how (and when) to start a startup?

Over the past year or so, I've had about five startup ideas, with lots of spinoff and sub-ideas. I dutifully log them, mentally putting them in an "ideas for later" bin.  I want to finish my graduate program, since several of the ideas are related to my research, and my advisor has said that founding a startup wouldn't be totally incompatible with graduate school.  I'm lucky that I have that kind of flexibility.  At the same time, though, that seems like a tricky line to walk, and my program is destined to take about another four years.

So it becomes a game of risk evaluation.  What are the best ways to go about founding startups?  What are the greatest risks and most common mistakes?  How do you find good, dedicated, and trustworthy teammates?  How do you evaluate your ideas?  (I love you Mom, but you think that almost everything I come up with is a good idea.)  How likely is it for a given idea to succeed?  How do you decide when the time is right?  How far do you jump in?


Petra said...

No advice or anything, but can I please come work for you when you do found your startup?

ajbc said...

Absolutely! As I said, part of the trick is finding good people.

If you (or anyone else reading this) is seriously interested, I'd love to talk about ideas and strategies.

Lucas Sanders said...

I'm totally interested in discussing your ideas and/or the more general startup issues you mentioned.

Immediate reaction: You probably don't want to start one of your current ideas in four years -- other people are probably having similar ideas now, and they won't all wait for you to get out of grad school. The flip side of this, of course, is that you'll have new startup ideas to consider in four years.

As for people, I suggest you want to look hard at what your team will need to do to build a business around your idea, then look for people who you respect intellectually and who you can work with effectively through thick and thin, especially folks whose strengths match your weaknesses in that list of business needs. Also, closer geographical proximity is better.

Assuming you're talking about a software/technology startup, I recommend reading some of Paul Graham's essays if you haven't already.

mom said...

Ling to hard I can't comment on any good ideas

mom said...


Jodie said...

There are companies that do market analysis for you (thus figuring out what kind of chances your "idea" has, writing a business plan for you and hooking you up w/ investors). Try've heard they are great. Good luck!