Kevin Rose spoke at Tahoe Tech Talk this morning. I captured some notes from the event below:
1.) Go build it. If you really believe in something, you should just build it. If you love it, it won't feel like work. It's okay to drop out of college if you have an awesome idea.
2.) Build & release. List out your features for six months, sort them by importance, and go build three to five of them. Stop thinking you understand your users. Learn from what they're actually doing on your site, not what you think they'll do. It's okay to kill features, but prove to your users that you have something better.
3.) Hire your boss. Senior positions: only hire people you'd personally work for. Make sure they can help build your vision. Junior positions: hire hustlers, people that will run circles around you.
4.) Don't raise money. Beg borrow and steal for as long as possible. If someone gives you cash, ask yourself, "how will they add value to my company?". If you don't need the money, don't take it. The more you go without taking funding, the more valuable your startup becomes. Don't let investors take board seats.
5.) Go cheap. Use Amazon for storage and data. Work from home for as long as possible. Shared cell phone plans. Shared apartments. Get some contractors for smaller projects instead of hiring people full time.
6.) Connect with your audience. Start a podcast, even if you have a small audience. It has to start somewhere, right? Throw a launch party. Invite press and influencers to the party.
7.) Hack the press. Invite only system at the beginning. It will get people excited about your product and also make them curious. Talk to junior bloggers: if they get the scoop on a cool, new site, they could blow up and you could blow up. Attend parties you can't afford. Network with influencers and bring a demo.
8.) Advisors. What technical problems are you going to have? Ask Joe Stump for advice. If there are people you trust out there, give them 1% of your company for them to be on call for any issues you might need advice for. Solid advisors can help you raise cash.
9.) Leverage your user base to spread the word. Think Farmville and Facebook notifications: "so and so, and 2 others have blah blah blah". Who are those two others? Wefollow.com asks you to define yourself with three hashtags. If your friends see it, they will want to be a part of that community since you're using it.
10.) Analyze your traffic. Tons of analytics. Make sure that you act on your feedback.