Some Quick Thoughts on The Other Side of the Table

It’s been about three months since I left CRV to become an entrepreneur. There is lots to talk about, but I want to write up a quick hit list of some thoughts since switching back to the entrepreneurship side of the table:

  1. The market is far more saturated than it used to be. Really, I have some really long-tail ideas that I have been working on, and it never ceases to amaze me just the sheer number of founders working on projects. I feel like you could be building a startup around outer space meat processing and you would still be able to create a stereotypical 2x2 competitive landscape.
  2. That said, it’s always hard to judge execution. I think ideas are worth more than a lot of people give them credit for, but at the same time, the same idea — executed by two different people — can return wildly different results. Even though we have reached a level of market maturity and there is a veritable gravesite of former startups, that doesn’t mean we should actually throw any of those ideas away. Hell, even Quirky is coming back to life.
  3. Market monopoly leaders are a huge problem. Over the last three months, I have been doing the co-founder matching game (have leads – send them my way!). One of the interesting dynamics that isn’t emphasized enough in the monopoly discussion around Google and Facebook is how much these companies have essentially created a union job that saps the risk-taking of potential founders. How much of the decline in entrepreneurship in the US is driven by the increasing desire to work at these top jobs by the Founder Class?
  4. NYC Needs Some More Entrepreneurial Blood. I once wrote an article for TechCrunch excoriating the Boston ecosystem for its lack of ambition around startups. I don’t think the exact analysis applies to NYC, but it is something close to it. A combination of an expensive lifestyle (high rents, high cost of living, and a feeling of keeping up with the Joneses) seems to force budding startup founders from taking truly ambitious paths. That’s not to knock some of the founders who have already done that here, but it is worth pointing out that in the supposed ambition capital of the United States with a population 10x of San Francisco, we seem to lack a lot of the robust excitement of SV.
  5. Focus is everything. This one is personally hard after years of working in venture capital and journalism where the random coffee meeting is always jamming up a day. The reality is that no new project will get off the ground without an incredible and tenacious effort, and there really is incredible levels of distractions available to founders who take up all the offers for events they receive. The event industry is just in overdrive these days, and it is entirely possible — without joking — to fill every day with events about startups rather than actually building.

Looking forward to sharing more of what I am working on soon!