Four Startup-Myths Worth Ditching

by | Jun 29, 2015

By Jeffrey Tobias

"Don't make the mistake of imbibing what you hear coming from the mouths of the Silicon Valley behemoths for there are many, many more who have proven otherwise."
Source: Huffington Post

As an Angel Investor, there are many things that irritate me, one of them being the statements by "gurus" who espouse platitudes as though they know best and you don't. And it's interesting the see many of these same people keep popping up at startup event after startup event. However, you soon find out that these so-called experts have never exited a business, and many have not even established a business with any sufficient traction.

I was interested to see this recent comment in the Huffington Post that concurs my thinking. Here are four myths that it looks to dispel:

The success of your startup depends on having a co-founder. Now many investors will tell you that a one-person business will fail. It is true that diversity in thinking is a good thing, and that have diverse skills at the top of the tree can provide value. But a single founder does not mean the business will not succeed. Think Steve Jobs. Think Bill Gates. Think Einstein. As the article says: "At the early stages of your startup, what matters is getting validation for the idea, getting to product/market fit and getting early feedback on the product or service. Along the journey, you may find someone who's equally excited about building it as a business and the one to partner with in the long term. Serendipity is best when it comes to finding a co-founder; you can't really force it."

Always build a MVP - Minimal Viable Product. I am a big fan of a MVP but there should not be a hard and fast rule that without an MVP the business will fail. To quote: "Not every product or service launched requires one to build an MVP. If you're building a product or service similar to an existing one or many, but better, the users are likely used to an existing experience, which you cannot take away. You have to build further on that and deliver a better product."

A service business is a shameful one to start. Build a product. Really? All businesses today are ripe for disruption. Including service businesses. So perhaps the model is a little different to a product business.....but that's OK. To quote: "Service businesses are the ones that help launch many product entrepreneurs' dreams - so if that is your calling, go build a services business to scale."

Outsourcing product development is a bad thing. Now this is an interesting view. I do believe that outsourcing is fine initially, but if the business is to heavily rely on technology, then often the technology capability of that business become a major asset. And if one redeploys many times a day, how do you do that with an outsourced development team. But outsourcing is not  "bad thing" - it just depends on the nature of the startup. To quote: "If you experience sleepless nights, if you can't wait to get started, outsource the tech in the initial days and once you have product/market fit, once you get your traction rolling, there would be many ways to then build an in-house team. Some of the most popular products you use today were outsourced in their initial days - Skype, Fab.com and even the billion-dollar-valued Slack."

.As the article concludes: All you need is an entrepreneurial spirit, fantastic strategy and good talent and you could be the next million or billion-dollar company emerging out of your own home turf. You don't need any Silicon Valley pundit directing you what or how you should build or run your business.

Jeffrey Tobias

About Jeffrey Tobias

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well-known startups.

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Managing Director, The Strategy Group

Dr Tobias is an accomplished innovation consultant and entrepreneurship strategist, drawing expertise from the academic, entrepreneurial and corporate worlds. Jeffrey’s commercial and business experience is particularly focussed on lean startup, design thinking and leadership. Prior to The Strategy Group, Jeffrey was Cisco’s Global Lead for Innovation in the Internet Business Solutions Group helping Fortune Global 500 companies improve customer experience and grow revenue by transforming how they do business.
Jeffrey is a professor of innovation and entrepreneurship teaching MBA students at the Australian Graduate School of Business at the University of New South Wales. An active angel investor, Jeffrey is on the board of various well known startups. Jeffrey’s corporate background includes leading global innovation strategy at Cisco, working with large corporates such as Adobe, Westpac, Telstra, Woolworths, and Perpetual.

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