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7 Secrets to Starting a Startup just by writing (from someone who’s done it)

🧵I listened to Dickie Bush and Nicolas Cole riff with Sahil Lavingia.

Didn’t know of Sahil before. It was the event title (Productizing Yourself, for Writers and Entrepreneurs) that grabbed me.

Still not sure I know how to “productize myself”. But there was enough mindblowing to warrant a rewatch. TAKEAWAYS👇👇

The chat on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1T0nzuq6W4

1️⃣ THE TREASURE YOU SEEK, MAY NOT BE THE ONE YOU FIND

But you will find one.

Sahil had but one objective: Create a unicorn.

Failed.

Did, however, create a company (@Gumroad) with $10MM ARR, no meetings, deadlines or FTE’s.

INSERT: sound of millions cheering. Take a bow, Sahil.

2️⃣ BE HYPER-SPECIFIC

Limit the options.

Alienate people.

Not web design. Web design for veterans using Wordpress.

Ask someone to tell a joke? they can’t. Ask someone to tell a Knock-knock joke? they can.

Nobody eats Fusion food. They eat Bihar Indian, or Guatemalan Latino, or Szechuan Chinese, etc.

3️⃣ GO CONTRARIAN

What belief does everyone around you hold? YOU believe different.

YOU be the one to say, “The emperor’s not wearing the clothes you think he is!”

(Can do this with just a change of voice or tone. That will reject one crowd, and attract another.)

(Example: Sahil isn’t a fan of Twitter for finding or validating ideas.

INTERESTING. Suggests Sub-Reddits or in person meetups instead. Hmmm …)

4️⃣ POLARIZE

Your offer (or headline) should force people to make a choice.

Not to divide people, but to erect a banner to which SOME people will gravitate (who won’t go anywhere otherwise).

5️⃣ ATTRACT, DON’T PURSUE

Startups desperate for funding, usually don’t get it.

Startups that are happy bootstrapping? Investors beat a path to their door.

6️⃣ INVEST 100 FOCUSED HOURS

That’s all it takes to become better than 99% out there.

True, 1% are still better than you. (10,000 hours for that.) But you don’t need them to launch.

When they want help, 3rd-graders seek out 4th-graders. They don’t seek out 8th-graders.

To most people, you are ALREADY AN EXPERT at solving the problem you had 2 years ago.

(In the crypto/web3 space? 2 MONTHS ago.)

7️⃣ BUSINESS FIRST, IDEA AFTER

(Or product, or essay …)

Once you start, you will encounter problem after problem.

As you solve those, you create new knowledge almost no-one else has.

HINT: New knowledge → PRODUCT

➡️(Example: @shopify launched intending to sell snow sports gear.

But they found the nec’y software infrastructure lacking.

So they fixed that problem. Everyone wanted their solution. They forgot about the snow sports gear.)

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Curiosity. Questions. Simplicity. Principles. Meaning. The Vital Few, not the Trivial Many. Be your own Chief Questions Officer.

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David Kimbell

David Kimbell

Curiosity. Questions. Simplicity. Principles. Meaning. The Vital Few, not the Trivial Many. Be your own Chief Questions Officer.

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