The next biz

I’ve learned a lot from a myriad of startups in my life. The next startup I do will hit as many of these criteria as possible:


Belongs on the mobile home screen

If it belongs on a user’s home screen, it is something they use almost every day.

Cater to people with money who buy things

Watch out the trap of freemium. free must be huge and really free, unless it is a Dropbox “grow out” model. Freemium is good fun, but think twice before going down that road again.

Solve a problem / make life easier

Especially if you are solving a problem for yourself


Are there barriers to entry? Awesome! No barriers to entry? Better move fast!

Also, the 10X better technology breakthrough is an acceptable answer to this

Obvious exit

Who would buy this company?

People already spend meaningful amounts of money here

Something people already spend plenty of money on. I could explain the core problem I am solving to my grandmother.

Emerging technology, with explosive and long term growth prospects

The tech has to be new enough to be considered a toy. It has to have at least 10 years of growth built in.

Design is just as important as code

Get a Style Guide up front. Don’t let the front interface turn into a mess

Open platform - API Driven

Self interest is the most powerful force in the world

Fierce focus on the end user

Lots and lots of user testing

Social referral is nice

A built in social referral mechanic makes for a fast growing business

10X improvement over existing options

It requires a technology breakthrough - don’t compete with other companies... build something nobody else can do or figure out

Is now the right time?

I have started several businesses before the time was right. Bad timing is the same as being wrong.

A small market that can be dominated early

A big market adjacent to the initial small market

Either a small market that will grow into a big market or a big market that will be available after the small market is conquered

Don’t rely on somebody else’s platform

Really big companies make their own platform. The internet should be the basis. Phones and operating systems and private platforms are great for expanding into, but don’t base the company on it b/c it just takes one decision by a mid-level manager in Apple (for example) to ruin your biz.

Do you know something they don’t?

Do you have an insight into this market that other people don’t?