“Valley of the Shadow”

April 27, 2008 at 9:26 pm Leave a comment

Posted by Nick

This weekend at UCSC’s College Eight reunion, I had a chance to speak with and listen to Sunil Paul and Reid Hoffman on the topic of Green Entrepreneurship. (This same week, my Partner, Sir Savage, shared a stage with another beauty, Caprice.) During his discussion, Reid referred to startup teams as “the walking dead”, inasmuch as you’re in with a group of folks, walking through the Valley of the Shadow from Day 1, with no free cashflow and mounting liabilities, and somehow you carry on, half alive, if only through sheer will.

It’s a true statement–startups are essentially the walking dead en small masse. In order to see their way to success, many endure bleak, dark periods where their faith in the corporate mission is tested.

Though dark, these times are by no means hopeless. Indeed, others have weathered similar storms before, oftentimes to much success afterwards. Reid and Sunil offered these instructive thoughts to captain the ship through during trying times:

1) Establish an Advisory Board of seasoned professionals who can help provide long-term, ongoing guidance;

2) Scale your organization and it’s reach through online networks to reach new, untapped audience;

3) Value and set a precedent of professionalism and partnership with your early customers–they are your most valuable and will set the tone for all relationships to come.

Wild weekend. Beautiful in San Francisco–do come visit.


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