Top Ten Geek Business Myths

October 3rd, 2006 by Hugh

Ron Garret, a Venture Capitalist, has written up his Top Ten Geek Business Myths. He says the following are classic mistakes. Which ones are Exbiblio making?

  1. A brilliant idea will make you rich.
  2. If you build it they will come. (i.e. customers).
  3. Someone will steal your idea if you don’t protect it.
  4. What you think matters.
  5. Financial models are bogus.
  6. What you know matters more than who you know.
  7. A Ph.D. means something.
  8. I need $5 million to start my business.
  9. The idea is the most important part of my business plan.
  10. Having no competition is a good thing.

Special bonus myth (free with your paid subscription): After the IPO I’ll be happy.

I don’t think Exbiblio is guilty of the last two ‘mistakes’, including the special bonus. As for 1-8, well I’m not quite so sure…

3 Responses to “Top Ten Geek Business Myths”

  1. Adam Says:

    How about the following myth: “VC’s always know best”
    (just a joke… I luv ya VC’s!) 😉

  2. Adam Says:

    OK, I thought I’d leave a more serious comment today. These are my own thoughts and may or may not be the “Exbiblio” position. I’d encourage others from Exbiblio to give their own thoughts too.

    To point 1, an entrepreneurial friend and I were discussing this myth a few months back. He said that brilliant ideas are a dime a dozen and that the difference between good companies and bad ones is execution. We agreed that we want our personal careers to be marked by the world class execution of good ideas, not just by the generation of good ideas.

    To point 2, this statement almost always false. To be honest, I’m concerned that Exbiblio may be underestimating the importance and challenges of getting the word out about our product. Even word of mouth needs quite a few mouths to begin the process.

    3 — no comment

    4 — huh? Maybe the myth is supposed to be “what customers think or want doesn’t matter” if that is it, then I agree, this is a common and dangerous myth that sneaks into startup thinking. But, of course it matters in general what we think and how we behave.

    5 — Exbiblio seems to be slowly but surely getting its ducks in a row here. Not that we are done yet, but the fact that we are discussing financial matters on the blog alongside technology matters I think says something about the growing importance of financial planning in our organization.

    6 — no comment

    7 — PhD means something, but not everything. So does having lots of money, or an MBA, or a successful track record. It means something, but not everything.

    8 — I’ve never believed this, but I suppose it depends on the kind of business you want to start.

    9 — See my comment in #1

    10 — I think competition and an ecosystem are good for everyone involved. In my opinion, part of the reason for this blog and our openness about the project is to stimulate innovation, discussion, and participation in the world paper / digital convergence.

    (bonus) — I’ve personally never bought into this myth. IPO is not something we talk about much around here, at least relative to other startups I have been a part of in the past.

  3. Hugh Says:

    My biggest concern is that Exbiblio is falling into the trap of Number 2 – # If you build it they will come. (i.e. customers). Otherwise, I think it’s fine to hold your ideas and your product to be very important, but if you don’t have a way to put your your product in front of the customers, then nobody is going to buy it.

    Certainly, that $5 million figure in number 8 is a bit spooky. It’s roughly what Exbiblio is spending. The original post adds: “Unless you’re building hardware (in which case you should definitely rethink what you’re doing)”. Exbiblio is, of course, building hardware, rather against its original intentions.