After about an year of being a Web 2.0 spectator, I’m thinking of getting back into the Web 2.0 “building” biz. Yes, that means a startup. I’m not sure when, although I do have a few ideas floating around in my head but I know it’s going to happen. Well, maybe. Seriously, you will never experience Web 2.0 until you are Web 2.0 which takes some guts and I’ve seen too many people just talking the talk to be one of them.
So, I plan to have a startup by August and get acquired by December. Just kidding. I have no fixed plans as such but yes, if I do have a startup by August (IF), I know the last thing I’ll do is get acquired..again. So anyway, I wanted to make this post to list a few things I’ve learned about Web 2.0 and being a company (just by being a spectator). This is all by merely following this industry and listening to all the things some cool people have to say.
- Interface first, backend second.
- Getting acquired too soon means you have to give up the idea of being the next Google or Yahoo!
- Hire less, do more, make more, in the end share less.
- VCs are bad. They don’t care about you, they just want your acquisition dollars.
Hire the best, start from the worst.Hire the good, make them better.
- Avoid being stereotyped as a typical Web 2.0 company. Seriously, AVOID IT.
- Fill in a niche, but do so differently than other attempts to fill that niche.
- Don’t give up your day-job. Use the money from your day-job to fund your project. Only team up with folks who are willing to do this as well.
- The [acquisition] bubble may burst anytime… so be ready.
- Don’t try desperately to “have a voice” in the industry. If you do, you just look stupid and like a try-hard.
- Keep it simple, yet do the most advanced things. Probably my most important one.
- Keep up with your competitors, but don’t copy them or get inspired by them.
- Don’t spend money promoting your product (and that too in something like Google AdWords). Don’t. You look like one of those spammy companies just looking to make money with their third-class product.
- Keep it as free as possible, but be smart to make money off of the most money-making things. Oh, and decide this from the start.
- Start hiring only when you start making unless you want to declare yourself bankrupt.
- Don’t attend conferences where there is politics. Attend those which will get you more contacts.
- Give what the users want, not what your programmers or designers think is cool.
- Don’t self-promote. You look like a loser.
- Don’t go with the beta tag unless you want to seriously get bashed and stereotyped as a typical Web 2.0 company.
- Talk with your competitors about partnerships, not “you don’t have this feature”.
- Don’t try to act as a cool company which eventually everyone figures out isn’t. Try to act like a smart one which no one bothers to figure out.
As you can see, this list can go on and on (I did have a couple more) but my point is that don’t follow this list. Yes, don’t. Make up your own and follow that. People who follow other peoples’ beliefs are just copy-cats (another point).