Jason Goldberg is founder and CEO of fab.com, a social recommendation site for gay men. Prior to founding fab, Jason founded Socialmedian (sold to XING AG) and Jobster. In a prior life, he spent six years working 100 hours a week for Bill Clinton in the White House.
Today marks the one-year anniversary of my latest company, Fab.com. Here are some of my thoughts on the difference between year 1 and year 2 of a startup.
Year 1: Ideas & Faith
1. Get something out there as fast as possible and iterate like mad to try to find some market traction.
2. Try stuff! Throw a lot of shit out there and see what sticks.
3. Don’t be afraid to jump from new thing to new thing.
5. Do it all yourself.
6. Try to figure out, “Is this thing gonna work?”
7. Watch out for false positives.
8. Be willing to be hunch driven, then measure to see if the hunches were right.
Year 2: Facts & Focus
1. Boil everything learned from year 1 into simple fixes/changes you must do right in year 2. Get these facts right.
2. Focus, focus, focus.
3. Pick 1 thing and just do that 1 thing better than anyone else out there.
4. Don’t be afraid to pivot: change course to pursue a singular focus, without it being a company-wide crisis.
5. Cancel projects that aren’t in line with your focus.
6. Know who your customer is.
7. Get out of the building.
8. Invest in customer development.
9. Know your acquisition model.
10. Understand your cost structure.
11. Figure out repeatable processes. Turn hypotheses into repeatable, scaleable facts.
12. Eliminate distractions.
13. Don’t stop learning and don’t stop making mistakes, just make smarter mistakes and more calculated mistakes than in year 1.
14. Raise capital to help you capture your market.