So you got written up in Techcrunch, now don’t be an idiot

Posted on March 14, 2012. Filed under: startups, venture capital |

Fred wrote a nice post today about “The Startup Curve.”  He refernced Paul Graham’s startup curve reproduced below and talked about this reoccurring trajectory of momentum that most startups experience:

I’d like to focus on the “Techcrunch of Initiation” phase in a startups life because I constantly see founders fuck this part of the curve up.  As if blind to the coming “Trough of Sorrow,” every so often you see hubris rare it’s ugly head during the “Techcrunch of Initiation.”  No matter how hot you are, or how hot the press says you are, there is a fine line between perpetuating momentum and getting cocky…and 99 out of 100 times when Techcrunch blesses you as the next “Google killer,” 3 months later things are looking pretty dark.  The only company I have seen in the last two years that carried the heat from inception to acquisition was Groupme…pretty much everyone else hits a wall after their initial burst of fame.  I can’t stand founders, and especially naïve first time founders who big time their way through the “Techcrunch of initiation” phase, thinking that they are at the top of the market.  During this phase, you have done almost nothing.  Execution lies ahead. The market will punish you.  No Mashable article about the cool kids in tech is going to fix the fact that the first version of your product doesn’t work.  The culture you set and your behavior during the Techcrunch of Initiation” phase will define how your team reacts to the “Trough of Sorrow.”  If you walk around like God’s gift to earth when the spotlight is on you, you will look like a moron when things get rough.  Your team will lose faith in you, people will leave, and you will be embarrassed perhaps to the point of hindered execution.  If you communicate with your team not to buy into the hype, stay focused, tell them things will be hard, and that it’s a long road ahead, they will be ready for the spotlight to fade, knowing it will return through hard work.  If you stay humble to the market, be gracious and thank people for their congratulations, but maintain a level head and represent yourself at a sober level, you will maintain their respect for the life of your company.  If you are the 23 year old flash in the pan first time founder who taps a vein with the press and acts immaturely and overly confident, you will lose the hearts of those who would have otherwise helped you through the “Trough of Sorrow.”  I don’t care if God himself invests in your seed round, or if Arrington adorns you as the next Steve Jobs, stay humble…ESPECIALLY in the “Techcrunch of Initiation” phase.

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3 Responses to “So you got written up in Techcrunch, now don’t be an idiot”

RSS Feed for Jordan Cooper's Blog: startups, venture capital, etc… Comments RSS Feed

Great post .. I left a similar comment on fred’s blog. In the end, is the Techcrunch bump a critical and necessary part of the process?

helps a lot with recruiting and fundraising…

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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