The Hardest Lesson for Startups to Learn

Paul Graham, an essayist, programmer and programming language designer, just wrote a very interesting essay on the hardest lesson for startups to learn. You can read the entire essay here.

The key lessons are:
1. Release early
2. Keep pumping out features
3. Make users happy
4. Fear the right things
5. Commitment is a self-fulfilling prophecy
6. There is always room
7. Don’t get your hopes up
8. Speed, not money


Startup Kit

You have a brilliant idea for a product and may even have found the technical resources to build it. You are almost ready to get going – now you need to create a company.

For its simplicity of administration, low taxes and favorable courts most companies incorporate in Delaware. The two most common choices available to you are to create an LLC or a C corp. If the company you are creating is going to be relatively small and you intend to live off of its profits use an LLC. It’s cheaper, easier to administer and you avoid double taxation. If you intend to raise money from VCs and are thinking you may eventually take your company public, use a C corp.

The lawyer I recommend for all business affairs – incorporation, fund raising, M&A, contracts, etc. is Marcus Wilkinson at Shipman & Goodwin. I have used him successfully for all my recent businesses. He is quick, efficient and relatively inexpensive. You can reach him at (860) 251-5937.

If you need an immigration lawyer, I recommend David Piver at Piver Law. You can reach him at: 610-975-4599.

Once you are incorporated, you probably need a good book keeper. I recommend Toni Ann Tantillo – (914) 779-7155.

If you need to outsource your development to a great development team, speak with Mariano Weschsler at Digbang ( He is in Buenos Aires but speaks English perfectly.

You should now be set, good luck! 🙂

More Great Quotes

Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.
Joel A. Barker

A rejection is nothing more than a necessary step in the pursuit of success.
Bo Bennett

Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.
Richard Branson

I believe in benevolent dictatorship provided I am the dictator.
Richard Branson

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
Les Brown

Every failure, obstacle or hardship is an opportunity in disguise. Success in many cases is failure turned inside out. The greatest pollution problem we face today is negativity. Eliminate the negative attitude and believe you can do anything. Replace ‘if I can, I hope, maybe’ with ‘I can, I will, I must.’
Mary Kay Ash

The power of gestalt

I am a big believer in gestalt. A gestalt is what you get when you absorb varying and often seemingly unrelated tidbits of information and then take a leap beyond the pattern that emerges. The important point is this: no individual bits of information or any combination can adequately describe the final conclusion. The gestalt is by definition greater than the whole.

You don’t get gestalt in a field by going through analyst reports, studying trends. Those are useful but insufficient. I suppose that obtaining gestalt is a great by-product of intellectual curiosity – after all it’s a lot more fun to be doing things because you enjoy them than to try to get something out of them!

I suppose I can justify the variety of my readings and entertainment this way. Every week I read The Economist and New Scientist cover to cover, which I complement with Forbes, Time, Fortune, Business Week, but also Entertainment Weekly and Premiere. I love movies of all genres, be they artsy foreign movies or the latest blockbuster, books of all genres from Ron Chernow biographies to the latest Dan Brown thriller and love playing video games.

So next time you are berated for seeking mindless entertainment in the form of a blockbuster movie or a video game, retort you are in the process of getting gestalt 🙂

Padel: the future of tennis?

While traveling in Argentina and Spain, I came across an amazingly fun racquet sport called padel. Not to be confused with the American paddle or platform tennis, this fast paced game is a mixture of tennis and racquetball and mostly played in doubles. It’s a lot easier to pick-up than tennis, requires a smaller area and costs only $25,000 to install a court. Most importantly, while in a tennis match only a few points are truly intense and fun in an entire set, with well balanced teams every point is heavily disputed in padel!

You can see a few points of padel played in the video below:

Padel is now my favorite sport above tennis and skiing. I hope someone installs a few court in New York soon!

Mission Impossible III is tons of fun

It’s fast paced and tense. Philip Seymor Hoffman makes a surprisingly effective villain and, whatever you may think of him, Tom Cruise is the perfect actor for the part. The movie is a bit predictable and the second half and a little more conventional and slow paced than the first half, but overall the movie is great fun – the best in the series so far by far!