Bart Stein’s five startup lessons from the company he sold to Yahoo!

Though Bart Stein is no longer part of a startup, he has plenty of advice to share from his experience founding one. In early 2011, he and his co-founder began building Stamped, a mobile app that aimed to show users meaningful recommendations made by their friends. Less than a year after lauching the app, the

Though Bart Stein is no longer part of a startup, he has plenty of advice to share from his experience founding one. In early 2011, he and his co-founder began building Stamped, a mobile app that aimed to show users meaningful recommendations made by their friends. Less than a year after lauching the app, the company was acquired by Yahoo!

Stein and other Stamped team members now work for Yahoo!, where he’s the product manager for emerging products and technologies. At our Big Kansas City event last week, Stein shared his top five lessons from running a startup.

“These five lessons may be counterintuitive.”

Before sharing his lessons, Stein cautioned the audience that his advice may buck conventional wisdom.

1. Don’t hire rockstars: “You want someone who comes through under pressure,” Stein said. Rockstars may not always be the hardworking team players you need to grow your business.

2. You can’t execute your way out of a bad idea: “Everyone talks about 90 percent execution, 10 percent idea. It’s really closer to 50/50.” Stein said all successful startups must have a good idea at their core.

3. Be urgent: Startups have the advantage that “the sky is falling.” In other words, they have to produce results or die. Large companies often don’t have this level of urgency. Stein advised startups to hire quickly and respond promptly to communications.

4. Working hard does not equal hard work: Stein said it’s not about being at the office until 2 a.m. It’s about doing the hard jobs, such as crafting a one-sentence statement about your product, or having a five-minute conversation with an investor.

5. Ignore everyone’s advice: In the end, the people working at a startup are the only people who truly understand its needs. “You’re a company that’s doing something no one has ever done before. It’s very hard for someone to actually understand what you’re doing and give you relevant advice,” Stein said. If it’s never been done, there is no template to follow.

Big Kansas City is a two-and-a-half-day event that aims to inspire, educate and celebrate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the heart of the Midwest. Produced by Silicon Prairie News, it’s part of the Big Series, the nation’s most ambitious events on innovation and entrepreneurship.

 

Credits: Video by Quadrant5. Snippet photo by Kenny Johnson Photography.


The Big Kansas City Video Series is presented by NIC, Inc.

NIC Inc. is the nation’s leading provider of official government portals, online services, and secure payment processing solutions. The company’s innovative eGovernment services help reduce costs and increase efficiencies for government agencies, citizens, and businesses across the country.

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