There are a lot of guides and blog posts for founders that provide advice on what to do as a leader of an early-stage startup. But not as many highlight what not to do in those initial days building the next great unicorn.
Some people say “the product manager is the CEO of your product” – and if you believe that, it is remarkable how often we give that responsibility to people with very minimal experience and vision, and how quick a leader may be to give this responsibility away. So that’s my lesson here – be very careful for just assuming product management is any other business role. It’s the most important thing ever. Your customer is going to care about what you make, not your executive team (unless they are obviously jerks).
The market is a bit all over the place, not everyone fully agrees on what’s happening, and certainly a number of financings are still happening. But the pullback is real and already starting to show in the data.
It’s not enough to be a go-getting entrepreneur with a fabulous idea. Before investors will channel their hard-earned finances into your idea, they’ll expect to see proof that it actually works. Investors want to be sure they’ll eventually be rewarded with a healthy return on their investment. If you go into a pre-seed round with nothing to offer but an intriguing pie-in-the-sky opportunity, you’ll be guaranteed to leave the round empty handed.