Momentum is the key to success for startups

Lecture 2 on How to start a startup, Sam shared about the need for building a strong team and what are the consequence if your first hire was wrong. Spoiler: if you get a wrong hire during the your early stage of growth, things will start to go bad and you will start losing momentum.

My Learning from Lecture 2

On Team

  • Remote working is not recommended for early stage startups because communication is one of the key element during early period. – I do not totally agree but I do understand the benefit of having my co-founder right next to me when we need to talk.
  • Try not to hire. – I did not hire until the 2nd year of Intraix. Hiring increase burn rate and if hire wrongly, GG.
  • Be generous to employees rather to investors. Employees are the the ones who help you grow your company and in the long run they are the pillars while investors they are in for the money (some investors might offer value). – This is the truth. Will be planning how we can restructure ESOP. Plus there is usually a vesting period, typically 4 years.

On Execution

  • There are many things that a CEO needs to do but the most important two is to first stay focus and second get the team to execute. – In my personal opinion, this is also the hardest things in running a startup. It is hard to stay focus while you see other startups in the similar space launching faster, better products that you were planning. Than you start shifting the goal post and that is where things will start to go wrong. Getting the team to execute is also closely interlink with CEO’s focus. If the CEO is able to communicate the direction that the team is heading, it will be much better for the team to follow and execute.
  • Competition is not important – Back to Lecture 1, if build a product that people love, the rest will follow.
  • Momentum is the key to success. – If a team starts losing momentum, it stops shipping, it stops growing and it will die.


So what happens if you are already building a startup and you face the problems that Sam talked about?

In the video, Sam said that in 2008 Facebook started to lose momentum and Mark had to do something about it. Mark started to start small again, he build a small team within Facebook and started shipping features that gathers small wins. These small wins slowly pump back the morale of the employees and turns what is Facebook today.