I came across Copyscape over a discussion at work. Its a tool to detect online plagiarism, i.e. if some else is copying your content on the web. That led me to its founder, Gideon Greenspan‘s website. He has some pretty insightful tips for people people planning a startup. He addresses a few common questions:

  • How Do I Find Good Ideas?
  • Where is the Real Money Online?
  • Does my Startup have “Technology”?
  • What’s the Point of Investors?
  • Tips for Killer Websites

Paul Graham’s talk at Startup School 2007. Some notes I jotted down..

The Anatomy of Reluctance (why people hesitate to start a startup)

1) You are too young. Two techniques adults use to judge whether the other person is an adult.
a) Check whether the other person has a “kid’s flake” reflex. When things get hard “I cant do it..can you do it for me”.
b) How does the person respond to challenges by the adult. Kid recognizes adults dominant position or do they rebel and argue when something is imposed upon them

2) Too inexperienced. Gain experience by committing mistakes while “starting a startup”.

3) Not very determined..determination is the single biggest factor to a startups success.

4) Not smart enough..not a problem. Opportunities for everybody.

5) Dont understand business..understanding business is not the hard part. Building a good product is the hard part. What matters is how good you are at building things.

6) No cofounder. Real Problem. No investor who would not prefer to invest in a company with a co founder. Preferably one you know and trust

7) You have no idea. Most investors say “Its not the idea its the team”. Brief recipe for ideas..whats missing in your life. No matter how specific it is to you..its a better source of ideas than some hypothetical need. Steve Wozniak build computer for himself..didnt know whether it would be useful to others.

8 ) No room for more startups : Fallacy. Google buys companies because they are valuable. As long as you are creating valuable things..you are good.

9) Have a family to support. Would not advice you to start a startup.

10) Already have enough money..

11) You have a need for structure. Dont start a startup..probably dont work for one either. In a good startup..no one tells another what to do. Everyone end up doing the right thing at the correct time.

12) Fear of uncertainty. Reasonable way to tackle this..expect the worse (startup going to fail) hope for the best. Atleast will be interesting.

13) You dont realize what you are avoiding. Corporate jobs can be boring. Startups offer you something interesting and of your liking to work on. Motivated to work harder.

14) Parents want you to be a doctor. Parents are conservative on behalf of their kids. Risk is always proportionate to awards. So protecting them from risks keeping them away from awards. Traditional opinion of doctors being rich and prestigious.

15) A job is a default. Need money = get a job. Wasnt true 100 years ago..it was farming. Opinions change with times.