Q: What 3 pearls of wisdom would you give a 1st time CEO of a small technology startup (product yet to be launched)?
1. Make sure your co-founder is good enough AND committed enough. Even if your idea and even ability to close initial customers is good enough, if you aren’t good enough of a team — take a pause. And go find someone better, and/or more committed. You’ll hit such a hard wall in 6-18 months it’s not worth it otherwise.
2. Make sure you are committed for 5-7 years in general — and for 2 years to get anywhere. It takes 7-10 years to get to an IPO, and usually at least 5 years until you really have something big. In the early days, that’s infinity for many, though. Most important is the founders will give it 2 years just to get anywhere, to get to any customers. This gives you a 50x better chance of making it than if you just give yourself 9-12 months to get to “somewhere.”
3. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. Even great products rarely sell themselves. If you don’t know how to hustle — that’s OK. Learn. Fast.