The Recommended Daily Intake Approach to Startup Activities

You’ve probably seen the “Recommended Daily Intake” used as a way to gauge how much of a particular nutrient or substance we should ingest in a given period. I was thinking about how startup people spend their time and ended up writing this table of “Recommended Startup Activity Intakes” for early-stage startups.

  • Reading popular tech blogs < 5 articles per week. In general, popular tech blogs preach an unhelpful message of  the “Hollywood” startup.
  • Reading articles in the industry that you’re focused on and on customers that you’re focused on > 5 times per week. You should know your industry, including the things that your customers are reading.
  • Meeting potential customers > 10 times per week. The Vitamin C of this list.
  • One-to-one coffees, drinks, meetings with other entrepreneurs, mentors or other people who can help > 3 times per week.
  • General startup events < 1 every two weeks. Less often if you usually talk to the same people each time at these events.
  • Attending events specific to your area of focus > 2 per month. In other words, these are not “startup events,” unless you are one of the few startups that sells to other startups.
  • Demo Days < 4 per year. I say this even though these are the only events I run. Go to see people who have built something talk about what they’re done. But realize that you don’t see the full picture at a demo day.
  • Pitch events < 1 per year. The processed sugar of the startup world. Go once to see how they’re run and to get a free drink. Then avoid them. The only exception is when their panel of judges includes people who have recently invested in early-stage startups in the location of the event.
  • Building your company = every damn day. OK, back to work!
Filed in: startup data