to start a company with. The list I made for Hubpages was entirely made up of the best developers I knew that could not only produce code, but manage a development team as the project scaled. Discuss the idea with them. Top people won't join you unless they believe in the concept. If you can't get great people, that is a sign that the idea needs further tweaking. Once you have them, and start developing, expect the product to change, and for each of them to point out stuff the product doesn't need and stuff it does.
  3. VC's as feedback. VC's have lots of experience with several companies and can be a great source of insight for early companies. The VC's that I want to pitch the most on Hubpages are ones that have had successful runs with companies that are as close as second cousins because of the feedback and guidance they can offer. You have to be careful of pitching VC's that already have a portfolio company in the same space, but if I had a startup that was building a marketplace for online leads, I'd like to talk with VC's that had invested in LowerMyBills. Give two VC's the same pitch and ask for feedback. See what it is and then tweak.
Pretend that you have $1mil dollars to invest. You can invest it in any company. Tweak your idea, team and plan until you think it is the best place for your investment. Investors have a lot of choices to put their money into, and they want the best ideas, team and execution.

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