John brennan lessons from my 20s

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Valuable lessons of a tech entrepreneur in pdf/slideshow format.

Text of John brennan lessons from my 20s

  • 20stangibleJohn Brennan

    LESSONS FROM MYReal, actionable advice from an entrepreneurs experience

  • Lessons from My 20s

    INTRODUCTION

  • Lessons from My 20s

    ABOUT MEMany people do something crazy when they enter a new decade of life. Some travel in search of meaning, others make big career moves or seek out adrenaline. I chose to write an eBook.

    I've learned a lot about engineering, business strategy and spirituality in the last decade. I've started several businesses, picked up advice from mentors, and spent time soul searching. Last fall I sold my company BuzzTable to Sysco Foods (SYY), and the experience gave me time to revisit my life's goals.

    I certainly didnt get to this point unscathed, and I can almost count the startup failures on two hands. I contribute a large part of these failures to lack of knowledge and experience. I cant promise to teach you experience in this deck, but hopefully my journey can help you avoid a few common pitfalls.

    Get in touch with me: john@buzztable.com @worldlyjohn

  • Lessons from My 20s

    Although this started as a personal exercise, my hope is that other, early stage entrepreneurs will also find value in this. I wanted to take a holistic view to this exercise which is why the Life section remains intact because without a work-life balance you will most likely burn out.

    Some lessons you may have already learned yourself, others may not apply to you at this current moment -- thats okay.

    My hope is that the time you spend reading (or skimming) this micro-book will have paid you back a few times over in the knowledge you will have gained.

    WHO IS THIS FOR?

  • Lessons from My 20s

    OVERVIEW

  • Lessons from My 20s

    OVERVIEW

    Slides are organized into 2 parts:

    BUSINESS and LIFE

  • Lessons from My 20s

    Part 2: Life

    HAPPINESSMINDFULNESSHEALTHRELATIONSHIPSINVESTINGGOALS

    TOPICS

    Part 1: Business

    TEAM & CULTURESTRATEGY & EXECUTION REVENUE MODELSPRODUCT DEVELOPMENTSALES & MARKETINGACQUISITIONVENTURE CAPITALSTARTUP CHECKLIST

  • Lessons from My 20s

    OVERVIEW

    Its about 150 slides.

    BUT, if you are short on time theres a cheat sheet...

  • Lessons from My 20s

    CHEAT SHEET

    TEAM & CULTURE1. The one thing no competitor can copy or replicate2. If you dont define your culture it will define you3. Communicate your north star often4. Celebrate the small things5. Solve tough personal issues early6. Maintain a balance7. Foster respect through mutual understanding8. Decisions made by data9. Hire people with different perspectives10. Hire generalists early on, specialists after product fit

    STRATEGY & EXECUTION 1. Lack of focus kills a startup2. Develop milestones early on3. Success emulates success4. Remove the unknowns5. Be hypothesis driven6. Be honest with the challenges you face

    STRATEGY & EXECUTION (cont.) 7. Build processes8. Never outsource your core value9. Every problem is a funnel10. Customer and market segmentation

    REVENUE MODELS

    PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT1. Ship before you want to2. Say no a lot3. Do 2 things at 100% everything else at 80%4. Make 1st-time users happy as fast as possible5. Less is more6. Its not always what, but when7. Track everything8. Empower ownership9. Dont write product specs10. Build lead capture into the product early on

    PART 1: Business Lessons

  • Lessons from My 20s

    CHEAT SHEET

    SALES & MARKETING1. Setting goals2. When its not about the numbers3. Road to a repeatable sales process4. Building a repeatable sales process5. Know thy funnel6. Unit economics are your friend7. Dont automate too early8. Skip resellers9. Think different10. Customer satisfaction drives everything

    ACQUISITION1. Love the struggle2. Companies are bought not sold3. Conversations begin in many ways4. Keep working5. Get the letter of intent

    ACQUISITION (cont.) 6. Lawyer up for the due diligence7. Negotiate the LOI8. Valuations9. Dating goes both ways10. Be prepared for change

    VENTURE CAPITAL 1. How big is your market?2. Show traction3. Build relationships4. Be serious about the financial model5. Know thy unit economics6. Finding investors7. Investor feedback can be contradictory8. You will never hear no, just not now9. Understand the terms

    STARTUP CHECKLIST

    PART 1: Business Lessons

  • Lessons from My 20s

    CHEAT SHEET

    HAPPINESS1. Harmony between heart and mind2. Quality of your thoughts3. Live in the moment4. Buy experiences not things5. Create your purpose

    MINDFULNESS1. Enlightenment is not a destination2. Compassion through understanding3. You cant see the truth, only a perspective4. Live with gratitude5. Embrace uncertainty6. You are here and here is perfect7. A step back often becomes a step forward8. Perfect timing does not exist9. Breathing exercises10. Deepening your practice

    HEALTH1. Eat your super foods

    HEALTH (cont.)2. Practice preventive health3. Get your heart rate up4. Detox annually5. Yoga is more than stretching

    RELATIONSHIPS

    INVESTING1. Personal goals should dictate your strategy2. If you remember one thing, its asset allocation3. Use index funds to the finish line4. Dollar-cost averaging5. Interest rates6. Stocks7. Bonds8. Real Estate9. Commodities10. Peer-to-peer lending

    PART 2: Life Lessons

  • Lessons from My 20s

    BUSINESS

    part 1

    what ive learned in...

  • Lessons from My 20s

    Part 1: Business

    TEAM & CULTURESTRATEGY & EXECUTION REVENUE MODELSPRODUCT DEVELOPMENTSALES & MARKETINGACQUISITIONVENTURE CAPITALSTARTUP CHECKLIST

    TOPICS

  • Lessons from My 20s

    part 1: business

    TEAM & CULTURE

  • Lessons from My 20s

    1TEAM & CULTURE

    TEAMthe one thing no competitor can copy or replicateMany of us read technology articles as part of our morning routine. When we started building our business, every article about a competitor can be a small blow to our morale.I remember reading an article about a competitor that copied several of our features in their latest release. It didnt bother me because I knew we could push the envelope again. Thats the thing about the team you go to battle with - you can always jump ahead again tomorrow.

  • Lessons from My 20s

    2TEAM & CULTURE

    if you dont define your CULTUREit will define youWhen I was building OpenAction with my former cofounder (and still close friend), we spent a lot of time working on product/sales and very little on the culture. We were just getting to know each other when we were starting the company, and by sheer luck had similar interests in the outdoors. Unfortunately, we rarely integrated that into the culture at work, especially as our team grew. Our culture just happened.

    At BuzzTable, I wanted to take a different approach and be more deliberate. We started with monthly outings (paintball, rock climbing, etc) and eventually the group threw out suggestions. The culture became larger than myself. Hopefully I can replicate that again.

  • Lessons from My 20s

    TEAM & CULTURE

    3communicate your NORTH STAR oftenYour north star is the vision and direction of the company. While you will have a good grasp of this, your team does not sit in every meeting with you and their perspective may differ. Communicate the why in addition to the what as often as you can.I think this problem is correlated with company size. When you are 4-8 people in a room, there are so many conversation exchanges in real time that its easy to stay on the same page. Once you grow out of a single room, youll need more than quarterly updates to communicate the 5 Ws. Align your goals to it, repeat yourself often.

  • Lessons from My 20s

    TEAM & CULTURE

    CELEBRATE the small thingsMilestone wins, no matter how insignificant they seem, bring the team closer together. When we first started out we didnt have a snack bar or a water cooler in the office... after a few early milestones that changed. The whole team was a part of the selection process. Most notably for the office minibar. =)4

  • Lessons from My 20s

    5TEAM & CULTURE

    solve tough personal issuesEARLYFounder/team issues will compound themselves with every milestone or funding round. Problems never resolve themselves, quite the opposite actually.

    Even after we raised a large funding round in a previous company, we still had founder issues around our roles and responsibilities. I imagine this problem is common with overlapping skill sets. I promise the conversation will be harder tomorrow, so address it today.

  • Lessons from My 20s

    TEAM & CULTURE

    http://www.fastcompany.com/3002879/designing-one-week-team-sabbatical-will-transform-your-companyhttp://product.skillshare.com/2012/09/whats-a-company-retreat-for/

    6maintain aBALANCEAll work and no play is a recipe for burnout. Remember, the company you are building is a marathon, not a sprint.We had small monthly retreats as a team (rock climbing, paintball, play hooky and see a movie) and larger weekend retreats once a quarter (ski trip, RV road trip from NYC to Chicago, etc).

  • Lessons from My 20s

    TEAM & CULTURE

    7FOSTER RESPECTbetween disciplines through mutual understandingEveryones job is hard. Most of the time engineers cant sell and salespeople cant write code. Thats why youre a team.Understanding each others pain points leads to mutual respect. We achieved this at BuzzTable because it was built into the culture early. When the product team stayed until midnight every night the week before we had to ship, sales stay there with us to prospect.