Counter-intuitive lessons learned from start up life

by Sarah Blue | Startups

Working in a start up environment is exciting. When you're in the thick of things, it is easy to make mistakes. It's easier to look back and think about how those mistakes seemed like a good idea at the time... Here are a few mistakes I've encountered that I thought might be helpful to share.

  1. "We just need some buzz." Everyone says more eyeballs are always better. Ignore them. If people like what you are doing, they will find you. Do not spend anytime thinking about PR, marketing or *heaven forbid* planning anything viral. The time you spend doing this could be spent on making your product better and that's time you can never get back.
  2. "It's groundbreaking! We have to do it because no one else has done it before." Exactly. You know why no one else has done it before? It is a huge headache and not worth the effort. If you're looking to make money in the start up world, remember: simple things for stupid people (it's only offensive 'cause it's true). 
  3. "We're going to be so busy, we should hire somebody right now." Wishful thinking. You never need to hire anyone ahead of time. Until you are turning money away you are so busy, you'll be just fine. Besides, if you're turning money away, you'll actually be able to afford hiring someone. 
  4. "This is such a good opportunity to get our name out there, we should work with them for free." No, you should not work for free. It never pays off. You, the team you've built and your product are valuable. Don't let people take advantage. Besides, if anyone wants you to do an entire project for them for free, they are probably jerks. Stay away from them. 
  5. "Company culture is the most important thing." Yeah, people don't like horrible working conditions. Forget the foosball table, build good shit.
Cambrian House
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Launched in 2006, Cambrian House began as a crowdsourcing community using a wisdom of crowds based approach to discover new business and technology ideas. Today, Cambrian House equips other enterprises to adopt open innovation using its Chaordix™ crowdsourcing platform. Chaordix is the global standard in crowdsourced market intelligence. Chaordix uses the power of crowdsourcing to help the... more

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Sarah Blue

Sarah Blue

Sarah is currently in charge of community outreach for Cardinal Media Technologies. Cardinal is a music participation and insight platform that lets users share what they're listening to, discover new music and friends, create ad-hoc location-based networks, and influence what's playing at 'Cardinal Powered' venues. Sarah has partnered with startup and community leaders to educate... more

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