4 Time Myths Entrepreneurs Get Wrong

Oct 25, 2012
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Entrepreneurs will get this wrong as Lance Armstrong did which is to finish quick and dirty. You can’t afford to work as hard as you do if you miss key concepts about time. What do you think your start-up needs more? A massive twitter following? Likes on Facebook? User acquisition due yesterday? How you value your time reveals how you value your goals.

Put simply, sowing and reaping is going to take time. It doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, if it’s in the wrong direction you’re not going anywhere. Impatience comes from a sense of entitlement, which in the long run creates major setbacks to acquire the necessary skill sets for growing a healthy start-up.

Burnout is Start-up Suicide

Don’t be fooled by time-zones, that’s an illusion created by a silly Italian named Quirico Filopanti. There are 40 worldwide time-zones, entrepreneurs need 80. It’s not fair for you or your customers that you’re growing at 1-3 man pace. A way to avoid burnout is to maximize social capital which is the value of having qualified, passionate, and supportive people in your team. iOS and Android are the most quickly adapted technologies in history, making Facebook the winner of social networks on the mobile-platform. Facebook had to scale at a set pace to make it or break it in 2009.

Over the long run we’re going to see more monetization per time spent on mobile than on desktop

 

– Mark Zuckerberg

The Entrepreneur Career Myth

There is no greater burden than social conformity which drives and nurtures corporate culture. Whether you’re in a law firm wearing a black tie and suit, or an IT consultant troubleshooting in a hierarchical environment (i.e.- not an egalitarian utopia), your career largely depends on how well you adhere to the rules, not on how masterfully you bend them. That said, a seasoned engineer or partner will have traveled a much different path than an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs will have to be excellent in many categories not just the clearly defined ones that fit under a comfortable job title. Examine how your start-up will influence your career and operate accordingly. You want to develop yourself while equally devoting time to the development your product.

Limited Viability Product Hype

Feedback is part of the lure of releasing a product early. User engagement whether negative or positive smooths out the cracks in a prototype better than drafting hypothetical plans. In July 2011, Gawker released a story on peer-to-peer currency, Bitcoin. Following a Tsunami of users, the start-up couldn’t handle the volume and was vulnerable to cyber attack compromising the trust of its users. If matters couldn’t get any worse, a few months later, there was an glaringly large sum of $250,000 worth of bitcoins completely missing. If your start-up has personal user information, not just twitter and Facebook account synchronization but credit card data, you can’t afford releasing an LVP that compromises a secure digital infrastructure.

Everyone Wants Bitcoins After Learning They Can Buy Drugs With Them

One-Night Stands with Users

Start-ups are very easily seduced by consumers especially with a fashionable or innovative brand identity. Taking the time to get to know yourself and your fans can differentiate you between the crash-and-burn start-ups and the more stable start-ups. Understanding consumer behavior is like being in a relationship, who are you and how have either of you changed?

QuadrantChart EngagementRetentionStats ByCategory resized 600

Last year iOS and Android applications in-app purchase and advertising revenue made up 18% of profits.  We have now reached a billion smartphone users in 2012- that’s 1 in 7 globally. The 2012 forecast in smartphone advertising revenue is 60% over the previous year, reaching $8.7 billion.  Advertising is the fastest growing category from $980 million in 2011 to $2 billion in 2012.

News Games Retail-Fashion/Music (excluding flash sales) Reference
Level of Engagement Slow but Loyal High usage but Seasonal Regular and Loyal Regular but Seasonal
Revenue model Advertising; Subscription fee Premium fees Free app In-app additional functionality fees
Every user is unique but in an aggregate pool his/her behavior becomes less so.  Adjust engagement accordingly so that users value the time and money investment with the product. If users want to ‘marry’ you and not just ‘fool around’ then releasing privileged content and reinforcing loyal behavior is a good start. However, if users need just one download and they’re satisfied– feel free to release constant updates and reinforce binge usage.