This time we had Rafael Marcus give a class on starting a startup the smart way. Rafael Marcus is one hell of a dude and after developing a background in operations and management, he earned his MBA and soon realized what he should really be doing: launching businesses. Before his MBA program ended he had already started working on his first startup, and a year and half later he’s already onto his second – a game-changing ad-tech and marketplace startup, which recently went through the ERA accelerator program. His focus is on early customer development and revenue, which made him the perfect person to teach this class.
One of the most important things you need to think about when starting a startup is pain. The more painful the problem, the more chance there is that your solution will succeed. After you find a pain you then have to validate it by going out and talking to some real people. Rafael suggested using Mechanical Turk Hack (http://customerdevlabs.com/2012/08/21/using-mturk-to-interview-100-customers-in-4-hours/), Customer Interviews (http://customerdevlabs.com/2013/11/05/how-i-interview-customers/), Selling Without a product (http://blog.close.io/a-crash-course-in-sales-hacking-and-deal-closing), and Painstorming (https://30×500.com/) to help out with this step.
After you validate the problem you go on to make your MVP and start testing and iterating. Make sure to stay focused on ONE problem while doing this step. Once you have something of a tested MVP and a validated product it’s time to find your tech team or founder. Rafael suggests going about this through founder dating, meetups, co-Founder labs, your own network, or if need be by outsourcing. Then it’s time to make the real magic happen and possibly start looking for funding. However, an important note from Rafael was that raising more money is not always better and it is important to think about what you are giving up.
It is a real shame if you were unable to make this class. It was certainly a useful one for anyone who is thinking about a startup. However, in this blog are most of the condensed major points of the event. Rafael was also kind enough to leave a suggested reading list which I have listed Below.
Startup Owner’s Manual – Steven BlankRunning Lean – Ash Maurya
Lean Startup Machine – Eric Reiss
Lean Analytics – Alistair Croll and Ben Yoskovitz