Yesterday the new Dorm Room Fund blog launched, and along with it Steve's post What It Really Means To Drop Out. Steve explains how meeting amazing Thiel Fellows (who are given money to drop out of school and start companies) lent confidence to his conviction to stay in school, saying "that is exactly why Dorm Room Fund exists."
When I meet with founders, this is one of the first questions I ask. What does success look like in 6, 12, 18 months? In other words, what are your goals, and how will you know you've accomplished them? What do you need to prove in order to make the effort worthwhile? And how big is your vision?
I recently read something by Aza Raskin that resonated with me. He suggested that delegation -- letting others have ownership over your baby -- is an essential part of leadership that is often inhibited by an attachment to the product, and this attachment comes from the fact that the product's success or failure is a reflection of your own success or failure as the product's leader.
Pricing is a funny thing. It depends a lot on psychology -- how can you convince your customers that they are getting a deal while charging them the highest reasonable value? You've heard people say "differentiate" before, but I bet you haven't really thought deeply about whether you're really different. Here's a test: are you an alternative, or are you your own category? If you didn't exist, what would people use instead, and how would they feel about it? Are you a category leader or are you a small player that tries to be better than the leader?
As the guy who wrote one of the first open-source status update systems in 2007, the main developer behind Acquia Commons social business software 2.x, and an evangelist of social communications technologies, writing the title of this post feels strange. I've spent the last 5 years of my life building software to make it easy for people to build social networks, so why would I suggest that sometimes you shouldn't do it?
Isaac is a product manager, programmer, author, founder, investor, and game developer. Cookies are his kryptonite.
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