For some reason, I like wordsmithing and trying to make phrases smaller (while still retaining some meaning).  Not long ago, when I was up much too late, I tried to come up with some of my best startup advice and see if I could reduce it down to exactly three words.3

One thing led to another, and I became obsessed with it. So obsessed, in fact, that I had put together 47 before I was able to make myself stop. While it’s likely not the most brilliant startup advice you’ve ever read – it has a decent chance of being the shortest.

Startup Triplets: Startup Advice In Exactly Three Words

1.  Watch your cash.

2. Pick founders carefully.

3. Hire generalists early.

4. Hire specialists later.

5. Invest in culture.

6. Avoid tempting distractions.

7. Support customers maniacally.

8. Avoid business plans.

9. Write a blog.

10. Never fudge numbers.

11. Encourage diverse thinking.

12. Guard your time.

13. Defer renting space.

14. Get enough sleep.

15. Delay raising capital.

16. Persist through downturns.

17. Decide with data.

18.  Improve product daily.

19. Recognize revenue consistently.

20. Start charging early.

21. Reward early adopters.

22. Sell something today.

23. Say “NO” often.

24. Accept imperfect data.

25. Recruit with zest.

26. Nurture your best.

27.  Treat vendors well.

28. Believe in yourself.

29. Respect your competitors.

30. Try something new.

31. Build a brand.

32. Focus, focus, focus.

33. Iterate more often.

34. Use your product.

35. Live your vision.

36. Encourage rational debate.

37. Make decisions swiftly.

38. Face harsh realities.

39. Don’t break laws.

40. Protect your health.

41. Celebrate your successes.

42. Cancel unnecessary meetings.

43. Improve employee’s resumes.

44. Beware big bullies.

45. Share the experience.

46. Maintain your relationships.

47. Keep it fun.

Note: After I originally posted this list, Guy Kawasaki (yes, the Guy Kawasaki) was kind enough to post some of his own triplets. Here are a few of them:

48. Sales fixes everything.

49. Ship then test.

50. Do not partner.

You can see his full list here: Guy Kawasaki’s Startup Triplets.

You’re way smarter than I am – and I’d love to see your own startup triplets. Share them in the comments below or post it to twitter (with hashtag #StartupTriplets). I think you’ll find it fun – and addicting.

Dharmesh Shah is a serial software entrepreneur and the founder and CTO of HubSpot, which provides marketing software for small businesses.

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