How To Make It as a
First-Time Entrepreneur

How to Make it as a First-Time Entrepreneur

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.

Things first-time founders regret saying:

  • “Don’t tell anyone we’re working on a picture sharing startup. We don’t want anyone to steal our idea.” (If your idea is any good, there are plenty of people working on it. You’re going to win because you out execute them.)
  • “Stop the launch! The forgot password recovery email has a typo!” (Stop worrying about the little things and get the product out there. Small flaws like this will have zero impact on your initial success).
  • “Our killer feature is that we’ve built every feature you can think of.” (Startups don’t take off because they have tons of features. They take off because they do one thing really well and then expand from there.)
  • “Our passwords don’t need to be super secure. But, they should require at least two grammatical symbols.” (You shouldn’t do anything to get in the way of your users signing-up and, unless you’re collecting credit cards or super private information, don’t worry about super secure passwords).
  • “We need to launch on mobile web, iphone, ipad, android, windows phone and SMS. But, lets hold off on Blackberry. I want to confirm people like our app first.” (You should just launch on one and iterate till it works before spending a ton of time porting it to different platforms.)
  • “We should probably use one of those captchas on the sign-up page. Google uses them.” (Don’t compare yourself to Google, they have very different circumstances than you. You don’t have a spam problem. Don’t get in the way of your users signing-up)
  • “We don’t need to talk to users. If Steve Jobs had, they would have asked for a mobile phone with a great web browser.” (You’re not Steve Jobs. Go talk to your users and try to understand their underlying problems.)
  • “OMG. I finally came up with our domain name for our picture sharing startup. It’s awesome. It’s… wait for it… pics.com. Hope it’s not taken!” (Almost all good domains are taken. Don’t kill yourself on this. You can always change your domain later.)
  • “We’re just like Pinterest but we make the pictures bigger.” (If you’re trying to compete against a heavyweight, the new product has to be 10x better or take a completely different approach.)
  • “I would only maybe consider selling our company to Facebook. Maybe.” (Stop worrying about who you’re going to sell your company to and build a great product.)
  • “We should never email our users. It’s annoying when sites email me.” (Email is one of the best forms of retention and it’s used by almost everyone because it works.)
  • “We will never have advertising on our site.” (Unless you come up with a better business model, you will have advertising on your site but you’ll need a ton of users before it becomes meaningful.)
  • “We have to stop using Gmail, Google Docs and Google Analytics. When Google tries to buy us, I don’t want them to see our data.” (The chances this happens are so, *so* remote. These tools are great. Use them.)

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.

  • http://needforair.com/ Stanislas Marion

    interesting point on emailing users. I feel exactly the way you describe and am working on my first company and product. How do you think about this point nowadays? What is your rationale for pestering users with emails? 

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Added a little bit of explanation to each point.

    • http://blog.uservoice.com Evan Hamilton

      You should only worry if you’re actually pestering. :)

      People love communication…from their bosses, their spouses, and their companies. As long as you’re providing more value than you are asking for things, people will appreciate communication.

      Case in point: at UserVoice we provide customer feedback forums to companies. When a company updates the status of an idea, an email (optionally) goes out to everyone who voted for it. How do people respond? They’re way more likely to open these emails than a standard company newsletter (http://ar.gy/0i45). Why? It’s communication. And they love it. :)

      • http://needforair.com/ Stanislas Marion

        thanks a lot Evan. This does make sense.

  • http://about.me/markchou Mark Chou

    Haha a couple of these sound familiar! And though the exact type of comment may differ, I’ve definitely had a few conversations touching on issues like the above. Thanks for the laugh.

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      Added some explanations which should hopefully help you in those conversations.

  • http://reecepacheco.com/ reecepacheco

    ok i’ve heard a bunch of these, but some are insane… especially the last one… really??

    • http://viniciusvacanti.com Vinicius Vacanti

      ha. have definitely heard the last one.

      • http://reecepacheco.com/ reecepacheco

        hubris, defined.

  • Anonymous

    I wish I had something more insightful to add, but I’m laughing too hard right now.  So right on every point.  

  • http://twitter.com/yaph ®4|/|1®0 9ó|/|32

    I think it may be better to omit the password field all together during sign up and generate a strong password for the user instead.
    When the user is already signed up, enforcing strong passwords is hopefully less of a problem.
    Security and UX often do not play well with each other, nonetheless security is very important, even if you don’t collect highly sensitive data.
    Having security issues maybe very harmful for a service.

  • Han Gu

    Great post as usual.
    First one used to be my nightmare. Lol

  • http://www.johnmcfarlane.me.uk/ John McFarlane

    When people come out with things like “We’re just like Pinterest but we make the pictures bigger.” i wonder if they take on board that not everyone who finds their startup will be aware of the other site existing, and that they might go looking for the other established site and quickly forget about yours.

  • Raghvendra Katti

    Great post and blog Vinicius…  very easy to give in to some of these temptations which a start up needs to be vigilant about…

  • nice posts

    Don’t use captchas on sign up pages? That’s crazy. You don’t need something state of the art but you should have mechanisms in place to prevent your databases from being flooded.

  • Stevensen Liu

    Feel good beautiful ,resource
    sharing.

  • Stevensen Liu