An evolving list of things I value when building a business.

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Stop Treating Consumers Like Idiots

Brands have a penchant these days for treating consumers like idiots. No doubt, tactics like these drive engagement. But they also cause confusion, mistrust and anger.

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Achieving Clarity

Building a startup can be fraught with a lack of clarity. From having the initial excitement around an idea that thrusts a founder into execution, to managing a large team performing disparate tasks, it is easy to lack clarity and the sense of purpose and cohesion that comes with it.

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We don’t care that you “hustle”

Originally published on Medium.

We don’t care how early you woke up or late you went to sleep

We don’t care that you arrived first or left last.

We don’t care that you worked over the weekend or holiday.

We don’t care about your pre and post work meetings.

We don’t care that you “hustle.”

We all do. And we have been for thousands of years. We just don’t boast about it or require a pat on the back.

Stop talking about how special you think you are. Just focus on results.

startup pioneers

Originally published on Medium.

Startups are often championed as “disruptive” and “groundbreaking.” Founders are exalted as “innovative” and “visionary.” And venture capitalists are glorified as “prolific” and “prophetic.”

They sometimes deserve these labels. Envisioning and executing something new, while taking great risk, entails boldness. But in all of this splendor, an important group is left by the wayside: each startup’s community.

The early adopters that listen to what startups have to say, and that take a chance on their fledgling products, possess the same boldness as those building and funding the startups themselves. Any founder that has experienced the magical moment of securing a first user, customer or partner — after being countlessly rejected, and despite solving a pain point — can attest to this. This boldness even exists in people that join a startup’s community that’s no longer in its infancy. The high-effort acts of abandoning an incumbent, changing behavior, and continuing to use a product, are sacred and should be revered by startups.

Through our startup, Quire, we allow top, venture-backed companies to invite their communities to invest, enabling them to become actual co-owners of these businesses. It’s meta to this post, but we believe that users, customers and partners should be able to own a part of the companies that they helped create. Some founders balk at this idea. But there are others who listened, and took a chance on our product. In doing so, they’ve spearheaded the practice of community ownership that we originally envisioned, and they make our startup possible.

As you build your startup, or read about others in the press, never forget about the communities behind them. They are the true startup pioneers. Without them, we wouldn’t exist.