Working for free is a common practice and even a necessary one at that. Most truly new ideas need true believers to get them into an executable state, let alone a revenue generating state. That only becomes a problem when we start asking others to share that risk, especially those folks who aren’t co-founders.
In business, your leverage in negotiations is directly proportional to your size. When you're a startup, you're freaking tiny. So how do you get a deal done without giving away the company?
Every entrepreneur comes up with simple sales targets soon after figuring out their most basic price point. We can’t help it, it’s what we do. But when it comes time for real sales projections, the math gets murkier. And we’re usually still just throwing random numbers at a wall and hoping they stick.
When I see a working product not selling, it’s usually because the value premise was off from the beginning. What it almost always comes down to is: Does the product have a traceable direct value for the customer?
Last week, I had an email exchange that came through my website from a college student who sort of lucked into a startup founded by one of his friends. He had jumped in at the beginning, and now he's at a crossroads.
I used to hate the Beastie Boys. And I put that half on me and half on them. I was a kid when Licensed to Ill came out of nowhere and was suddenly everywhere. But I wasn’t just any kind of kid, I was a rock snob. A douchey rock snob. That’s on me.
Through the lens of common elements like startup, career, technology, I’m really trying to communicate a higher level of thinking when we think about what we do. And in that, I’m really just hoping to make people’s lives better.