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Reflections of a Y Combinator Dropout

On October 15th 1 Comment covering , , , ,

I just want to point to this fine memoir of someone whose startup failed to thrive in the non-cult known as Y combinator.

It’s valuable for the emphasis on the functioning of the team as make-or-break — a factor that can make all the other factors irrelevant.

I’m tempted to write a long meditation on Orian Marx‘s essay — but it’s well through out and written and I’d rather let him tell it.

100 Day plan with group 8020: too busy to talk now

On October 13th covering , ,

I have been maintaining the conceit that I am blogging this process in case it is of interest to a general reader, someone who is used to the frustrations and pleasures of launching a new enterprise or project. These are frequently the people to whom I find myself consulting. In this case, I am the client and Group 8020 is helping me launch my new thing.

I don’t expect anyone to care about the particulars of me or my little project. I’m blogging this in hopes of glimpsing something universal and hence interesting. Mark Hollander and Group 8020 have a way of facilitating progress that is very interesting to me. It combines structure and flexibility with a fine touch. As someone in the business of removing obstacles to growth and change, I find this interesting. Read more »

people are the key to startups

On October 6th covering , , ,

This post by Matt Milosavljevic titled What I Learnt at Startup Camp supports my thesis that human factors are a huge make-or-break factor in startups, bands, and other creative entities. He puts it rather nicely:

People, in my opinion, are the key differentiators between the success and failure of pretty much any startup. It’s true that lady luck can make several cameos during the course of an act, but really it’s the cast that will makes or breaks the show.

Well said. I like his Venn diagram about the degree of “overlap” between people. I’m inclined to agree.

gloves and politics

On October 5th covering ,

Headline today: “Gloves Are Coming Off In Campaign.” I’ve seen so many headlines this campaign that say that Obama and/or McCain have taken the gloves off, should take the gloves off or will take the gloves off. I have to wonder how many pairs of gloves they started with. And you never see mention of them putting the gloves back on.

Glad I got that off my chest.

100 Day plan with group 8020: you are here

On October 3rd covering , ,

At several different points in this process, Mark has surprised me by just stating at what phase we were. “OK, we’ve mapped out your business ecosystem.” “We’re in the middle of project planning.” “We’re ready to begin the execution phase”.

Each time this would come as a surprise. “Wait, we are?” But it would help me snap to an understanding of what we were doing and why. It’s been simple and powerful and extremely valuable. It is the antidote to my susceptibility to getting sidetracked and lost in the details.

It’s like suddenly finding a map with a “you are here” dot on it. Everything becomes clear and action becomes obvious and inevitable. It’s a small input with a disproportionately large effect.