How To Make It as a
First-Time Entrepreneur

How to Make it as a First-Time Entrepreneur

Chad and Steve Left Paypal to Start YouTube

Vinicius Vacanti is co-founder and CEO of Yipit. Next posts on how to acquire users for free and how to raise a Series A. Don’t miss them by subscribing via email or via twitter.

Now that Yipit raised a round of funding, we have the amazing opportunity to grow our team of engineers here in New York City.

But, in all honesty, we’re not looking for just great engineers in the way Wall Street, Google or Microsoft does. We want our developers to one day become the next great founders. Starting a successful company is one of the most rewarding experiences on both a personal and outward level. We want you to experience that.

If you just want to be a developer for the rest of your life and makes lots of money, I think that’s awesome but that’s not what we’re looking for right now. We can’t match the salary that Wall Street or big tech companies will offer you. What we can offer you that those companies won’t is an experience that will prepare you to one day start the next big thing.

You may wonder why not just start a company now. The problem is that being a talented hacker isn’t enough to start a successful company. You need a bunch of other skills. That doesn’t mean you can’t try, we did. But, learning these other skills first, will put you in a much better position to be successful.

Other Skills Needed

We spent three years going from hacking together weekend projects to starting a venture-backed company. Aside from the engineering skills, here’s a quick snapshot of the long list of others skills we had to learn along the way:

  • Product management: customer development process, minimum viable products, lean startups
  • Fundraising: pitching your startup, understanding company risks, developing relationships with investors
  • User interface / user experience: user testing, absorbing user feedback, understanding expected paradigms, simple conversion funnels
  • Analytics: what metrics to measure, how to iterate based on those metrics, how to report those metrics, startup metrics for pirates
  • Graphic design: spacing; consistency; contrast; color
  • User acquisition strategies: SEO, SEM, affiliate programs, API, created syndicated content, viral loops
  • Recruiting: attracting talented people to your team; learning how to use job boards, craigslist, personal network
  • Writing: concise website copy, getting company blog syndicated
  • Market analysis: market sizing, competitive analysis
  • Business modeling: lifetime user value, customer acquisition cost
  • PR: pitching tech bloggers; guest blogging; getting featured by big media companies
  • Networking: becoming a member of the community; creating “buzz” around your startup; developing relationships with journalists
  • Outsourcing: know what to do yourself and what to outsource; mechanical turk, elance, virtual admins

It took us three long years to learn all of this. How did we do it? We literally wrote all the skills down, identified the experts in each area and methodically read everything they had written. We also learned by releasing a couple of weekend projects: 140it and UnHub

If I could have gone back to 2007, I would have done it very differently. Three years of struggle is a long time. Instead, I would have worked at a start-up that would have encouraged me to learn these other skills.

That’s why we’re taking this approach at Yipit. As you help us build the technology that will make Yipit great, we want to make sure we help prepare you to become a great founder.

Looking for Two Developers

Right now, we’re looking for two developers to join our team. Send me an email at vin at yipit dot com. You can see more of the specifics on the position and our technologies at our jobs page.

We look forward to meeting you.

Vinicius Vacanti is co-founder and CEO of Yipit. Next posts on how to acquire users for free and how to raise a Series A. Don’t miss them by subscribing via email or via twitter.

  • FrankDenbow

    Good luck with the search Vin! I love your approach to hiring, as it comes from a place of genuine caring and thoughtfulness.

  • http://thegongshow.tumblr.com andrewparker

    Really smart strategy Vinny. I hope it pans out for you.

  • http://etagwerker.com etagwerker

    Great post Vinny. I can definitely recommend working for startups, especially Yipit! Most of my experience has been in or around them. I believe developers will always learn more in a startup than in a big company. I've learned a lot of things NOT to do in startups. I wish I had worked in a 'lean startup' like Yipit before. Unfortunately, the founders I worked with were never 'lean.' If I were to join a startup these days, I would be very careful for certain things. Being lean would be one of them. Best of luck with your search!

  • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

    Thanks Frank! We're definitely trying to be thoughtful.

  • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

    We're just trying to think about where we can add value relative to other options candidates have.

  • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

    Thanks Ernesto! Definitely recommend developers join “lean” startups.

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with the search Vin! I love your approach to hiring, as it comes from a place of genuine caring and thoughtfulness.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Frank! We’re definitely trying to be thoughtful.

  • http://www.frankdenbow.com Frank Denbow

    Good luck with the search Vin! I love your approach to hiring, as it comes from a place of genuine caring and thoughtfulness.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Frank! We’re definitely trying to be thoughtful.

  • http://thegongshow.tumblr.com andrewparker

    Really smart strategy Vinny. I hope it pans out for you.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      We’re just trying to think about where we can add value relative to other options candidates have.

  • http://thegongshow.tumblr.com andrewparker

    Really smart strategy Vinny. I hope it pans out for you.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      We’re just trying to think about where we can add value relative to other options candidates have.

  • http://etagwerker.com etagwerker

    Great post Vinny.

    I can definitely recommend working for startups, especially Yipit! Most of my experience has been in or around them. I believe developers will always learn more in a startup than in a big company.

    I’ve learned a lot of things NOT to do in startups. I wish I had worked in a ‘lean startup’ like Yipit before. Unfortunately, the founders I worked with were never ‘lean.’

    If I were to join a startup these days, I would be very careful for certain things. Being lean would be one of them.

    Best of luck with your search!

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Ernesto! Definitely recommend developers join “lean” startups.

  • http://etagwerker.com etagwerker

    Great post Vinny.

    I can definitely recommend working for startups, especially Yipit! Most of my experience has been in or around them. I believe developers will always learn more in a startup than in a big company.

    I’ve learned a lot of things NOT to do in startups. I wish I had worked in a ‘lean startup’ like Yipit before. Unfortunately, the founders I worked with were never ‘lean.’

    If I were to join a startup these days, I would be very careful for certain things. Being lean would be one of them.

    Best of luck with your search!

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Ernesto! Definitely recommend developers join “lean” startups.

  • http://stevecheney.posterous.com/ steve cheney

    Smart post and strategy Vin!

  • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

    Thanks Steve!

  • http://stevecheney.posterous.com/ steve cheney

    Smart post and strategy Vin!

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Steve!

  • http://stevecheney.posterous.com/ steve cheney

    Smart post and strategy Vin!

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Steve!

  • JeffSepp

    Good thoughts. Having good startup name recognition also helps in looking for talented developers. Especially if you're lean and can't afford to pay top $.

  • http://unhub.com/michaelmuse/ MichaelMuse

    Great piece of advice – its the path I took and I am really glad I did (except not as a hacker, as a biz guy). If you possess the skills above – Yipit is an amazing company and you should jump at the opportunity.

  • http://www.lifestylentrepreneurs.com Jeff Sepp

    Good thoughts. Having good startup name recognition also helps in looking for talented developers. Especially if you’re lean and can’t afford to pay top $.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Yeah, definitely a big benefit to being a consumer facing startup as opposed to a B2B startup.

  • http://www.lifestylentrepreneurs.com Jeff Sepp

    Good thoughts. Having good startup name recognition also helps in looking for talented developers. Especially if you’re lean and can’t afford to pay top $.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Yeah, definitely a big benefit to being a consumer facing startup as opposed to a B2B startup.

  • http://unhub.com/michaelmuse/ MichaelMuse

    Great piece of advice – its the path I took and I am really glad I did (except not as a hacker, as a biz guy).

    If you possess the skills above – Yipit is an amazing company and you should jump at the opportunity.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Michael! You have a great story — you should write about it.

  • http://about.me/michaelmuse/ MichaelMuse

    Great piece of advice – its the path I took and I am really glad I did (except not as a hacker, as a biz guy).

    If you possess the skills above – Yipit is an amazing company and you should jump at the opportunity.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Thanks Michael! You have a great story — you should write about it.

  • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

    Yeah, definitely a big benefit to being a consumer facing startup as opposed to a B2B startup.

  • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

    Thanks Michael! You have a great story — you should write about it.

  • Pingback: How We Raised $1.3 Million as First-Time Founders | Vinicius Vacanti

  • http://technbiz.blogspot.com paramendra

    Great way to look for people to hire.

  • http://technbiz.blogspot.com paramendra

    Great way to look for people to hire.

  • http://technbiz.blogspot.com paramendra

    Great way to look for people to hire.