I love Paul Graham’s essays. He consistently posts excellent thoughts on start-ups. I was
reading his recent post about Determination, when I started across some of his older posts.
Note: I just noticed some of the formatting is messed up. I’ll fix it later.
1. Pick good cofounders.
I couldn’t be happier with my co-founders - @Spinosa and @JoeYevoli, and our first key employees @patrickohearn and
@nromeo. Passionate, determined, intelligent. I love my team.
2. Launch fast.
In the last year, we’ve launched launched multiple versions of HomeField with a complete
re-writing of the application this summer. We’ve also built two other beta products.
Paul’s right. You don’t really start working until you’ve launched.
3. Let your idea evolve.
HomeField has drastically changed since our initial concepts. We don’t say yes to every
feature request, but we listen to our user feedback and use it to evolve HomeField accordingly.
4. Understand your users.
We love user feedback, but sometimes it’s not exactly clear. Users don’t know what’s
possible technically, but they know how they work and we look at that and see how we can simplify and streamline the entire process. We're proud of the changes
we’ve made in HomeField 2.0, like scrapping scouting reports for discussions and allowing
document and image uploading.
5. Better to make a few users love you than a lot ambivalent.
Totally agree here. We’re big fans of Seth Godin here as well, and the idea is to make a
core group of people really love your product first, then allow them to spread the product for you. So far, it's working. And to those early users,
6. Offer surprisingly good customer service.
I grew up in my family's restaurant. It's a fine-dining establishment, and great customer service is one of our best qualities. We try to
mimic that here at Overtime Media and we try to make ourselves perosnally available to all
of our users. It's easier at the beginning, but we are committed to maintaining the
highest level of service as we scale.
7. You make what you measure.
We figured this one out recently, and we've started acquiring customers without any effort on our part. The viral
nature of HomeField is taking effect and we are working ahrd to continue this trend.
8. Spend little.
My mom is an immigrant and my dad is a chef. My mom only spends money when she
gets a deal; my dad refuses to pay retail for food. By nature, I’ve been raised to be cheap, and I only spend money when it's absolutely necessary. Funny thing is, my dad
recently called me "cheap!“ I know this goes for my co-founders, too. It’s what has helped
us survive this long on seed money.
9. Get ramen profitable.
We're still working towards this. We've got some early revenues, and a LOT of potential in our
business model. I can't wait to get Ramen profitable… then move on to pizza profitable.
10. Avoid distractions.
This one has been tough, and I am personally guilty of it - by keeping a bartending job throughout our start - but it's afforded me the cash to avoid taking a salary from our precious seed money. It is a
distraction, and it's tough to get up early after a long night behind the bar, but when you love
what you do, it's all worth it. Plus, I'm confident that I won't be behind the bar too much longer.
11. Don’t get demoralized.
Luckily, long careers in competitive sports have taught us how to cope with this. I've had some demoralizing losses in my life as a lacrosse player,
but that never stopped me from playing.
12. Don’t give up.
I love this. Giving up is the easy way out. Not for us. We realized that our business is
going to changedramatically. That we are going to have a lot of ups and downs, but if we
persist and evolve, we will be successful.
13. Deals fall through.
Yeah. We’ve had some deals fall through. It happens. Just like in sports, your
opponents are going to score some goals - but if you stay focused and keep working, you’re
going to win in the end.