Rolling Up Hills or Climbing Up Steps

Sometimes startups think of progress as rolling up a hill. You start off with almost nothing: a first iteration with no users and of maybe questionable value. But you believe that you’re able to roll up that hill to grow. Sometimes, depending on what you are building, rolling up a hill cannot work. The hill, […]

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Accelerators and their discontents

Breaking my own rule I wrote about a related issue a few weeks ago, but now find myself pulled back to this topic sooner than I thought. Yesterday, in a TechCrunch article called “The Startup Accelerator Trend Is Finally Slowing Down,” the author says that the overcrowded market for early-stage funding destines most accelerators to […]

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How Lean Startup Optimizes For Annoyance

I’ve taught lean startup tools at a bootcamp, spoken about lean case studies in workshops, judged on application of lean techniques at competitions, and guided people to think through it all while I ran an accelerator. It’s not a perfect methodology. There’s lots of confusion about it. It doesn’t explain everything. And that’s just fine. But […]

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Please stop trying to build another Y Combinator

There are lots of venture-backed startup accelerators and increasingly, corporate startup accelerators out there. I believe that most of them add value to the startups they work with, as measured against the equity and time they take. In spite of that, most accelerators will not last long-term and could be adding much more value. Here I […]

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Eradicate the startup pitch event

I posted this recently on Medium. Reposting the link here to share the reasons why I think startup pitch events are awful. Hope you like it. Eradicate the startup pitch event.

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What’s the best way for a startup to measure its progress?

Across public talks and internally in the accelerator I co-founded, I’ve taught and advised on metrics that matter for startups. I could add to the lengthy body of knowledge of startup metrics but there’s a qualitative metric that people don’t mention because it’s hard to measure and few see it in person. Startups in their […]

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You’re So Vain

While we talk about lean startup and vanity metrics we also often send conflicting signals. Here are some examples that startup ecosystems create or enable. From what I’ve seen, vanity is the major culprit. The Events Problem Speaker Events. You don’t get any closer to your goal by going to hear a speaker, famous or […]

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When Would You Give Up?

If you’re a startup founder and you feel good about yourself, you just might justified. But you’re much more likely to be delirious, experiencing that temporary elation that comes from something that makes no difference to your actual business. For example, you’ll meet a lot of startups feeling good about themselves on the way home […]

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When Does a Startup Accelerator Succeed?

There’s a lot written about startup accelerators. At least, there’s a lot written by outside casual observers; very little is written about them from the inside. There are reasons for that. In my experience running an accelerator, I wouldn’t share much about the startups until after demo day (more about why in a later post).  […]

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Off the Beaten Path Startup Communities

When I gave my Farewell, Hong Kong Startups talk last month I summed up the year running Startups Unplugged, AcceleratorHK, and We Are HK Tech, some things that didn’t work and some suggestions for Hong Kong’s future. The last thing I did in the talk was to commit to a few future pieces of work, […]

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