Sink or Swim: The Five Most Important Startup Decisions

Subtitled: “Why I didn’t sell out to Google?”

One of the best descriptions of the elevator pitch I’ve ever heard – retitled “the MacWorld test”. If someone stops at your MacWorld booth and asks what your product does, and you fumble about for a few minutes trying describe all your applications disparate parts, it’s time to ditch the app. Of course, I devoted a chunk of my life to developing products that can’t be described easily…

Joel Spolsky, Fog Creek Software on bootstrapping a company – “never make a decision that risks the company” – “your first four or five hires have to be generalists”.

Evan Williams, Odeo (a neat company built around audio recording, via phone for instance and sharing. “Simplify your ideas” in the Web-world – constantly evaluate features on whether they contribute to the overall user experience. He started his first company at 21, realized after a year he’d started 31 projects – realized needed laser focus. Best advice: “start small, think big”.

Panic’s Cabel Sasser – “”never make software that you wouldn’t use” – “if you make something you’ll use, you’ll make it awesome”.

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