Tips on Leading a Startup

How do you lead a startup? In many ways, that’s a crazy-complicated question to answer.

But, watch this short video by Nirvan Mullick, about Caine’s Arcade.

There’s a simple and inspiring message about startup leadership found in this video.

First, do something.

Caine might have been sitting around a bunch of cardboard boxes, bored out of his mind. Or maybe he’s a creative genius born to change the world.  But who cares.  What matters most is that he did something.  He took action. He came up with an idea: build something cool with all these cardboard boxes laying around.

Caine didn’t read Eric Ries’ book on Lean Startups, but he did build a MVP (Minimally Viable Product). He has not learned Steve Blank’s Customer Development Methodology, or worked through Alexander Osterwalder’s Business Model Generation book.  He just did something.

Second, test and refine the product based on your vision.

Maybe it’s a chicken and egg question…Did Caine have a vision first, or start building something first?  My guess is he just started building stuff, with a very basic idea. I wouldn’t call that “a vision.”

Playing around with an idea, AS you build something is the point.  Management professionals often tell you to start with the vision and mission and core values.  Then lay out the strategy.  That makes sense, to some degree, but not for startups.  Maybe Caine came up with a grand vision at some point, or maybe he will.  But that’s beside the point.

Third, be prepared. The harder you work, the luckier you get.

When Caine’s first visitor arrived, Caine had clearly thought things out. He had already tested the product himself.  There had been plenty of iterations in the design.  He even had the little tickets ready to come out of the ticket dispenser.  Important details were incorporated.  And he hadn’t just built one game.  He built an arcade.  He even had his own shirt made!  He was prepared for opportnity.

3.1 Tip: Get Lucky!

Okay, so this is really is the fourth “tip.” And it’s not really a tip.  But it does bring up an important point.  Luck is part of the equation. Nirvan Mullick showed up that day.  He decided to play.  He just happened to be a videographer who knew the power of Reddit and social media.  He believed in Caine, and the bigger story behind Caine. (America needs more entrepreneurs. We need to get back to our roots, be empowered, and do something! The government ain’t bailing us out!)

Bust most importantly, Nirvan Mullick followed Tip #1: He did something!

Are you the leader of a startup?  Are you ready to do these 3.1 things?

  1. Do something!
  2. Test and refine the product or service!
  3. Be prepared. The harder you work, the luckier you get!
  4. (3.1) Get lucky. (Or at least position yourself in such a way as to be lucky.)

If you would like help getting your startup leadership going, send me a note at curt@leadpeople.com. Cheers!

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About Curt Buermeyer

I am the founder and president of LeadPeople. I hope you enjoyed this post and encourage you to subscribe to receive these in your inbox. Thanks for visiting!

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