Tony Stubblebine starts with the following (well presented) advice:
- Surround yourself with interesting people;
- Focus on the right things (which means, ironically, figuring out what the right things are);
- Be useful.
He ends on a little zinger:
There’s basically two ways to be financially successful as a company. One, you could rely on time-tested business fundamentals. I call this the Warren Buffet model.
Two, you could rely on the greater fool theory, which is that with enough hype, smoke, and mirrors you can find a buyer who is an even greater fool than your investors.
So much of the startup world is arrayed around the greater fool theory that I felt like my best chance was to build a company that was independent of that system. I think of bootstrapping as a very slow form of raising money. But now that we’ve done it, I have a reliable stream of income and never have to raise money again. It’s really just at this moment in time that we can switch from doing whatever it takes to survive to actually testing our ability to make a major impact.
To be fair, there are situations where you do need the extra money to grow extra fast, or else you lose. Groupon is a good example - had they not executed so brilliantly and quickly, they would have been eaten alive by the dozens of clones which emerged everywhere.
I'm a big fan of getting profitable early, but it is neither the only way, nor the universal best way.
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