Walking/Running: Putting One Foot After The Other

Idea leuconoe 2Image via WikipediaDoing a tech startup is a lot like walking and running. You put one foot after another. And you can't do that unless you have a very good idea of where you are at a given point in time and where it is you want to go. Both those angles are important.

If you are just starting out, you can't act like you are in a position to hire 10 people. I have gone to events and met amazing people and I have told them I'd love to hire them. True, I'd love to, but right now I can't afford those 10 amazing people.

So the right thing to do would be to not look for amazing people to hire, right? Wrong. I could hire those 10 amazing people in my round two, which might happen in as much as six months, eight months, a year, or as little as four months after the first round of money is raised.

The right people will understand the language. I have talked to two major social media talents about my round two possibilities. And both of them took me seriously. The talk is informal, private, off the record, there is no concrete offer. But it's real.

Unless you can make those projections, you can't raise venture capital money. You can't hire the best people. A big reason I made the leap from the idea of non profit microfinance to for profit microfinance was so as to be able to hire the very best people down the line.

If you are a zero billion dollar company, you have to act like one from day one. But you do have to be respectful of the delicate quality of the baby steps you have to take early on.

I am a huge fan of below market rate salaries. The early people have to really believe in you, really, really believe in the vision. Or you are going to end up making lemonade. People who are not comfortable with below market rate salaries are obviously thinking the equity is not worth zit.
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