At the YC office there is a whiteboard, now carrying somewhat iconic status, which reminds every single YC founder of “The Process”: once a startup has launched, the novelty will wear off, and the team will find itself in the “Trough of Sorrow”.
Source: blog post on hacker news
I just found a great blog post on the topic of vetting a startup.
A few takeaways:
- It has to be more than a good idea
- What it boils down to is are people willing to pay for the service/product.
- In fact, have them hand over actual money
- In may not work for the “Twitters” of the startup world
- You’ll know that you’ll have revenue as soon as you have a working product
The blog post gets into more of the details, if you’re interested.
Many entrepreneurs struggle with the very beginning of getting their idea off the ground: perfecting the elevator pitch, finding a co-founder, and getting funded, to name a few. So I created a little viral signup form, for when I have time to build it. (I do have some mockups already, if someone is interested in helping me.)
This was one of my first experiments with Ruby on Rails and Heroku.
- Save your email in the database
- Assign you a unique url to use to invite to friends (with one-click links for Facebook and Twitter)
- Each friend that signs up adds to your referral count
- The people with higher referral counts get invited first.
Thanks to Forkly.com signup process for the idea. And if you’re wondering, I also used an open source URL shortener developed in Ruby to use with my short domain, ptch.in.
Improvements: I need to process the signup in the background so there isn’t a delay when you click “Sign Up”. Either Delayed Jobs or Resque would work great.
Update: Turns out there is a Railscast on Beta Invitations. Railscasts is a great website, by the way, for leaning Rails.
Update 2: The guy who owns Pitchedin.com contacted me to say he was working on something similar.
Update 3: Another site has a similar idea; There is a good discussion on Hacker News: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2005034
Update 4: In part due to the previous updates, I’ve decided to put this project on hold–unless someone comes along that wants to help. But I can bet you’ll see a viral signup form for my next project.
Update 5: We solve [problem] by providing [advantage], to help [target] accomplish [target’s goal]. We make money by charging [customers] to get [benefit]. More good info from 500 startups blog.
This is how I was trying to explain to my last business partner how to approach clients. This is the way to do it:
You want to talk to customers about their problem first, and then only if you get confirmation that your hypothesis is mostly correct, should you proceed to talk about your solution.