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February 16, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

“Do More Faster: Tech Stars Lessons to Accelerate your Start up

A great book from the co-founders of Tech Stars, Brad Feld and David Cohen, both experienced entrepreneurs in their own right and have an incredible success rate from their mentorship program (now in Colorado, Boston, and Seattle). Too bad its understocked at Borders and Barnes & Noble stores locally. Thats ok, its killing it on Amazon & other online outlets. Themes which emerged from my reading of the book:

1) The importance of mentors
2) The critical importance of execution
3) Always be testing & iterating (fail fast & learn)
4) Start ups can be chaotic, testing and iterating helps solve this problem

Here are some wise and insightful quotes which spoke to me about entrepreneurship, strategy, and internet start ups:

“We’d heard the statistics like everyone else. We all know that failure is the likely outcome of any individual new venture. However, with each interaction in the marketplace, you give yourself a better chance of success. You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. You only truly fail if you stop trying. So fail fast. Learn quickly. And start again.”
Alex White, Tech Stars Alum & Next Big Sound

“If a startup can’t do more faster, it usually just gets dead faster.”
David Cohen, Co-founder of Tech Stars

“When we meet with entrepreneurs, I’m interested in their failures. And most people have them; you just have to dig a bit to find them. If someone has failed and taken the time to learn from it, I think that’s a big positive. It makes us even more excited to back them the next time. So don’t hide your failures. Wear them as a badge of honor. And most of all, learn from them.”
Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures

“First, focus on ease of use. Your site and your new features have to be very easy to use and graphically appealing.
Next, build one thing well.
Finally, listen to some, but not all, of your users. User feedback is good, but don’t listen to all of it.”
Andy Smith of Daily Burn

Always be acting, and with confidence, but always be ready to iterate and evolve your thinking if you discover you made a wrong move.”
Ben Cosnocha, Tech Stars mentor

“Do or do not–there is no try.”
Brad Feld, Co-founder of Tech Stars

“Its about doing. Do more, faster.”
David Cohens office at Tech Stars

There are five key metrics to measuring user behavior and happiness:
1) Acquisition-how are users coming to your site through various channels?
2) Activation-Are users happy with their first experience?
3) Retention-Are users coming back?
4) Referral-Are users telling others?
5) Revenue-Are users spending money or allowing you to monetize in some way?
Dave McClure, Tech Stars mentor

“We conducted simple multivariate testing on this website and within a few days increased conversion by 40 percent.”
Andy Sack, managing director of Tech Stars in Seattle and co-founder of Revenue Loan

“Our ultimate goal was to create a completely frictionless experience for our customers, resulting in a situation in which it was easy for them to fall in love with our service and with us….Make sure you stay focus and listen to what people need and help them get it. Then do that again, and again, and again.”
Bill Flagg, Tech Stars Mentor & President of Reg Online

“Our early revenue was composed primarily of advertising and sponsorships. We focused on growing revenues by searching for creative ways to increase traffic, optimizing our ads, and securing partnerships….We made a transition from advertising to virtual goods as a primary source of revenue faster than many well-funded competitors.”
Joe Aigbohoh and Jesse Tevelow, Tech Stars alum & J-Squared Media

“My first company–Feld Technologies–raise just 10 dollars to get started.”
Brad Feld, Co-founder of Tech Stars

“Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages. With much less work, you can be the best at what you do. Small things, like a microscopic world, almost always turn out to be bigger than you think when you zoom in. You can much more easily position and market yourself when more focused. And when it comes to partnering, or being acquired, there’s less a chance for conflict.”
Evan Williams, Tech Stars mentor and co-founder of Odeo, Blogger, and Twitter.

“If you’re early in the life of your startup, do yourself a favor and figure out what one thing you’re doing to be the best in the world at doing. By all means, don’t stop there. Just spend time to think about how you can cross the finish line and avoid throwing in the kitchen sink. The market will love you for it.”
David Cohen of Tech Stars

“By shipping early and often you have the unique competitive advantage of getting useful feedback on your product. IN the best case, this helps you anticipate market direction, and in the worst case, this helps you articulate market direction, and in the worst case, it gives you a few people rooting for you that you can e-mail when your team pivots to a new idea.”
Matt Mullenwag, Tech Stars mentor & founder of WordPress

“Usage is like oxygen for ideas”
Matt Mullenwag, Tech Stars mentor & foundner of WordPress

“Getting feedback and new ideas is the lifeblood of any startup. There is no point in living in fear of someone stealing your idea.”
Nate Abbott & Natty Zola, Tech Stars alums & cofounders of Everlater

Some other chapters from
1) Beh Huh on Use Whats Free (17 apps for start ups)
2) Not sucking at Email by David Cohen

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