“When fundraising, optimize for people first, terms second and financials (raise, valuation etc) third” – Pratilipi Founder, Ranjeet on Startup Lessons Learned

Thread of some the most important lessons I have learnt over the last few years. Disclaimer; Most of the points may be obvious or even useless in your context, read them all but focus on the ones that make sense to you. <0>
If you have a choice, almost always choose to work with folks where you don’t have to watch your back. The peace of mind you get is worth a lot more than incremental gain in salary, valuation, role etc. <1>
Hire a compliance / finance person and an internal recruiter sooner rather than later (almost always in the first 20 hires). The first saves you from the unknown unknowns and the second gives you significant leverage <2>
When fundraising optimize for people first, terms second and financials (raise, valuation etc) third <3>
Learn and internalize the power of incentives. As one example; (most) investors would have a portfolio, you (usually) have a single company and that changes (understandably) how you prioritize and make decisions. <4>
There will always be things which are not working. Most are not worth worrying about. Focus only on fires which are worth dowsing and delegate (or just live with) all the other fires. <5>
If you can, get involved with other founders. Ideally those just a couple of steps ahead of you. In general, they are the closest to facing similar problems and uncertainties and can give most actionable advice. <6>
Long term is the only thing that really matters (the magic of compounding), but to be able to see the long term, you have to survive in the short term. Hat tip @naren_nexus <7>
Momentum is the life blood of startups, once you have it, try everything you can to sustain it. Celebrate small wins, make some suboptimal decisions, spend a little extra money / time if that is what it takes to sustain the momentum. <8>
Learn and internalize that people are different. They have different motivations, different aspirations, different priorities, and different perspectives. Not necessarily better or worse, just different. <9>
One of the highest leverage things you can do in a system (or a team / company) is to cut through all the bullshit and just find and solve for the bottlenecks. <10>
Differentiate between exploration problems and optimization problems. In the early days of a startup / new role, don’t even bother about optimization problems just focus on the key exploration problems. <11>
Learn and internalize that life is a long, multi-turn, multi-player game. It is almost always better to be fair and generous and wherever possible only work with people who are fair and generous. <12>
Be aggressive in scenarios which have asymmetric returns i.e. capped downside but unlimited (or very, very high) upside. <13>
Learn to be self-aware, crystalize what really matters to you and what you are willing to give up for achieving it. Life is about trade-offs, you can either consciously make them or they will randomly happen any way. <14>
Most progress (and success) in life comes from repetition (the magic of compounding). Do the boring work, again and again and again. Don’t run behind every shiny new thing that comes across. <15>
Never go in to a negotiation without knowing your alternatives and your walk away points. Otherwise you are not negotiating, you are hoping that you get lucky. Hoping to get lucky is not a good strategy. <16>
Almost everything in life has an element of luck involved, almost everything is probabilistic and 50,000 fucked up shades of grey. It is okay. Focus on things in your control, focus on your strengths, focus on what matters to you, forget about everything else <17 and end>

Sign Up for nextbigwhat newsletter

The smartest newsletter, partly written by AI.

Download Pluggd.in, the short news app for busy professionals