Something's been bothering me lately.
It seems as though everywhere you look, there's someone telling you exactly how you should build a product, how you should start a company, what kinds of tests you should run, when you should raise money, when you should keep bootstrapping, when you should sell, when you should push through the dip, how you should get PR, how you should promote yourself, etc, etc. etc.
The thing that's wrong isn't that the advice is necessarily bad. A lot of times it's very good and often inspiring. My issue isn't with people sharing their knowledge and lessons about what has worked and what hasn't.
It's that in almost *every* situation, it's far too premature for people to be claiming that they know what they're talking about with so much authority.
People working for unprofitable funded startups, who have never started their own business, are writing posts with huge amounts of authority about how to run companies. How to get PR. How to hire. How to increase conversions.
And by the way, there are bootstrappers too talking with authority about how VC money is bad, and it'll ruin your idea. I've said this before, but really, it's just my opinion at a moment in time, subject to change whenever something else makes more sense. Maybe you've reached a point where in order for your product to thrive you need to focus on it 100% of the time and raising money is exactly what you should be doing.
Or maybe raising money would kill your baby! Maybe, Maybe, Maybe. That's the real answer to most things, isn't it? Not everything, but a lot of things.
Stella Feyman of Fee Fighters, who seems to be a genuinely nice, smart, intelligent woman engaged in the tech community and a co-founder of Entrepreneurs Unplugged wrote a post titled 3 businesses models to avoid in 2012, one of which was virtual currency. Fred Wilson on the other hand, one of the most influential Venture Capitalists in the tech industry had this to say about virtual currencies:
But Bitcoin or something else, I'm confident we'll see the emergence of currencies that are not controlled by nation states in my lifetime. Whether that is a good thing or not remains to be seen. I think it is, but there are significant ramifications that will result from the decoupling of currencies from governments. And one of them is an interesting investment opportunity that we hope to participate in.
One of them sees virtual currencies as a business to avoid. The other sees it as something that could be so disruptive that we can't even begin to fathom the ramifications of that business model's success. Who's right? I. Don't. Know.
Mark Zuckerberg famously turned down $15 billion dollars from Microsoft in 2007. Had he taken that money, surely he would be speaking about building and selling a startup.
But would that have been a "success"? We certainly would have thought so at the time, but knowing what we know now, would it have been good if he sold? Maybe. Maybe not.
The reality is, there are so many nuances, so many factors that apply to just you, or just me, or to a particular moment in time, that the more likely scenario is that we do a very good job of identifying correlation, and are far worse at identifying causality.
It seems that all advice could also be spoken as "here's what worked for me, at this particular time in my life, at this particular time in history, and it may or may not work for you considering where you're at."
I'm still going to share my opinions. I'll keep sharing what works, and what doesn\'t work, for me and my business. But I'm also going to try and share more facts. More information about how things can be done, and what tools exist that we can leverage to do things differently.
And when I am sharing my opinions, I'll be just as opinionated, but I'm going to try doing it with a little less authority.