My Startup Rules

Even after 20+ startups, large monetary success remains elusive. However, three (3) startups did well enough.

The first startup we tried – made money, but it made more money for the person we sold it to. It was a while before another made money. It did not make a profit like the first, but we did get funding — about $500k in total. The third startup did well, but required too much inventory. We made money and never looked for funding – but we learn a lot about business.

While running the third startup, I worked at a grocery store selling hamburger (for 7+ years). My boss said for the entire company I, “got the most complements, and the most complaints.” For the later, he said it appeared I “did not know when to shutup and listen”.

Come run rain or shine, these rules have always severed me well with all startups.

  1. Don’t Panic.
    The most famous incident that I can recall was when a “fake virus” was being circulated in email. The fake virus said it would melt your CPU, and that the first thing you should do is email everyone you know.
    Needless to say, this was really a *virus* of social engineering. As for startups, this should be expected. If you are successful, someone will try this. They will do this by panicing unknowning people in the organization. If you show moments of panic, it’s very likely the rest of the organization will panic also. If you remain calm at all times, when this happens people will instinctively remain calm – as they know this is what is expected.
  2. Communicate What’s Important
    Just like panics can happen when you are not there, other important good things things happen when you are not there. For instance, if an important client has some sort of requirement, it important others in the organization realize this — so the entire organization moves in concert.
    Whether you set flags, breakers, or just pin a notice to the bulletin board – important information must get to all personel; especially when the organization is large. Again, if you do this as a matter of business, the organization knows this is what is expected.
  3. Circulate Information
    If this does not seem important, because you are communicating very well – you are wrong.
    Just as before, you are leading and setting the example. If one day you declare, so-and-so must know, so I don’t need to repeat this., others will make the same assumption about their circulation of information.

Circulate & Communicate

The radio show, To the Best of Our Knowledge, has a great episode.

They are nothing more than “winged sperm carrying missiles”. – E.O. Wilson

Hive Mind

On the idea, these segments relays the ideas, and the results or outcomes.

  • honey bees – individuals act via their own investigation. They are independent actors.
  • swarm intelligence – side effect is they act in concert. Examples are given in human physcology.

In the third segment, Jaron Lenier makes several good points.

  • Do not follow “pack mentality”, as in dog pack.
  • Do not put in place a “pecking order”, as this create resentment.

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