How to be a Start-up Founder with Steve Hoffman
Startup Survival Guide with Steven Hoffman (Captain Hoff)
Steve Hoffman—or Captain Hoff, as he’s known in Silicon Valley—is the CEO of Founders Spac. One of the world’s leading startup incubators and accelerators, Founders Spac prepares entrepreneurs to avoid disastrous mistakes, surmount sizable obstacles, and master the skills necessary to make the right choices along their path to success.
Steve is also the author of the books Make Elephants Fly, Surviving a Startup, and The Five Forces. On this episode of INSIGHT LIVE, Captain Hoff returns to the show to share insights and important principles from his books.
Join Billy Samoa Saleebey and Brenden Kumarasamy as they dive deep into why over 90 percent of all new startups fail. They discuss the realities every entrepreneur has to confront while on their startup journey and the risks that they must face, in addition to offering advice for how to prevent these risks from stopping new entrepreneurs.
This is one you won’t want to miss!
What we discuss with Steve
- [03:06] – The best reasons why people usually start a company
- [06:28] – The reality of unicorn startups
- [10:00] – Reasons why startup fails
- [12:24] – The devil’s candy
- [15:00] – Why you shouldn’t take your family and friend’s money for your startup
- [17:55] – The different layers of building a team
- [21:24] – Executing your idea
- [22:14] – How he convinced his co-founders to work on his ideas
- [24:35] – How Steve started his second company
- [30:56] – Companies that started in one way but then pivoted into another direction
- [34:00] – Become a power user of your competitions
- [36:03] – Why are people so afraid of copying a business model
- [39:06] – Steve’s top 3 favourite entrepreneurs
- [40:00] – Jeff Bezos’s powerful tool
- [47:50] – How do the best founders navigate the difficult conversations in the business to get the vision or direction they want to go to?
- [49:00] – Don’t be mean or nice to your employees. Just be honest.
- [54:47] – Risk-taking and entrepreneurship
- [58:41] – What should a startup founder be doing to avoid failure
- [1:05:30] – How to get honest feedback as a founder
- [1:09:06] – His views on the current fundraising environment
- [1:13:00] – Believe in your idea
- [1:14:13] – Some industries that are overhyped
- [1:20:31] – What COVID taught Steve
Valuable Insights by Steve
- Don’t equate not liking your work/job to starting a company.
- We don’t always have the quintessential purpose that we might need to start a startup.
- A startup with nice-to-have products will never succeed.
- Borrowing money from family and friends for your startup is a dangerous thing to do.
- There is a myth out there that you’re going to have that epiphany in your head, and the world will love it.
- If you want to maximize your chance of success, don’t take specific ideas.
- Having some knowledge of technology is very critical to starting a company.
- Investors like it when you have the talent to build all the products yourself.
- Build a team of people around you who are as obsessed with the company’s success as you are.
- One of the core things you need to realize as an entrepreneur is that your job is discovery. Your job isn’t to know the answers when you start. Your job is to go on a crazy journey.
- Know your competitors inside out.
- Smart entrepreneurs enter deep into their enemy’s territory.
- Features make a product great.
- If you take the risk out of your equation, you take the growth of your organization from your equation.
Tips by Steve:
- Have 2 or 3 founders for your startup.
- Start a company with no idea. Pick a direction and an area that you’re really
- interested in what you think needs to change.
- Platforms are better than products.
- Build the team, then build the company.
- Copying is the best business model in the world.
- If your idea is not working out, then don’t stick too long with the same idea.
- Software is the evergreen industry.
[04:00] – The only reason that you should start a startup is that in your life, you have seen a need for something that isn’t there, and you want to bring that need into life.”
[08:30] – Don’t start a startup if you want an easier quality of life.
[13:30] – Money is a funny thing. It can drive a wedge between family members, best friends, etc.
[17:35] – To make the best decision for yourself, you must know what you’re getting into.
[19:42] – It’s better to spend 80% of your time not building your product, not thinking of an idea, not talking to the customer but going out and finding the people you want to work with.
[34:00] – Great entrepreneurs are the ones who gather the most information about their market, customers, competitors, etc.
[55:40] – You can be nothing without taking risks.
[1:00:10] – “People have bais, and we have to recognize this.”
[1:02:40] – Entrepreneurs die not because they give up on products too early. They fail because they stick with them too long.
USEFUL RESOURCES/ LINKS:
Steve’s Website: https://www.foundersspace.com/contact/
Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?u=23010497)