Startup Lessons Learned

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Information about Startup Lessons Learned

Published on March 7, 2014

Author: netzkobold



Keynote presentation at the Runway Incubator in San Francisco about lessons learned from 12+ years and multiple startups here in Silicon Valley. Hosted by The German Silicon Valley Accelerator (GSVA) in collaboration with: the German American Chamber of Commerce (GACC), Germany Trade and Invest (GTAI), and the German American Business Association (GABA). Seventh edition of My Success. Our Visions. March 5th, 2014 - More info at

Startup Lessons Learned One Exit, One Going, One Failed ! ! ! ! German Silicon Valley Accelerator (GSVA) March 5th, 2014 - Runway Incubator, San Francisco By Frederik Hermann / @netzkobold #siliconvalley #gsva

My computer science professor Prof. Dr. Walter F. Tichy first sparked my interest in“Palo Alto” and the “Silicon Valley” at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the late 90’s.

Berlin, Germany

Vienna, Austria

Jajah Office - Vienna, Austria

San Francisco, CA

Jajah was acquired by Telefónica Europe/O2 in December 2009 for $207 million in an all-cash transaction.

Talenthouse Office - Palo Alto, CA

Swipp Inc. - Mountain View, CA

Focus With your limited resources it is essential to focus your energy. Set a few achievable goals and make everything work towards those goals. #gsva

Product/Market Fit Don’t wait too long, test and validate your assumptions with real customers. Build a product that people want. #timetomarket #gsva

Reality is for pussies You can't design for the present, you have to build for an anticipated future. You can't build to where your potential customers are today, but rather where they will be tomorrow. #gsva

Go big or go home It totally doesn't pay to think or act small. Big thinking tends to create its own weather system. #gsva

Hire for your culture Hiring the right team is essential. Look for energy. Hire the person that blows you away with energy, curiosity, ideas and focus. A’s Hire A’s, B's Hire C’s. #gsva

F%$k the features Your core value proposition needs to resonate with your potential customers, adding features won’t help. Reduce, make it simple and easy to use. #gsva

Trust your gut Don't lose sight of that finely tuned instrument between your head and your belt. If something doesn't feel right about a business deal or business relationship, it probably isn’t right. #instinct #gsva

You don't want it to be easy The value is often created doing the things other people can't or are unwilling to do. You want it to be hard. #gsva

Be in it for the long haul People think that a startup is a quick/easy way to make money, but startups take time - a lot of time. If you aren't in it for a 5-year time horizon at least, don't do it. #gsva

Create a path to revenue No (business) problem is not helped with cash flow. #gsva

Learn Hard / Learn Fast If you're the smartest guy in the room, get out. You have no time to not be learning and you're wasting your time. Change is the dominant characteristic of today’s business landscape. Embrace it. #gsva

Viral Loop Build a viral loop into the product’s core inner workings. #gsva

PR is dead Don’t spend time and money focusing on PR in your early stages. PR is not an effective customer acquisition tool anymore. Building a product that people want is more important. #gsva

Learn how to present If you can't sell your idea to others, no one else will be able to. #gsva

Honor your fans Your fans and advocates are the most important asset you have, engage and involve them, show them that you care about them, they will bring more users for you. #wordofmouth #gsva

Test, measure, refine Through rapid experimentation create a healthy loop of
 building, testing, measuring, learning, refining and improving. Base your decisions on analytics and data . #gsva

Don’t be a dick The valley is small. Reputation and relationship is everything. #gsva

Believe in your vision You will receive a lot of advice, conflicting suggestions, people telling you to change your approach… take everything with a grain of salt, nobody knows your business better than you. #gsva

Imagine a better future, then go build it.

Questions? Connect. Frederik Hermann ! With thanks to Michael Hirschbrich (@michirschbrich), Don Thorson (@donthorson), Charlie Costantini (@coz360), and Sunil Rajaraman (@subes01) for their input. @netzkobold #gsva

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