Startup Junkies

America's Startup Booster Rocket Since 2004

startup advice

Today’s special guest contributor is Shane Snow is Chief Creative Officer of Contently.

Great Startup Habits to Transform Your Work

When I left journalism school, I and half of the grad students in my class entered the job market as freelancers. (It’s a tough market for journalists, even today). And then a peculiar thing happened: all of these amazing, Columbia-educated journalists who’d written for The New York Times and NBC and Time Magazine started approaching me for help—despite the fact that they were far better writers than me. In the past, I had run a website consultancy, so my friends asked my advice on building a website, promoting themselves online, getting clients, managing invoices and taxes, and so on. Essentially, they needed help becoming entrepreneurs, which required an entirely different skillset than the journalist’s craft. While some of what we freelancers needed was practical (sales skills, websites, etc.), what we really had to do was start thinking of ourselves as startups.

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Lean Startups? Ho-hum.

One of the results of having been around the block a few times is that you start to realize that few ideas are original and that most are simply incremental variations on a theme. The lean startups approach has been widely touted recently as a breakthrough in the business of launching companies. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. This approach has been around since the first cash-strapped entrepreneur scrambled for ways to get his startup off the ground.

If you want proof that the lean startup model is nothing new, go read the works of Professor Amar Bhide from the 1980s on how to do lean startups. Just beware that he didn’t use that term. Instead he talked about the “high hustle” approach. Where The Lean Startup uses the annoying “pivot,” Dr. Bhide used the much better “try-it;fix-it” phrase. You can find articles by Dr. Bhide at the HBR site as well as his famous book on entrepreneurship at Amazon.

All that Lean Startups has managed to do is systemize the obvious in a manner that makes you want to read the phonebook instead. Now Steve Blank, a man we normally respect, has jumped aboard the lean bandwagon and touts it as if it is something truly new. You can see his latest attempt at making what’s been painfully obvious to entrepreneurs for a very long time sound like the discovery of the millennium.

If you have ever had to fight the urge to strangle a 20-year old Y Combinator grad who talks about pivoting incessantly, you will enjoy this video. Be forewarned that it does contain a few F-bombs.

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