Lessons Learned for Startups

Chris Herot's post on Zingdom Communications, formally Convoq, closing its doors recently is a must read for anyone in a startup. While the news is bad, the lessons learned should be posted on every wall. The same mistakes get made too often - especially iterating in the conference room instead of the marketplace. Don't ever forget the customer! Too often we forget that. Lessons according to Chris:

  • Just because you are using agile methods doesn't mean you don't have to plan. Write your stories before you begin an iteration, but don't waste a lot of time on the details that aren't needed until later.
  • Don't spend a lot of time and money naming the company until you have the product and positioning figured out.
  • If you are depending on paid search to generate traffic then your marketing is broken.
  • Raising too much money is almost as dangerous as raising too little - it sets high expectations which then drive high expenditures to deliver the results on time.
  • If you want to do a consumer-facing product on the East Coast, stay engaged with the community in Silicon Valley. By the time you read about something in TechCrunch it's too late.
  • Remember the three stages of building a web property: 1. Attract, 2. Engage, 3. Monetize. Don't skip a step.

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