Category Archives: founding

stuff related to founding…

Run Wild San Francisco

The first major deadline for Sweat Tracker is fast approaching! We are sponsoring the PR Challenge for a 5K here in San Francisco on 12/1. The concept is pretty simple – sign up for the race, take the challenge, and get a medal on race day if you beat your personal record. We’re also offering online training plans for those who are interested and will host weekly speed workouts. The training plans start on 10/7 and run for 8 weeks.

Today was our first signup for the Challenge!

We’ve been working to get the site ready and can handle signups at this point, but we need to add more functionality to support the online training plans. The pressure is on!

do things that don’t scale

Sweat Tracker started offering training plans to our beta testers on 8/5. After several weeks, one of them casually mentioned how much they were enjoying the program, but noted that we couldn’t possibly provide this level of attention to the whole world.

First, let me say thank you for the compliment!

And second, let me point to this recent blog post by Paul Graham:

A key excerpt is:

You should take extraordinary measures not just to acquire users, but also to make them happy. […] Your first users should feel that signing up with you was one of the best choices they ever made. And you in turn should be racking your brains to think of new ways to delight them.

It seems that we are doing exactly what we should be doing 🙂

We love, love, love our beta testers! They are so dedicated and supportive and they are adding so much value to the final product.

The training plan offering is the most rewarding thing that I have done since starting this venture. I love getting special requests, tweaking training plans, and reading the details of everyone’s daily run! I feel very connected to this group and I want everyone to succeed at their goals.

As a company, we are learning how the plans work, how they should work, and how the people who use them work too. For such a small sample size, we are seeing a wide range of communication styles and we are fine tuning the product to accommodate the specific needs of our users.

Keep training!

Founder Institute

The Founder Institute is an early-stage startup accelerator and global launch network that helps entrepreneurs create meaningful and enduring technology companies. The four month program provides the foundation required for startups to be successful.


Applicants complete a 60 minute predictive admission test to see if they have what it takes to succeed as entrepreneur. Scores on the admission test are kept secret, but they are supposed to correlate very closely to the final rating in the program.

I attended the Silicon Valley Spring 2013 sessions of FI and graduated on July 9th. The experience was very challenging but incredibly worthwhile. Sessions are held once a week and have three main components:

1) Pitch your idea to mentors and get feedback and a rating
2) Listen to presentations by mentors on the topic of the week
3) Network and get more detailed feedback at the bar after class

Between sessions founders spend a significant amount of time on homework assignments. Most of the homework consists of things that you need to do to build your company, so it is time well spent. Founders are assigned to a working group that meets twice a week to provide support on the homework and any issues specific to their company.

To graduate, founders must pass two critical mentor reviews and incorporate a company. Some find that they are not ready to succeed and drop out voluntarily (with the option to come back to a future session at no cost). Others are asked to leave. Our class had 16 graduates out of an initial class of 42. That’s a pretty typical success rate for the program. Here is our graduation photo:


Our class plans to stay in touch after graduation to provide support for the many challenges ahead. We’ll meet as a group once a month and will be in touch individually more frequently than that. Each graduating class participates in a bonus pool which provides a financial incentive for the founders and mentors involved in the class to help graduates succeed.

FI Formula: Great People + Expert Training + Aligned Incentives = Exponentially Better Chance of Success

Sound interesting? Find out more at

Evan Williams

I was listening to some old episodes of This Week in Startups today. There’s a lot of interesting stuff there. But one thing really stood out for me. Evan Williams was asked:

What is it that you’ve learned as an entrepreneur matters? What matters for the young entrepreneurs here who are starting?

His response:

Do something that you really want to exist in the world. Focus on it entirely. Something good will probably come of it.