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Don‘t become an
 entrepreneur
  Unless you are insane

     Iserlohn, December 2012
Who wants to start a
     startup?
     Or has just started?
manuel koelman | dutch entrepreneur | living in
cologne | currently working on getcontext.de
and MailFred.de | practical philosopher |
involved with piratesummit.com | interested in
agile, lean and productivity | business angel |
ecommerce guy | startup mentor | caotina lover
| traveler | cheese addicted | proud father
PIRATES
 WHY I DO WHAT I DO?
"Entrepreneurship is
throwing yourself off a cliff
and building a plane on the
way down."
Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn
Are you a pirate?
That thrill of your first hire, when you’ve convinced some
other crazy soul to join you in your almost certainly
doomed project. The high from raising venture capital and
starting to see your name mentioned in the press. The
excitement of launch and…gulp…customers! and the
feeling of truly learning something useful, you’re just not
sure what it is, when the company almost inevitably
crashes and burns.
- Mike Arrington, Techcrunch
Who still wants to do a
      startup?
You will fail.
     I have.
Startup =
Experiment
Startups act in an environment of extreme uncertainty.
Why do startups fail?
Rarely because the product doesn’t work.
Usually because there are no customers.
What does failure
    mean?
The companies I founded:

farbquadrat
  talential
 getContext
      ?
Failure is not the enemy.
 Fear of failure is. Not learning is. And not
      trying. And not listening. And…
ENTREPRENEURSHIP
= MONEY & STATUS
       NOT.
Chances are you will make less
  money than your friends.
    Assuming your friends have “normal” jobs.
You get no respect.
  And no fancy cars, hotels etc.
Get out of your
comfort zone.
Successful startups aren’t build
   by fat and happy people.
PASSION
  THE FOUNDATION.
Passion ≠ Market.
   Just to be clear: It should be
  Your Passion = Chosen Market.
What are you
passionate about?
Chances are you can
build a business around
     your passion.
 It may not be easy, but at least it’s fun.
DNA
   YES, I DO BELIEVE THERE IS
SOMETHING LIKE FOUNDERS DNA.
Probably more accurate than you’d think.
Entrepreneurs are
     obsessed.
 It’s a survival strategy for tough times.
There will be tough times. Be prepared.
PARTNERS
IT‘S HARDER TO FIND A CO-FOUNDER THAN YOU THINK.
Picking a co-founder is like
 picking a husband/wife.
      A co-founder is not an employee.
You will fight.
 Just like in a marriage.
Tech guy
         Product guy
          Sales guy
                  Which one are you?



In a tech startup it is a good idea to have all three of these roles (not
       necessarily three different people) in the founding team.
           And no, you don’t need a strategy guy nor a CFO.
Commitment.
Especially the founding team.
If you are not committed why would anybody else be?
What does
commitment mean?
Some – not necessarily smart – examples of commitment:
         Invest your own money.
If you are stupid: Invest ALL your money.
       Be scrappy with everything.
     Pay your employee’s salary first.
Pay yourself what’s left: Usually nothing.
     Consequently: Eat (very) cheap.
 Have the team work in your apartment.
     Better yet: Sleep in your office.
      Don’t go on vacation for years.
       Enjoy the 7-day work week.
  Go networking if you are not working.
Your social life will be over.
    Be ready to disappoint friends and family.
Are you
an entrepreneur?
Beware!
Entrepreneurship is like a drug.
Never ever ever ever give up.
Don’t stop creating.
Shutting down one idea just means you have more
          time to focus on the next one.
Enjoy the rush.
?
Any questions
Find me around the net          Websites
   @manuelkoelman               www.getcontext.de
                                www.leanentrepreneur.com
   fb.com/koelman
                                www.23moments.com
   de.linkedin.com/in/koelman

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Don't become an entrepreneur unless you are insane

  • 1. Don‘t become an entrepreneur Unless you are insane Iserlohn, December 2012
  • 2. Who wants to start a startup? Or has just started?
  • 3. manuel koelman | dutch entrepreneur | living in cologne | currently working on getcontext.de and MailFred.de | practical philosopher | involved with piratesummit.com | interested in agile, lean and productivity | business angel | ecommerce guy | startup mentor | caotina lover | traveler | cheese addicted | proud father
  • 4. PIRATES WHY I DO WHAT I DO?
  • 5. "Entrepreneurship is throwing yourself off a cliff and building a plane on the way down." Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn
  • 6. Are you a pirate? That thrill of your first hire, when you’ve convinced some other crazy soul to join you in your almost certainly doomed project. The high from raising venture capital and starting to see your name mentioned in the press. The excitement of launch and…gulp…customers! and the feeling of truly learning something useful, you’re just not sure what it is, when the company almost inevitably crashes and burns. - Mike Arrington, Techcrunch
  • 7. Who still wants to do a startup?
  • 8. You will fail. I have.
  • 9. Startup = Experiment Startups act in an environment of extreme uncertainty.
  • 10. Why do startups fail? Rarely because the product doesn’t work. Usually because there are no customers.
  • 12. The companies I founded: farbquadrat talential getContext ?
  • 13. Failure is not the enemy. Fear of failure is. Not learning is. And not trying. And not listening. And…
  • 15. Chances are you will make less money than your friends. Assuming your friends have “normal” jobs.
  • 16. You get no respect. And no fancy cars, hotels etc.
  • 17. Get out of your comfort zone. Successful startups aren’t build by fat and happy people.
  • 18. PASSION THE FOUNDATION.
  • 19. Passion ≠ Market. Just to be clear: It should be Your Passion = Chosen Market.
  • 21. Chances are you can build a business around your passion. It may not be easy, but at least it’s fun.
  • 22. DNA YES, I DO BELIEVE THERE IS SOMETHING LIKE FOUNDERS DNA.
  • 23. Probably more accurate than you’d think.
  • 24. Entrepreneurs are obsessed. It’s a survival strategy for tough times. There will be tough times. Be prepared.
  • 25. PARTNERS IT‘S HARDER TO FIND A CO-FOUNDER THAN YOU THINK.
  • 26. Picking a co-founder is like picking a husband/wife. A co-founder is not an employee.
  • 27. You will fight. Just like in a marriage.
  • 28. Tech guy Product guy Sales guy Which one are you? In a tech startup it is a good idea to have all three of these roles (not necessarily three different people) in the founding team. And no, you don’t need a strategy guy nor a CFO.
  • 29. Commitment. Especially the founding team. If you are not committed why would anybody else be?
  • 31. Some – not necessarily smart – examples of commitment: Invest your own money. If you are stupid: Invest ALL your money. Be scrappy with everything. Pay your employee’s salary first. Pay yourself what’s left: Usually nothing. Consequently: Eat (very) cheap. Have the team work in your apartment. Better yet: Sleep in your office. Don’t go on vacation for years. Enjoy the 7-day work week. Go networking if you are not working.
  • 32. Your social life will be over. Be ready to disappoint friends and family.
  • 35. Never ever ever ever give up.
  • 36. Don’t stop creating. Shutting down one idea just means you have more time to focus on the next one.
  • 39. Find me around the net Websites @manuelkoelman www.getcontext.de www.leanentrepreneur.com fb.com/koelman www.23moments.com de.linkedin.com/in/koelman