Klaviyo co-founder Ed Hallen’s 3 top tips for launching a startup – MovieUpdates

I’ll tell you a (not-well-kept) secret that probably comes as no surprise to my former bosses: I wanted to be a founder because it sounded a lot more fun than getting a job and having a boss. I’d previously worked at a fast-growing start-up and seen the founders up close, but to say I knew little about what actually went into setting up a company would be an understatement.

Looking back at the past 10 years that my co-founder, Andrew Bialecki, and I have spent building Klaviyo, a unified customer platform, it’s clear how lucky we have been with some of our choices. But it’s also clear that if we’d known more beforehand, we wouldn’t have been lucky with those choices in the first place. And for a founder, less luck means less risk.

In addition to being chief product officer at Klaviyo, I now also have the honor of speaking with many new and hopeful founders. Here are the three pieces of advice I start with:

Identify a problem

It’s generally accepted in the startup world that what you start with is not what you’ll end up with. Slack started as an online game, Facebook started as Facemash, a hot or not for Harvard students, and Apple came into existence as a home computer kit without a case.

This idea is somewhat at odds with the vision of the brilliant founder who relentlessly chases an idea until it becomes reality. It’s also at odds with the reason so many don’t start a business – because they have no idea.

The world (and its problems) is incredibly complicated, and it’s nearly impossible to get a solution just right. Instead, we test and get actual results of what works, and we refine. In science we have a term for this – the scientific method – and successful companies are founded in the same way.

Instead of focusing on telling a story, we found a problem and hit it hard because we knew that if we found enough people with the same problem, we could build a business.

In my opinion, the least risky way for any entrepreneur to start a business is to do what my co-founder and I did. Instead of focusing on telling a story, we found a problem and hit it hard because we knew that if we found enough people with the same problem, we could build a business.

My biggest advice here is to pick an idea where the riskiest parts can be tested to determine if it will work. Fundamentally, the goal is to develop an idea until it becomes a business – a sustainable, profitable entity – so identify an idea that lends itself to evolution.

Reduce risk

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