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OSCE August 26 2014 - Mistakes and lessons learned

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Arman Suleimenov

on 7 June 2015

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Transcript of OSCE August 26 2014 - Mistakes and lessons learned

I won't tell you my idea because you'll steal it and run away.
I want to make it perfect before launching.
Let me do the thorough analysis of the competitor's landscape.
Steve Jobs didn't listen to his customers. I won't either!
I want the world domination so I'll start off by building everything for everyone.
I'll build and they will come.
Let me spend $100K on marketing and $100K on the awesome office next door to Samruk.
Elon Musk works 80 hours a week. So do I!
Build the product? Let me make the slick presentation for investors instead.
I want to build the next Instagram or Twitter, so I don't care about profits or cash-flow.
You seem like a smart gal/guy, let's start a company together.

My hiring principle: I want to be the smartest person in the room.
12+ Mistakes First-Time Entrepreneurs Make
Hello. I'm Arman.
Hello. I'm Arman.
"It took me a while to get it, but the hardest-working people don't work hard because they're disciplined. They work hard because working on an exciting problem is fun. So after today, it's not about pushing yourself; it's about finding your tennis ball, the thing that pulls you. It might take a while, but until you find it, keep listening for that little voice."

Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox.
Arman Suleimenov
Mistake # 1. "I'm either too shy or too confident, but I don't need to introduce myself".
ACM ICPC World Finals 2009 (Stockholm, Sweden), 2011 (Orlando, FL)
A few more lessons I learned.
It’s extremely hard to build a social network as a social network from the get-go.
Intense 9-to-7 work results in higher productivity than the endless grind that many Silicon Valley startups like to brag about.
Startup meetups, talks, and conferences are distractions that do not directly improve your product.
Decisions that resulted from long intellectual debates, complicated forward-looking arguments, or ornate over-intellectualizations rarely led to anything useful.
The ability to produce “hard to build, easy to use” services is inversely proportional to the number of articles read on startups and productivity.
When working on the same problem for a long period of time, we need productive distractions: and when we’re in the middle of it, we’re blind to the bigger picture.
Don't listen how Richard Branson got from $1 billion to $5 billion, listen how he made his first $10,000.
Respect the competition, but don't worry about it.
Don't solve the solved problems.
Don't create the artificial invite deficit if it's just a marketing gimmick. Just look at Facebook, Gmail, Mailbox.
Don't lose your own vision even if authorities like PG (Paul Graham) or PB (Paul Buchheit) question it.
It's OK if your product doesn't sound like a real company. Desktop client for Google Drive is just fine. Be the best in your little niche, then grow, get investment (or get profitable) to execute on the bigger vision.
Never postpone the most important problem - the problem of product-market fit.
Consistency leads to mediocrity.
Double down on what is working really well. Do less of what doesn't work well.
If it's a company, don't treat like a course project in college. It's a marathon, not a sprint.
An idea is not a design
A design is not a prototype
A prototype is not a program
A program is not a product
A product is not a business
A business is not profits
Profits are not an exit
And an exit is not happiness.
"The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is the biggest mistake people make when looking for a spouse. Don’t think about money. Fall in love". -James Altucher

"While they may not tell you what you should build, but they can surely tell what’s wrong". -Bill Gates.
“Any darn fool can make something complex it takes a genius to make something simple". -Albert Einstein.
Adopt and track daily habits from the most effective people in the world: from Benjamin Franklin and Ludwig van Beethoven to Bruce Lee and Haruki Murakami.
Osaka, Japan. July, 2011
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