This week marks one year since I left my job and began an unheralded life of the entrepreneur. While the learning curve has been steep, it has been one of the most productive years in terms of personal growth. Here are 50 of the most important things I’ve learned along the way.
1. It’s really tough to leave a good job to start a startup.
2. No matter how hard you try you can’t please everyone.
3. Getting employee #2 is 10x harder than #3 and #4.
4. Pay the good ones well so they’ll work with you again.
5. Create deadline incentives for every vender.
6. Don’t write anything in an email you don’t want published on a blog.
7. Lack of money is a major contributor to failed startups.
8. Taking funding is a gift and a curse.
9. Find people older and smarter than you and listen to them as much as possible.
10. It’s easier to manage a startup as a single guy than a married one.
11. Some of the best work is done after the 5th insane day.
12. Pizza can taste really bad after a couple of days.
13. Don’t let the engineering team help move the fridge.
14. Continually educate yourself and your team.
15. Silicon Valley is still the place to be for startups.
16. Being the last company to leave your office complex at night feels really good.
17. Desks are way better than cubicles.
18. Contract work is an easy way to a slow painful death.
19. The personal struggles of employees come before work.
20. No one is right 100% of the time.
21. It always takes longer and costs more than you plan.
22. Whiteboards are the lifeblood of good ideas.
23. Negotiating lease that includes utilities makes the AC feel a lot better.
24. Partnering with friends makes problems more complicated.
25. Work on homerun opportunities because it’s likely they’re only doubles or triples.
26. Everyone hatets pointless meetings.
27. The iPad is creating jobs (four in our office).
28. Save your best ideas for your own products.
29. Money can be a horrible motivator.
30. Treat colleagues and partners the way you want to be treated.
31. California has brutal tax laws for small businesses.
32. Daily progress is much more rewarding than weekly progress.
33. Make decisions when they need to be made. Not too early or too late.
34. Ideas are the easy part, doing the work is the hard part.
35. It feels great to get written up by technology blogs you read everyday.
36. Don’t buy any office furniture; companies give it away all the time.
37. When tech companies go out of business hire their engineers.
38. Don’t believe everything other Founders tell you.
39. Getting paid is sometimes harder than getting the job.
40. Your wife/girlfriend can make or break your startup.
41. Your family is the most important thing you can make succeed.
42. Working remotely may make or break your employees’ work production.
43. Make sure your cheap Macs bought on Craigslist have AppleCare.
44. Do at least one deal per day, no matter how big or small.
45. Working in the shadows of Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook (Silicon Valley) is inspiring.
46. No one will understand your great ideas until they see it work.
47. Don’t make critical decisions on little sleep.
48. Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes. It can help you move forward.
49. Celebrate your wins when you get them.
50. Keep fighting. Don’t give up. Don’t give in. There’s light ahead.