Q: What 3 pearls of wisdom would you give a 1st time CEO of a small technology startup (product yet to be launched)?

My 3:

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.

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