overcoming frustration

The 3 Pieces of Startup Advice That Stuck With Me

Among the mixed bag of advice you’ll hear throughout your career, here are three best pieces of advice I ever received and will always treasure.

Being an entrepreneur is similar to being a newlywed: everyone has a   piece of advice to “gift” you with. Some are helpful—hire people who   have a proven track record; some aren’t—don’t be an entrepreneur, you’ll   never have a life! Some advice will be just plain weird—spray your   business cards with perfume to make yourself more memorable (huh?).   Among the mixed bag of advice you’ll hear throughout your career, here   are three best pieces of advice I ever received and will always   treasure.


  1. It’s more important to ship passion than wait on perfection. It’s terrifying to put your ideas out into the world; you could be   laughed at, ridiculed, slammed, and so much more. It’s easier to keep   chipping away at a project until you are absolutely sure of   its perfection than to reveal a work in progress. But, today, every   piece of a work has to be a work in progress. It’s the only way to stay   relevant. Embrace the editor within which allows you to put out a beta   version, and then tweak it to perfection 2.0. People will respect your   passion, and if they don’t, it doesn’t matter. One of my favorite quotes   is by Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts: not the man   who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds   could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in   the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who   strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again,   because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows   the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a   worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high   achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while   daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and   timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

  3. Beware of the ugly baby syndrome. While getting my   graduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, I took one of   the most challenging and useful classes of my educational career—one   that taught how to evaluate a business idea. We went through countless   case studies, trying to determine if they would succeed of fail based on   the facts given. During these discussions, our professor often referred   to “the ugly baby syndrome”—similar to the tendency for every parent to   think their bundle of joy is the cutest baby in the world, he said some   people love their ideas so much that they refuse to see that it   actually isn’t very pretty. He was trying to stress the importance of   objectivity in business. Don’t love your idea because you created it. Be   open to objectively analyzing, changing, and—if necessary—moving on   from a bad idea.

  5. Differentiate or die. I miss the early days of the   Internet, where you could find yourself a “niche” and suddenly own the   marketplace. Today, you should expect stiff competition in almost every   industry and it is more important than ever to differentiate yourself.   When I started an online marketing company almost three years ago,   there were tons of agencies out there, but no one seemed to truly   understand the pain of the client. Our clients wanted us to do more than   consult; they wanted a company who could customize a turn-key web   marketing solution for them that would result in greater leads and   visibility for their business. When we began to offer to take over   web marketing for our clients, revenues skyrocketed. We found a   differentiator within the industry. No matter what business you are in,   find a way to stand out.
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