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9 Conflicting Tips for Start-ups

I'm out in Colorado this week, and I had a chance to work out of the TechStars office yesterday afternoon before doing a quick talk with the 10 start-up teams participating in the incubator. TechStarsThe energy was great. David has pulled together some really smart entrepreneurs who are working hard on some solid ideas. I'm excited to see where these companies -- and founders -- go from here.

Along with some of the lessons from our work with Squidoo, I had planned to focus on the importance of a strong front-end to any consumer-facing web app, but, after learning more about what the teams are working on, I switched it up to cover a broader range of topics. With some inspiration from Seth, I whittled my long list into the nine I thought would be most relevant. Since all good entrepreneurs are arrogant and argumentative, I beat them to the punch and disputed each tip. Here they are:

   1. It's all about the front-end 2. Hurry up 3. Make sure it scales 4. Keep it simple 5. Listen to your users 6. Make mistakes 7. Foster evangelists 8. Stay dedicated 9. Focus 1(a). It's the backend, stupid 2(a). Take your time 3(a). Scale it later 4(a). Solve the problem 5(a). Listen to your gut 6(a). Make smart decisions 7(a). Passion, not just positivity 8(a). Quit! 9(a). Focus

I had a chance to talk with a few of the teams one-on-one, including Villij, madKast, and EventVue. I also caught up with the guys from J-Squared Media, who have almost 119,000 users on their Facebook app and are feeling the pain of explosive growth.

All these guys are working on unique ideas but are facing similar (and familiar) challenges. While I think they're getting a lot of great advice from the mentors (if I do say so myself), I think it's the insights they're getting from each other as they figure things out along the way that they'll miss the most when the summer's over.

Thanks again to the group for having me out. Seeing as how Boulder and start-ups are two of my favorite things, I'm up for an encore anytime.


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