Janardhan's Insights

How not to build a Startup

Lesson learned from my attempts to build a startup.

I have not built a startup or, for that matter, some product. I have tried to create one. Here are the few things that I learned about the workings of building products and in consequence a business.

Do not quit your job to build a product from scratch. If you can't build 1/10 of a product with a job, you might not be able to build one without a job.

Do not depend on the funding from investors or Venture Capitalists (VC). Depending on the company you are trying to build, see whether you could bootstrap and can be as lean as possible. At the starting stage, hiring employees will be costly. You should only hire after the product is suitable for the market. And the customers depend on the product and will be paying for the long run may be at least 2 years.

Be technically competent if possible. You do not need to rush into building something out of haste. There is no pressure in building, be good at the job you have. Gain technical competence. If you need a Master's degree to build the required product, then go ahead. Especially, for cutting edge technologies the timing can be as important.

Comparison with peers with similar age-group can be productive if the technology that you are working on is similar.

Growth is an exponential concept, do not rush to scale but take enough time to build a thing that actually works and solves the problem. Build patience and learn to fail, fail faster. This seems easy, you might be tempted by it not working. Take the help of people, friends in building the qualities that are missing. This actually works. We might be missing some qualities, attitudes that are simple to cultivate for some but can be difficult for you to identify, treat them as primary.

If at all possible, never shout. Many things never work out your way. You will be discouraged by so many people who seem to be achieving things at a breakneck pace. Actually, people are subtle when it comes to the expertise they just do it. Do not fret over it, focus on your runway. They are so many planes taking at any minute, that is never a reason for you to be careless. You got to do it right every time.

Are you focused on what you are building all day, is it the primary focus of your present timeframe? - the answer should be yes. Else, you might do a better job at a job where your resume would buildup.