I interviewed Arun Kumar in 2012 on his experiences bootstrapping Kerika. It’s a long interview but really gives you a sense of his journey as an entrepreneur, his insights into the future of global teams and how they will collaborate, and a candid list of lessons learned. Here are nine key take-aways that he offered in that interview from bootstrapping Kerika since 2002.
Nine Lessons Learned Bootstrapping Kerika
- Don’t spend too much time on market research. After some point, you are not discovering anything new; you are just hearing the same points being rephrased in different ways. Move faster into building your first couple of versions.
- If the feature is really important, it’s not free. Be very careful about what open-source products or libraries you incorporate into your own product.
- Watch users where possible; don’t rely upon them to tell you what they are having difficulties with. People often don’t articulate problems if they think they will look stupid in doing so, and sometimes people don’t even realize what problems they are having. With face-to-face contact and conversation you can find out what people want to achieve, which is often different from what they are complaining about.
- Users will use your product in ways you never considered. That’s a good thing. Even if that particular use case wasn’t the one that you envisioned originally, that’s an opportunity not a problem.
- You can’t push on a string: when you are trying to find your product-market fit, you need to find a use case where someone is pulling on the other end.
- You will almost never fire someone too soon.
- Get all the details right. Concepts are great, but execution is what matters.
- There are no instant successes: every successful company has a revisionist history that makes its founders look unusually brilliant.
- You can fail by misfortune, but are unlikely to succeed by chance.
- Peter Drucker on Why Entrepreneurs Reject Unexpected Success
- Appreciate Why Prospects Say “Your Baby Is Ugly”
- The Best Way to Get Feedback From Early Customers is a Conversation
- Focus On Your Prospect’s Pain Not The Brilliance of Your Product Idea
- Startup Advice in Three Word Doses