A WSJ blog post by Deborah Gage titled: Skype Founder to Students: Dont Follow the Obvious Path is the most insightful advice on creating a successful start-up I have encountered in quite some time. The talk was given by Skype Founder Niklas Zennstrom to a group of Stanford MBA students, but provided insight for any entrepreneur.
A bullet-point list of the highlights are as follows:
- Perseverance – Skype video calling was the third iteration of the business based on trial and error.
- Counter-intuitive – In order to be successful you have to bring something unique to the market. Few people will tell you your baby is ugly.
- Raising Capital is Hard – Little left to be said until you’ve tried it yourself.
- Hiring the Right People is Difficult – Few other factors have as big an impact.
- Timing – You can get all the above right and if timing is off, you go nowhere.