Bootstrapping Like a Boss, Oussama Ammar, Partner at TheFamily

By | September 11, 2019


So, today we will talk about
Bootstraping vs Fundraising. And I have a very simple question first, Everybody is familiar with
the term Bootstrapping or not? Like who is aware
of what Bootstrapping means? Ok. So for everyone else, I will just give a quick definition and then we will
get deep into it. But, the idea of bootstrapping
is the fact that when you build your company, you don’t necessarily need
external funding. And because of that, there is an opposition between
bootstrapping a company, meaning making a company grow only using the own revenue
of the company, vs fundraising that means
attracting external investors to grow faster
and to become big faster. So…There are a lot
of bootstrapped companies that have been bootstrapped
for a very long time, that became big
as a bootstrapped company, that I’m sure
you’re not aware of. One of the few very famous
examples is Github, Github bootstrapped until
getting to the 1 billion valuation mark. When they fundraised
for the first time, it was at 1 billion valuation. So, to say how big it was, Appsumo, a smaller company, I don’t know if
you all know Appsumo, but it’s a tips and tricks company that sells things online. It’s a company where
you can get discounts for online services,
things like that. Mailchimp… A subscription company
that sells mail servers to help you manage
your newsletters, things like that… Still, until now
a bootstrapped company, Braintree, 99 Designs… and of course, BestCamp,
WeWork… And all of this movement,
of companies. What is interesting with this list
is that none of them has been a bootstrap
consulting company. So, one of the things
that is very common in the USA is to say that the way
to bootstrap a company is to do consulting
at the beginning, to provide services
instead of products, and use that service money, to develop your own product
and your own R&D, and get to a point where you are comfortable enough
so you can switch to a one hundred percent
product model. That’s a very common
bootstrap strategy, but it’s not the only one. There are bootstrapped companies
that had the luck to have founders that can live
off money for a long time and get to a point where
they are comfortable enough, so they can launch their product. And launching their product
at that time was getting revenue
on day one, and making it profitable
very fast. I’m not talking today
so much about the consulting strategy, because to be honest
I have the feeling that trying to be
a consultant, to get money and get
a product to the second step, never, never works. There are few exceptions
for that, of course. There are always exceptions, but on a big macro view, most of the time
they end up bad, and for very simple reasons. The first reason
is that it’s hard to stay focused when you have clients. So, what is the problem
with consulting strategy? It’s that your clients will need a lot and lot
of custom things. And so, you know
how it works, everybody says “oh I will
develop something custom, and it will become
used by everyone.” And custom becomes
so customized, that at the end no one
can use it, only the client. You end up becoming
their service provider. And it takes you out
so much energy, and big clients are so good
at that, taking energy
out of small things, that you end up dead
before knowing that things were going wrong. So that’s not to say that there are no service companies
that can be built, that are big,
profitable, good… There are lots of ways
to build lots of businesses. What interests us here is about building
product companies. Companies that scale,
companies that reach a level where they are self sustainable, and that doesn’t come
from a service company or a consulting company. One of the things
I want to say first, is that…One of the things
I want to say first is that bootstrapping
is hard, and you will see
why it’s hard. Of course, if you have
the opportunity to fundraise a lot of money very easy, It will always be nicer
to have all these means in hand rather than bootstrapping
your company, The experience of bootstrapping
a company, specially at the beginning,
is very very rewarding. Because, there is no greater pleasure than feeling that people
will pay for what you do. There is a lot and lot
of pleasure that entrepreneurs don’t get
at the beginning because they don’t
understand it. But having a client
that is happy with the product is something extraordinary because you can fundraise… but fundraisers are like
cheap drugs. You go high, very fast.
You go down faster and for a simple reason. It’s not because you fundraised
that you proved something. Of course, it’s an important step. Of course, it’s important. And it can be useful. But it doesn’t mean anything, You can fundraise and bankrupt,
you can fundraise and succeed. You can fundraise and go flat,
and you wonder why you fundraised. For example, we have a company
at TheFamily, they fundraised and never
used a euro of the fundraising. And not because
they are very profitable, but because they never made money
and never lost money. I think it’s one of the most
horrible situations you can be in. It’s kind of the walking dead zone. You are not alive,
but you’re not dead. You don’t know what
happened to you, you don’t have any idea of how to spend
the money you’ve fundraised. That kind of situation
can be very hard. On the other end,
when you have a company that have growing
revenue numbers, it’s very impactful
on everybody. Because it makes
employees happy, it makes shareholders happy, it makes everyone inside the company
and around you happy. There is this feeling that everyone will believe that what you are doing
will be here for a long time. It will not just be this
short term experiment, and this is why bootstrapping
is so good for your company. Also, you have to understand
that building a company that is successfully bootstrapped, is one of the best ways
to negotiate hard with investors. Bootstrapping a company
doesn’t mean that you will never fundraise. It just means that the day
you will be able to fundraise, you will do it on your own terms, and you will do it
having the power on your side. Let’s talk a little bit
about that, I think that you can read
a thousand of articles on fundraising, But, in every fundraising
tip in the articles, we should write
a disclaimer at the start. That disclaimer could look like that: if you are a company with huge traction, huge revenue and huge attraction
from everyone, that advice applies… If you are a sucker
and no one wants your company, forget everything that is written below, and just try to fundraise in
whatever terms. The reality is that
there is no such thing as negotiation,
if you don’t have leverage. If you go and say
“look, I don’t have traction, I dont have user,
I dont have revenue. But my idea is incredible
and so I need a lot of money.” People can believe you, they can believe
that actually it’s great. That you’re incredible
but you’ll be in their own terms. Because they will be
the only ones to believe it, because it will never never be
something like a consensual opinion. You will always find
people that agree, and people that disagree. In America we say
money talks, and I love that expression because it comes down
to something very simple. If you have a company
that is successful early, that gets real users,
real traction, real revenue, you’re in a position where
you own your own destiny. You can choose you own terms,
you can choose you own rules. You can decide
what is acceptable, and what is not. And you are in a position where
you don’t have to accept things you are uncomfortable with. Because you have
the leverage of infinity, and leverage of infinity
is very powerful. At any moment you can
step way from the table and say “I don’t feel
well with your terms, so I will not fundraise. Thank you very much
and see you later.” There is nothing more powerful
than saying that to someone that wants to invest in you. Because, he will do whatever
he needs to do to get inside your deal,
and that will be a cool thing. Of course, bootstrapping a company
means for a lot of people that they will start with nothing. And that’s what is hard with the exercise of starting
with nothing. I think you’re not
a lucky generation. In my time, not too long ago, twelve years ago,
when people started companies, we didn’t have something
like TechCrunch or, I don’t know which press
that talks all day long about the fundraising of everyone. And you know, our biggest
problem at TheFamily is that every single entrepreneur
that enters TheFamily always has the same first question. “I need to fundraise and I wonder
how you can help us.” And our answer is always the same, “we dont help with fundraising,
we are not a fundraiser, and I’m so sorry for you, there is no
chance to fundraise.” And lots of people find that harsh and don’t understand our value because they’re like “Oh, if you can’t help
to fundraise, what are you about?” And the question is why do they think that? And they think that because they have the feeling that
the story of an entrepreneur is “I got an idea, I fundraise, I use that money and I become successful.” You know that story that you read all day long, in every article, in every press, and why
do we tell this story? Because it’s easy to write. Lots of clicks and lots of shares. For example, TheFamily
fundraised 2 weeks ago, and we said that on TechCrunch. So the truth is that
we fundraised last June. So, we were like
“oh it will be cool, we are doing things in English, let’s make some PR
let’s say we fundraise. Let’s make it public.” So first thing, 2,000 shares, 600,000 views
on the article, and the article took
maybe 15 minutes to be written. Yes, TheFamily fundraised,
we are cool. There is some skepticism
but it will be great. And everybody liked,
clicked, shared, and you don’t imagine
how many people we don’t like send us email. Like, all the people we hate, that don’t like TheFamily,
they write to us. “Congratulations,
we are so proud of you.” And we were like
“yeah you are so proud”. In my list: no email for 2 years
and email when we fundraise. And you know, I’m not talking about, every ex-boyfriend of Alice
that pin her back, I’m not talking about mine. Etc. The fundraising has this instantaneous,
magical moment on people, but, it’s vanity. Because the truth is that
the fundraising announcement is already spent at TheFamily. Everybody imagines that we have
6 millions on the bank account and actually everything
is already spent. It never gives you a real view of where the company is,
where the company is heading, and what will be the next step. It’s just storytelling, and it’s just put you in a situation
where you believe that’s the story. And the problem
is that everybody lies. The first rule you learn
as an entrepreneur is that in the press, you should never never
say what’s real. You should always say
what people want to hear. I will give you an example, let’s say you’re an entrepreneur, you start with an idea,
that idea isn’t very good, you make a product, no one comes. You do a pivot, a first pivot, a second pivot
a third pivot, and you broke up
with your founder, and start something new
with someone new. And because you have
a lot of determination, three years later down the road, you end up doing something that got some traction,
and some fundraising. And the journalist
come and ask you “How did you get that idea?”, The wrong answer would be like “Yes, so 3 years ago, I wanted to do a startup
with that guy, but we broke up.” And you will tell
all the story. The right answer would be “You know, a month ago
we had this vision for the world and we thought there
was a problem to solve. And we did it and instantly
we were a great success, and we are so happy for that. We are looking forward
to the next step.” That’s the good answer. Is it too lame, is it shameful, that we are all like that?
Of course, maybe. We are not here to talk
about human nature. We are here to talk about
what is an efficient way to be a good entrepreneur. And as a good entrepreneur, You should only focus
on what is great about you and everything else should be
totally hidden. But the problem, the kind of
perverse effect that it has on people, is that everyone in this room
believes what is written in the press. And you look at it
and you benchmark yourself, and you make the biggest mistake that everyone does. It’s to compare your inside to the outside of others. I think there is not a biggest mistake
that people can do about how they make decisions, than looking at others and saying: “that guy, after 3 months
he fundraised 6 million.” And everybody internally knows that it actually took 5 years
and it was horrible, a lot of work. But of course, that’s not the story we would say. Because that’s not
a story that sells. People forget that the biggest quality
of an entrepreneur is the capacity of starting from nothing. And to start from nothing,
he needs a lot of methods. And if you look at every great
true story of entrepreneurs, it’s people that are ready
to do impossible things and to make it happen.
So how do you do that? The first thing is that,
again… like everything in entrepreneurship, you need to divide your space horizons between being
pre-product market fit, and post-product market fit. And the first step as an entrepreneur is to reach product market fit. It’s to reach a level
where you have the certitude that what you are doing is useful, great value, people love it, enough quality, ready to sell. and that typical point moment where you feel
that you can be all in. So in that first phase, if you compare, you know, there is always
this article that says “You should be cheap
with your startup.” And few blog post later, it’s like “oh you should spend
as much as you can.” Ok, so… It doesn’t make sense. And actually again,
you need a disclaimer. You need a disclaimer
at the start of the articles, saying this article
is intended to be read only by people that reach
product market fit. And it would help, people would be like,
“ok It’s not for me. I didn’t reach that.” So they would not read
this kind of crazy articles, saying you should go all in, and what should be advised, before product market fit. The advice is very simple,
be cheap. Be as cheap as you can. Even if you have
a little bit of money. The best advice
we always give entrepreneurs, is “don’t use it.” Yesterday I saw a young project, they are lucky enough
to have a family with means, and they each received
150 thousands to start the project, So they had a personal budget
of 300 thousands to start the project. And my first advice was
“wire back the money or put it on a saving account, and forget it exists”. Because, do you know what would happen? It’s that they would spend
the 300 thousands making mistakes, and when they would have learned, it would be like “Oh, now we know
where we need the money.” And they would have no money left. And that is what happens
with every budget of entrepreneurs at the beginning. They have a budget,
and it’s called a mistake budget. And the mistake
cannot be done for free. At the time when you are learning, and the time when
you are making mistakes, just do it for free. And to do that
and to achieve that, you need to understand
that it’s a force, it’s a strength to have all this power without money. Because, being without money creates a lot of creativity. It creates a situation
where you will be forced to use your imagination
to solve problems, and you will never spend
money that you don’t have. So, you will always
be forced to find hacks and tricks and things that
otherwise you would not have to do. The very famous
story about that, unfortunately, it’s not a true story,
but you know… Never give any fact or opportunity to kill a good story. The incredible story about that
is during the space race, America vs Soviet Union. And you know, the first men going to space discovered that you cannot write
with a pen in space because you need gravity
so the ink can go down. That’s how a pen is built. During that time, in the meanwhile, Nasa has spent a lot of money using a tape recorder
sending back to earth, people wrote down notes
and sent packets of note in space. And they did spend lots of R&D to build a pen that works in space. And now you can go
into Nasa shops and buy that pen. During that time
Soviet Union was using pencil. Because, pencils work in space. Actually, that’s not exactly the story, but there is a truth behind it. They didn’t really
record things in space, but they really developed
a pen that works in space. And they never thought
about using a pencil. Why? Because too much budget. And having too much budget
makes you stupid. I know it’s counterintuitive, I know that everyone thinks
that the problems can be solved by money. But actually, a real good test to know if you’re
an entrepreneur or not, is to be like
“ok I don’t have any money, what can I do?” Another example of that
that I find fascinating is the first Apple computer. You know Apple II, Apple I, Steve Wozniak. He built the computer
in his garage. Building the computer in the garage, at that time, was like… If someone here says “I will build a spaceship
in my garage.” It will be the same. But the funny thing is that
they discovered so many ideas and hacks and things that have been used
at Apple for years, because they did not have money. And not having money
creates the necessity of creativity. And if you cannot reach that level where
you solve your problem, you are failing at the first
entrepreneurial test, and you should
be honest with yourself, and tell yourself
« If I cannot start something without anything, it’s maybe because
I’m not the kind of people that starts something. » And you should be worried about your need
for money that is important. No one needs money to start. You can need money to grow, you can need money
to change step. You can need money
to change your timeframe instead of taking 5 years to succeed. Money will help you succeed in 1 year. But money should not prevent you from working on and moving on. It’s very important to understand that money is just a tool,
and it can be useful, but it’s not a necessity. One of the things that
is very important to establish is that you need to be
very saving oriented. A lot of things can be saved
if you are smart, and a lot of things can be get
at that level, that otherwise you would not get. Let’s talk about
a counterintuitive thing. At the beginning of TheFamily
it was so easy to hire. You know why? Because no reputation
and no money. If you look at every single
early employee at TheFamily, they are the best
employees we have. You know why? Because they came
for something really pure. They came because
they saw something that no one else saw. Because they came
before it was famous, before being in TechCrunch, before the fundraising, before the videos on Youtube.
Before everything. So their only attraction was a deep love for the mission, and a deep love for what we do. And because at that time
we did not have any money, we did not pay them, and of course, not for a long time, because, we could not
stay like that forever. But the first three months,
they worked for free. It’s three month for which we will
have an eternal return on. Because it was the kind of energy, that a project needs
at the beginning. Of course, that cannot stay forever. You cannot hire
1 thousand people like that. For sure. The first people are so important that not having money is a strength. If you look at every project
that fundraised easy at the beginning, the kind of people they attract
are crap. Because, there is no reality
behind the fundraising. So there is not something substantial
that people can be attracted to. But there is a fundraising that attracts
the worst people on Earth. People are attracted only by signals and social proof. When the company becomes big
and they fundraise big, there is something substantial. They’re successful,
their mission is clear, people can come and be
great executives and employees. But that’s a very particular situation. When people fundraise without any track record and just with… money because they
have connections and friends, and they are ready to pay salaries, it’s always always always bad. You cannot attract
a real good employee, and you attract people that
are driven by social proof. The other key of course at the beginning is do things
that don’t scale. Again, you can read
Paul Graham articles about that. In my opinion, best essay ever written by Paul Graham. It’s a very simple idea that every entrepreneurs want to start their company at scale. And the problem is that
it’s impossible. And they have
this image that says “Starting a startup
is like starting an old car.” You have the manual beginning and it’s really hard, and you need
to put a lot of energy, and at one moment
the engine will crack down, and it will run by itself. A startup is exactly the same thing. The first step is that you need
a lot of manual energy, and lot of things can get down
to things that don’t scale. We will come back
to the things that don’t scale, but just to give you a few tip. For example… I had this company yesterday,
very good example. They want to sell toys for children and they created incredible toys, And so… Someone creating
an incredible toy company, what is the classic plan? The classic plan would be “I have an idea for incredible toys, I will build 1 thousand of them. To build 1 thousand of them
I need a branding. To get a branding
I will spend lot of energy building a story and an image, I will launch a website
and people will come and buy.” And of course,
it never happens like that. You can do whatever you want, it’s so hard to make anyone
buy anything online that if you start that way,
it will never work. The good methodology
of doing things that don’t scale is that, I told them, “You should forget your
1 thousand toys, you should forget your fundraising. You should go
and build with your hand ten toys
and sell them to your friends. And if your friends
buy you in a week 10 toys, the week after, you do 20 ones. And the week after you do 40, and the week after you do 80,
etc.” At one point you will need
to build more and more structures along the way. If you want
a good image about that, think about how
to become a rockstar for real. If you want to be a music celebrity,
you have two choices: choice 1, you go to… Singing with the stars,
I don’t know what tv show. You go on stage,
you have a jury of people that will have 30 seconds
of attention for you. And they will say
if you’re good or bad. And I never understand why how many people
need the judgment of others. If you want a mystery
for me in life, why is everybody always
looking for external validation? Why, why does someone that
has been singing for 20 years, that loves to sing,
want to go on public humiliation, and having 4 people that maybe
are drugged half of the time and don’t have a real timespan that says it’s good or it’s bad, and just do the show
because you are freaks? That way what will happen is
you will have a winner, and what will happen to that winner? He will go up. Faster than anyone will go up, and he will go down faster
than anyone goes down in this industry. Because there will be a new season. and there will be a new star, and no one will give a fuck. If you want to become a real rockstar, How it works, how every legend in music is born, is that it’s a bunch of people
playing in the garage, and they don’t really
know what they are doing. And you know, their friends are suckers, they like them and come and listen. And one day they start to be
a little better than the other day, and they tell their friends “Saturday I’ll go to Miles house and we will listen to him playing music.” Little by little one day
a guy will come and say “My uncle has a restaurant
you should play in that restaurant.” And you go and play
In the strange restaurant. But, in that restaurant,
there is someone that knows someone, that will
bring you to a bigger restaurant and from that restaurant
you will do your first show. And from that first show,
one day you’ll do a bigger show. And faster than you’ll realize, you will have a stadium full of people, and you will be here for 10 years. That is the real way
great artists were born, exactly same thing with writers. You can go and write a book, or you can work hard and publish things. And one day it can become a book. And one day it becomes a phenomenon. Because people will
love it and talk about it. There are no such things as shortcuts, doing things that don’t scale
is the best way to know if what you are doing
works or not. And there are thousands of ways to launch your company in a day. It’s always the same story. People have this opinion that they need 3 months,
6 months, 1 year, to launch their company. But actually you can play the tool, and play they exercise to say, OK, let’s say tomorrow
is the end of the world. And you don’t have anything
to do after launching your company. No sex allowed. What do you do? Like,
how do you do that? What will be your first step? There is always a step,
you can do a spreadsheet, you can sell it offline, you can go on the street
and launch your company. But that is the right methodology. The right methodology is that you should
be able to be on the market on day one. If you take more than
one day to launch your company, it’s obvious that
most of the time you will fail. And if you need to program things, and if you need to build things,
there will always be a way to turn around and find
a derivate version of that, that will be quicker online, that you can test and maybe
you can fake it. One of the strategies
is to fake it until you make it. Thousand of strategies. The important thing is that you need to be smart about them. And you need to understand
that building a company is not about faking
the entrepreneurship. It can be about faking product
but not faking the methodology. And you need to be very disciplined
about what you do. Let’s talk about finance, because finance
is a very singular function, and a very important one,
when you bootstrap. Because when you bootstrap, what happens is that
you only have your revenue as a budget for growth. And so, you need to be
very smart about how to use it., and there are very few strategies that people don’t realize
how powerful they can be. The first one
and from far my favorite one that every bootstrap
entrepreneur should use, is calledpay with risk. What does it mean to pay with risk? You have to understand that cash now is cheaper than cash later. What does it mean? It means that if you can save
one hundred euros now, and to save that 1 hundred euro now costs you 1 thousand euros in 10 years, it’s so cheap to do that than the other way around. Every single dollar you will save in the phase where
you are bootstrapping, is a dollar that
will accelerate your growth, and will make you alive faster. Let’s take an example that I love, because it happens so many times. Let’s say you do a consumer company,
and you sell shoes. And to sell shoes online,
you need an incredible branding. And to get an incredible
branding is mandatory, you’re in a field where people
are very intransigent about the fact that
the branding is important. So you have no choice. And you need to invest,
100 thousand euros in that branding, no other choice. That’s the cost,
you will never find cheaper. One of the strategies
that entrepreneurs use is that they try to find a way
to get it cheaper. That’s the worst strategy. Because, cheap work shitty work. If people are famous,
and well-known, and can invoice
very high fees for services, it’s for a reason, their time is limited, and if you want the best,
you have to pay the best. But you will tell me
“ok but you told us five minutes ago that we need
to save, we need to be smart.” Here’s the strategy. You go and you say to this creative
director or designer, and you tell him”‘look,
I have the best startup on Earth. And you know what?
It will be really successful because I know it will be successful, I will take a risk, instead
of paying you 1 hundred thousand, like your actual price, I will pay you 30 thousands now,
I cannot spare more. But the difference of 70 thousands, I will pay it 5 times or 4 times
or 3 times or 2 times, after that milestone. So, if your design allow me to reach
a milestone that you’ll define. fundraising, product launch,
sales, name it, whatever milestone, I will over pay your actual fee.” So you see?
you take work now, and you defer the payment to the moment when
you’re dead and that’s fine because
if you are dead, you don’t owe anything
to anyone. But, if you are still alive,
it will be cheap to pay that because it will have been an investment. If you look at that way of thinking, you will realize that most
entrepreneurs try to do the opposite. They try to get cheap work, but here it’s not cheap work
because it’s more expensive than the actual work,
so you can even ask for more. You can even be in a love
relationship saying “You are not making me a favor,
I’m making you a favor.” And that is so strong.
And if you are smart, of course, if you end up
with millions of debt to pay at some point because
you said that to everyone, you will not bootstrap very far. But if you are smart about
with who to use that, it can make the impossible possible. A very common example
we use at TheFamily is for very regulated industries. There are a lot of industries
that are so heavily regulated that the first cost will be, Five hundred thousand
or a million dollars in lawyers. We have that case so many times
specially in finance, where you need so many legal advice to begin with,
that people will fundraise just to pay lawyers. Lawyers are smart people, you go to see them
and you say “Look, It’s a million bill,
I will pay you 2 millions.” But, you will take a risk. You don’t take the risk,
it doesn’t happen. And you know what is
extraordinary with this strategy? It’s that the service provider
you are working with gets aligned with you. Because, if it doesn’t work, if you don’t succeed,
you never pay them. So they have this crazy incentive
to make you work. And they will have invested
so much of their time and money that they will be in a situation
where they have no other choice. Never do that with equity. One of the advice people say is “pay people with equity.” Paying people with equity
is so dumb and so stupid because equity is forever. If you tell someone
“I will pay double the price, two million” and you say
“I will pay you in equity.” If the company end up being
valued 1 thousand more, you will end up paying
200 million for that. So people have the feeling
that because they didn’t give cash, it did not cost them something. But the truth is that an equity deal, if your company is successful,
is much better than cash. So stick to cash, stick to debt. And be smart with who
you’re doing debt with and who you are not. Another thing that always surprises me is that startups are worried
to pay late. You know it’s a great industry
to have clients in because startups are so
strange with that. startups always
pay their bill first. For many reasons
first, nice people. Unexperienced and lot of budget. You know when you fundraise
and have money on the account, you don’t really manage your cash flow. You have a budget
and you spend it. And so people are like… “Yeah, It’s fine. I can pay fast.” But the problem of doing that
is that you don’t train your team to the right methodology,
to the time when you will need the cash
flow management strategy. There is one expression, it’s “collect early, sell high
buy low and pay so late.” Pay as late as you can
and drive people crazy. In big companies,
there’s a strategy for that. They pay people to create
very complex process to get you to pay. It’s not because they need the process, it’s that we know
that most of the people won’t know how
to deal with the process and will make the invoices paid late. Of course, as a startup
you can’t really do that. But you can create
a fake accounting service. You can say “I don’t know
my accounting service lost them.” And you can create an email
and speak with yourself. “Please can you pay them?”
and the accounting service says “Yeah we will,
but we need the form 10-21.” “Really the form 10-21,
how do you do that?” Be smart with that,
and be shameless. If I can tell you something,
of course, if it’s your friend,
if it’s another startup, you can be smart, it’s not just because
you pay late as a strategy, that you will always pay late. For example. The best entrepreneurs we have at TheFamily for that is Save. I don’t know how
they pay the bills, if they pay. And they use that
as a strategy to grow faster. Because every bill they pay late is money that they
can use for something else. And having daily revenue
is great. When they fundraised, I remember the number 2 at Save
saying to the investor, so the investor did the joke: “Now you can pay your supplier.” And the guy was like
“are you crazy? Now I can even
ask for more delay because I have money in the bank.” And the guy was like
“this guy is crazy.” But that’s the way
you manage a great company. You use the cash of your suppliers as a way to grow,
and it’s the best cash ever. If you are smart about that and are very aggressive,
it can bring you far. There are things
you always pay early, Your employees, your people, Your most important supplier. With this strategy,
you need to be smart with what you pay late,
and what you don’t. Because you don’t
have another choice. That’s the way business are built. I know it seems not nice
and heartless but the problem is that
everybody will pay you late. If you pay early, and get paid late, you will be the bank for everyone and your growth will be limited because everybody does that. So, until the time
that it changes, you need to play
by those rules and be tough. If you want to fight against toxicity, you need to understand that
the best strategy you can have is to skip the seed. If you can reach a point where
you can go directly in serie A, your life as a company
will be very different on 3 levels. First level, the level of
ownership you will get will be exponentially higher
at the end of the game than the ownership you will
get if you do a seed round, because seed rounds cost a lot. In Europe, a seed round costs
between 20 to 30 percent of your company. Even 40 percents, in some cases
for very small amount of money between 300 thousands to a million. That money can be
built with revenue. If you can skip that,
you will go directly to 5, 10 million rounds, and you will spend
between 20 to 30 percent. And so you see, instead of losing twice
20 to 30 percent, you will lose it only once. And it changes a lot
the final ownership you can get. And also… Think about it, what is the problem
with seed investors? It’s that anyone can be
a seed investor because you don’t
need a lot of money. This is why it’s a level
where there are the more crap investors. Anyone can bet
100 thousands in a company. It’s not a big deal. You have a little bit
of money aside, ou can become an angel.
Look at me. So, if I can become an angel,
everyone can become an angel, And it creates a situation where
you never know who is good or bad. One of the things
you need to keep in mind is that skipping the seed,
is one of the ways to keep you on the market,
and prevent you from being surrounded
by very toxic investors. That was about how to deal
with your finance if you’re a bootstrap company
a bootstrapped company. Now the question is,
what about your hiring? How to hire in that market, and how to hire without
needing a fundraiser? The first thing is that you need to understand that hiring should be as slow as possible
in pre-product/market fit. You need to hire very carefully. And only hire people you highly trust. Only people that are highly skilled. Hiring is never a solution
to your problem. And I will never say it enough but what happens
in most startups is that people think that hiring will solve their problem. Most of the time, hiring
doesn’t solve any problem, it creates more problems, Being slow about
the right kind of hiring is better. So the very
concrete situation is that you are looking for someone, you did not find
the perfect mate, and you are like “Ok, I have no other choice
but to hire him.” It’s better to wait a few months, and get the right person,
than hiring just to hire. It’s very important. Always hire something
that you understand. That’s also very counterintuitive, but you should never hire someone to do something
you don’t know how to do. I’m not saying that you need to know
how to do everything well. What I’m saying is that every function inside your company, you should have
done it seriously at least once and to a level where
you’re comfortable enough to know what people need
to achieve in that position. And the job of co-founders is to do everything collectively until a point where
they will hire people that are better than them. But you need to do it
yourself first. Very important, never hire for something
you didn’t do yourself first, because you will never
know if someone is good or not at the job, if you
cannot compare him to you. Because having the opportunity
to compare to you will help you to build some
comfort about what he is doing,
how he is doing it, and if he is good or not. And the corollary of that is that, and I know it can
seem weird as a sentence, you should delegate first everything you’re the best at, and people do the opposite. They keep for themselves
what they are good at, and they delegate what they are not. It’s the worst management strategy because if you delegate
something you are good at, you know how to keep
an eye on it. And you know how to
keep people at the level, and you know if what they
are doing is good or not. Because you can
compare it to yourself. And the easier solution
is to always do it yourself, but you will not scale
if you do everything yourself. So the first thing you
should delegate in a company is everything you are good at, because it will be a strong function. And you can focus your attention
at what you’re not good at, and find a way to
delegate that as well. The ultimate goal,
at the end of the game, is to delegate everything. But if you do the opposite, you will keep everything
good for yourself, you will not have anyone
growing functions that are important. Because most of the time,
what you are good at are things that are
important for your company. And so you will
become the bottleneck of your startup. And that is even more true
if you bootstrap instead of fundraising. Because at least
if you fundraised a lot, you have a lot of time
to make mistakes and to survive those mistakes. If you bootstrap, you cannot
do any management mistakes. That’s one of the
constraints of bootstrapping, the fact that every mistake costs so much, that you’ll be sure you’re not
doing any management mistakes anymore. If you bootstrap, be aware of interns. They’re worse than black cats. Interns don’t provide anything
in a startup. Let’s be realistic with that, interns are great
in growing environments, post-product/market fits, We are in a economy
where we need interns, and in Europe we have
such crazy policy about interns that they hurt the growth
of a lot of startups. But that’s another subject. Before product/market fit,
specially if you’re bootstrapped, and you hire interns,
it’s the best way to die, because you don’t
know what you are doing. And you are asking someone
that doesn’t know anything to do it on your behalf. You see, It doesn’t work. Everybody is smiling for a reason, because we all know
what it means, it’s so obvious that
hiring interns makes you feel comfortable. I see that in so many companies. You ask them
“what did you do this week?” “We interviewed interns.” And of course, it’s fun,
you play the boss. And you can play bossy,
and are like, yeah, you can ask questions, and show your power, and pretend you have
the coolest startup, and be in coworking space.
But you are nothing. You have to realize that
you should not take an intern if you cannot train him very fast. And the only way
to train someone fast is not exactly know
what you are looking for, and what he will do. At that level, interns are very
decent cheap labor force, that’s true. But until that moment,
It’s not. It’s a toxic labor force that will drive you crazy, and won’t make anything
successful in your company. Be very careful with interns.
It doesn’t make any sense to take interns too early. Don’t do stupid things. If you bootstrap your company, again, you need to be very efficient about how you outsource things, and how you take everything
that doesn’t provide value outsource. Each time you understand the process, each time you understand
something manual, each time you did something yourself, and you see that
it’s repetitive as a task, you should find
a way to automate that, or to find a provider
in a cheap labor country that would do it. Again, t’s even more important
when bootstrapping, Because every hours you will save are hours when you
can find more clients, when you can grow faster, and there is no such a thing
as a small saving. So you should be obsessed
about optimizing every process. And one good way to do that is that you should draw,
every process of your company, and see how
you can optimize them. If you bootstrap your company, you need to understand that
you will always be dead alive. I mean… You will always be in a situation
where your cash position will be very low, and you won’t have any comfort, and you won’t know how
you’ll survive next week, and that can be very
very stressful. And if it’s your first time,
it can be horrible. You will see after doing it
multiple times it becomes easy. And maybe I can tell
you a story about that. The first time I received a letter from the bank
because I was in debt, I was so scared. Because you receive a letter
and you’re like “Oh my God,
did I do something wrong?” and you try to find money
to not be in debt anymore. And one day, you are in this
kind of situation where you receive a letter
and you can’t do a thing. So, you receive a second letter. That is harsh,
harsher than the first one. Then you received a third letter, and a fourth letter,
and a phone call and a meeting. And you don’t have money, so. You know, like
what can we do? At the end you meet
a very nice guy that tries to find an agreement because the process
is designed in 3 steps. Scare you, be nice,
go to jail. But before the go to jail step,
you have the be nice, because they are like,
“ok you cannot pay, let’s try to figure out what to do.” And actually if you understand that, you understand that you have
the power over your banks, you can be very smart,
with your bank account management. For example, TheFamily
did not spend a day above 0 for 2 years, we did not have any single day,
over 0 for 2 years. We were always below 0. And we survived. And I can tell you
our banker was not sleeping well. He was watching
the videos every weekend, I was even making
jokes about that, “I saw you joke about me,
I don’t like that.” So now it’s in English,
I can do it. It’s important to understand that
you owe nothing to the bank. A simple rule, never put yourself
at personal risk. That’s the limit.
You should really say “There is my company,
it can be 1000% at risk, not myself.” Never accept any personal loans, never accept any personal guarantee. For example,
the banker wanted that we personally
guaranteed TheFamily. We never signed any paper. They sent something like
100 letters we never signed. And you should
be really tough on that, and you should always resist. It’s better to die,
than put yourself at risk. But, saying that, you should be
hardcore with your banks. Like you are hardcore
with everyone around you. That level of intensity is necessary
to build something strong. One other thing as a bootstrap
strategy is that a lot of entrepreneur
make this mistake. They try to convince strangers, before convincing their friends. So, I don’t know why. Sometimes I make a joke,
“do you feel so uncomfortable about what you do that you don’t
want talk to your friends about that? » Let’s say, you start a B2C company, and you try to buy ads
instead of convincing one by one every single friend on your Facebook, If your friends are not users,
why would a stranger be? And it works also in B2B,
anyone that is doing a B2B company has some previous working relationship And they make a product,
and they are like, let’s sell it. Yeah, let’s go
and talk to your colleagues. Let’s go and talk to your friends. And they are like “no,
they are not really the target, they are not really the users.” Because they are ashamed. There is no better way
to bootstrap a company, than your own network, And your own network
is very powerful. Like, if you take money next door, for example, a company
that is doing peer to peer, food service in-house, take away experience. it’s incredible how they groove
with their own organic network, like the guys had
1 thousand friends on Facebook, and he convinced
one friend after another to buy a meal.
I’m not kidding. The guy opened a Facebook
group, he did not open an app. He cooked himself,
with his bestfriend, And he went to his friends houses,
one by one, took money from the aunt,
made them post on Facebook the picture, he was even
taking their phone uploading a picture
and inviting every single friend in the group after going to every single house. and he did that
with so much intensity that he is now making
8,000 meals a week in Brussels, and the company is six months old. 8,000 meals a week! You don’t get
to that in 6 months by doing a product
and waiting for people to come. At the beginning
you need to force them, you need to be so aggressive
to achieve this. Paul Graham talks about
the Collison brother. They created Stripe and they said that their
strategy was each time, you know,
the usual talk between founders, Oh, I have a product… That’s cool, what does it do? It’s a payment solution…
Oh that’s nice I should try it. And it will end up like that,
you will say, I will send you
an email with a demo. Stripe is not like that,
they say, Oh you want to try it?
open your computer, I’ll install it for you. That’s called a collision methodology. That’s the only way
to bootstrap a company, You need to go strong.
If you believe in what you do, your friends
should be your first fans. And if your friends are not,
it’s because you’re not a good seller,
if you’re not a good seller, you will never sell anything. We all have people in our network, we all have a starting point. And it’s really important
to leverage that because after, you can use them
as satisfaction, social proof, things that will help you provide
feedbacks to other clients. So, there is no better thing than focusing on people
you know to get first traction. It’s much better than a stranger
that doesn’t know you. What is the return on investment
of all this bootstrapping strategy? It’s that, if you do it right, if you keep your finances tight, if you grow your product strength,
if you’re in a position where everything you do to reach
a milestone and a KPI that makes you feel comfortable, you will skip the first fundraise, and the valuation of
your company will be much higher. Because you will have a very
high goodwill. So what is a goodwill?
The goodwill is… You know. Because at the beginning,
companies are evaluated like that. So people try to find a rational
way to evaluate you. If you build clients, customers
team, all of that without any external resource,
your goodwill will be very high. And the return
on the investment of this effort will be really high. Because if you fundraise
500,000, and you build something,
people will evaluate you in a ratio between
what money you get, and what you did. But if you did anything with nothing, the multiple of valuation
will be much higher. And I think people
underestimate that. They underestimate the effect
It has on people, when you build something
from the ground, from 0 and you reach
a point that is impressive. When you go and enter
in fundraising mode with that, it’s very different than
anything else you could have done. And also, I just want
to finish on something, That will be a good transition
to the next steps of our lessons. The only way to know
if your on track or not is to have a KPI dashboard. If you fundraise, you can not
track your KPI’s, it’s just a budget allocation. But if you did not fundraise,
again sorry, don’t understand
that you should do that, but you can survive of doing that. But if you are bootstrapping
and you don’t track you KPI, you will die quickly. Because you will never know
if what you do is working or not. And building your KPI dashboard
should be a very important job, very early on,
as soon as you start to sell. You should keep on track
if what you’re doing, gets profit or return
on investment or not. When is the right time
to end bootstrapping? When you will be in a situation
where you can decide if it’s the right moment
to fundraise. I think asking this question
should be about understanding that you don’t decide when to fundraise. I call that the childhood moment
with entrepreneurs, when you’re a child, One of the very common sentences
that every child says to their mom or dad is
“I’m hungry I want to eat.” There is a time where
you give food, and at a certain point in time
you have this answer, that is so horrible:
It’s not time to eat. I remember that,
it’s one of my big, single moment of trauma,
what? I don’t decide when I eat? Someone can decide that
for me, when it’s time to eat? And why? Because there is an external
social constraint on you. And that external social constraint
is the same thing with fundraising. Every entrepreneur that starts,
always has a big plan. “I will do my product, my MVP
and in 6 months I will fundraise. And in 12 months I will launch…” But that plan is crap,
because that plan is built on the idea
that what you decide is what people expect outside. The secret I have to tell you
is that no one is waiting for you. There is no line of people
that are waiting, And, oh my God
It’s launching… We’ve been waiting for ever… You want money now?
Later? Please tell us, we are ready
to write a cheque. No, it doesn’t work like that. The day you decide to fundraise, maybe it can be the day
when people decide not to invest. So, when is the good moment
to end bootstrapping? It’s the moment when bootstrapping ends. It means that you should not
look for fundraising, you should just put yourself
in the position where fundraising becomes obvious. And if you look at the example
I gave at the beginning, most of them fundraised
not because they decided to, but because investors
started to chase them down. And very hardly. I think that if people,
had more that goal in mind, More of that idea that
the goal is not to fundraise, but to be chased by fundraiser, It would change everything
they do about their company. And it will change
their own psychology, about what it means
to build a startup, not so much about
building a business plan, but much more about building
good product and get revenue. Thank you very much. -That works when you,
know your business model? No. -How do you know, like say
you get revenue No. No, no no no. There is a difference between, a business model
and a revenue model. It’s not because
you are bootstrapping, that you have not thousands
opportunities of revenue, and it’s not because
you are bootstrapping, that it will be your end
business model. Like, again. Building the right business
model can take forever. But there is always an obvious
way to make money. Always.
Give me a company, Give me an example
of a company that doesn’t have the opportunity
to get revenue easily. I mean easily in the sense of psychologically easy,
not in the sense of executing. Give me an example. Yeah, why does everyone
think that is a reality? Why does everyone think that? Why do so many entrepreneurs
tell you thing like “I don’t focus on revenue,
it will come later.” Why? What should a company
be anything else than an institution that makes money? How can the definition
of a company be something else, than an institution
that makes money? -If you want to do something, and you want
to monetize it at that pace, and you know
you have to reach some point, just to monetize it
-Yeah, but that doesn’t, – Yeah
before you have to find other ways. -Yeah but that’s ok
-Getting revenue is not… But that doesn’t mean
that you cannot get opportunity of revenue
on your data base. Again, Facebook took
6 years, 5 years to get the ads set up. That doesn’t mean that
when they needed money, they did not put casino ads. There is a big
difference between opportunity and strategy, The goal of bootstrapping
is to survive until a point, It makes sense
that you don’t care, about revenue. And don’t care to focus on that. But there is not such a moment, You don’t know
how to make money. Of course there is a lot of difficulty, It’s not easy,
It’s not unlimited money. Most of the time it’s cheap. But, the fact that
people think that there is a situation where they have
no way to make money, is always a fake one. Because you will always
have an opportunity to do it. -You just said that we have
to delegate what we are best at, right? Why are you still here.
doing trainings? It’s not for your ego,
I’m telling you that, -That’s a very good question. Did you notice how many
people give training in TheFamily team? Ok, you don’t watch our videos, but actually, half of our team
are giving class and lessons online. When I say, you should delegate
what you’re good at, it doesn’t mean that you never
do what you’re good at, and I think that’s also a good way where everyone
takes teaching. Because you say things like, “You should do that,
people think that you should absolutely do that.” Saying that you should delegate
what you’re good at is not saying that you should
never do what you’re good at. It is saying that you should
delegate what you’re good at. For example, who knows Côme here? Please raise you hands up. So Côme was my intern, like Côme came here and didn’t
know anything about growth hacking, he didn’t even know
what the word growth hacking was. Like did you see me
doing any growth hacking talks? That’s the point. Who knows for example,
in our team Balthazar? Ok, Balthazar was one
of our failed entrepreneurs two years ago.
So you see? That’s what delegation is about,
and you know what? The funny thing is that
when I started, when I put Côme
the first time on stage, you know what happened? We get a user, harsh. How to say it, and keep in nice
without complaint. And It’s even worse
than a complaint. You know what is great?
It’s that I don’t care. And because I didn’t care,
he started becoming better. The problem with delegating
is that people think “I will delegate something,
and it will work out”, perfectly, at first. But the truth is that the first
time Come gave a lesson, or the first time Balthazar
gave a lesson, we deleted the video. Of course it was horrible. I think the people there
in the room never came back at TheFamily,
they were like “wow, that’s TheFamily? Oh my God.” But it’s fine because you need
to go through that, to go in that minus. And again, you see
we are switching to English. I’m the first one doing
a complete session in English, because that’s what leaders
should do in their company. Always be the first at doing
something for the first time. And thats why I don’t
give class in French anymore. And I give them in English. So like that, everyone
that insults us for my accent, at least they insult me,
not my team. -I think I’m good at communication,
design and business, but I don’t understand accountability. Does it mean I have
to do the accountability, because I can’t delegate it? -Yeah, exactly.
Not for a long time, but if you are bad at something
you should not stay in the dark about that. So, minus your co-founders, I can understand that
it’s a collective responsibility. For example, Alice is bad at accounting,
she will never do accounting, And she will always stay
in the shadow about that. Because it’s better for her. I doesn’t mean that
we are good at that. We were bad at that
but a little bit less so I took that responsibility. When I say that,
I’m talking about a complete co-founding team. Of course, it’s impossible to be
100% white. And if you… This is why you have a CTO or this is why
you have a chief designer, this is why it’s good to be
sometimes a little bit complementary. But if you are not complementary, You need to
take a coin and say “ok, who takes the accounting
this week and decide?” And if you’re alone,
you should be aware that you cannot stay
in the shadow about that, because it’s very important. And everything is important,
that’s what makes a difference between entrepreneurs :
there is a 20% that no one wants to do. One of the good analogy is,
let’s say you build a shirt, and it’s such a nice tissue,
so well cut, but there are no button. People will be like, no one will say “oh my God
that shirt is so beautiful.” There are only buttons missing.
Everybody will be “Why there are no buttons?” And building a company
is exactly the same thing. People don’t care
of what you do well. People will always focus
on what you do wrong. This is why you need
to do everything, to understand how
to delegate well, and how to make it better. -What do you think about
giving your product for free
to your very first users? -It’s a tricky question, I think you should never
give your product for free, and I think there’s nothing
you shouldn’t do to get a client. So do I reply to your question? It’s a bit of a paradox, if your product
is a paid product, you should never
give it for free. But having clients, references
and customers, is much more important
than anyone paying. That’s how
you should manage it, like a very hard dilemma, and you
should not manage it standard, you should manage it
case by case. So sometimes, you will be like, “Ok in that case it makes
sense to make it free” because huge reputation
but no one will know. And the good way,
if your product is paid, isn’t to give it for free,
it’s to give it with a discount. Don’t take out the money discussion. One other good way,
for example: at TheFamily we created a new
high level B2B product that is very expensive, it’s 60,000
a month for companies, high level product,
really hard to get the first client. What every client asks:
Who’s already a client ? So you know you are
in this sketch to anyone, where you are like,
everyone wants to buy, but no one wants to buy
because no one is the first. And they say “I will buy
when someone buys.” And everyone says that,
you end up turning forever. Like a nightmare and shadow,
it will never end. So at one point
we took the best one. We took the one
we knew everybody admired, and we told him
“you know the price, it’s 30,000 a month,
but we will give 6 months for free. And it will be our little secret.
Will you do it?” It’s a great strategy because,
they have a price point in mind. 60,000 a month, they know it’s not free
and believe it as a gift, that’s a gesture.
6 months for free? It’s a 360,000 euros gift. Doing that,
you can tell everyone “We have our first client.” So you see the subtlety? Ok, it’s for free, but you
don’t tell everyone it’s for free, Ok, got 100 percent discount,
but who knows. It’s no an important point,
you should always keep your price tag
as something people know. The worst way
to give something for free is to tell someone
“you will use the product, then it’s free for a full year.” And you have your hope that it won’t be
an awkward conversation before a year. But it will be a worse
conversation in a year. Because maybe their expectations
will be low, your expectations will be high
and you will never agree. But if you say “that’s my price, and I give it for free for a year”, at least people are aware
of what the price is. -You spoke about traction
but could you define it? Does traction means users or… -In 99 % of the cases,
traction means revenue. And in 1% of the cases,
it means something else. But it’s really uncommon that
anything else means something more
than revenue in the early stage company. I love the word traction, we alway forget what it means.
No traction is that you get tracked, it’s that image. In France when we
talk about traction, we think about something
that goes up by itself. But in English they have
this image, where traction needs a force. That’s why you need things
that don’t scale. -You were talking at the beginning
about all the lies in the media TechCrunch, or whatever,
is there any way to know more -about our possible competitors?
-No -Spying or something?
-No No, It’s a good question. You will never know
what happens about your competitors,
and you should know, And only loser benchmark. You know why big corporations
benchmark all day long? Because they are
such a bunch of losers. They don’t know what is a leader, they don’t know
what is leadership, so they always need
to compare themselves. And look, when you’re a kid, who are the kids that compare
themselves all of the time? It’s the worst kid. like “How much did you get
in the math class? How tall are you?” It doesn’t make sense,
If you’re a startup, you should have your own
KPI of success, and you should not need
anyone else to tell you what
is successful and what is not. The only way to do that
is to push harder. Exactly like in sports,
bad people in sports, they run with a bunch
of people and try to be first. Good people in sports,
they take 5 minute less of their time, every other week, and they try to keep
at that level, and always push higher
until the point they break. Same thing with a company,
you can tell yourself “I’m good, because
that startup is doing bad, and I’m better.”
and you would be both losers. You can tell yourself “Every week I will do better
and it will never end.” And you know, the sky is the limit. It’s a very different mindset
and this is why you should never
look at your competition Because, looking at your competition, it’s comparing your inside
to their outside. If your competitors
are good at marketing, you could be worried
for nothing. We have a company,
called Heetch. And they were competing
against a company called Djump. And Djump now,
the ex-CEO of Djump and the ex number 2 of Djump
are walking for Menu Next Door now because they failed. And every single day,
we were competing with them. Heetch team was always
telling me “Oh my God, they are so big. They are doing a fundraising, we are nowhere, they are everywhere. They have so many articles…”
I always told them the same thing. I don’t want to hear about Jump. One day I told them
if you tell me again about Jump, I will kick you out of TheFamily. The only thing I want to know
is your weekly growth, and that you keep
your weekly growth at more than 7%. The CEO of Jump now is a friend,
she’s here and we were talking together. She asked me, by the way
what were the numbers of Heetch? And I told her, they are doing that amount of rides. She told me: “Oh my God
they are 25 times bigger than us.” I told her « You should go
and tell them that, They would be happy. » They spent 2 years thinking
Jump was such a big deal, and I knew there were not. Because I know how it works,
I recognize fake companies, and they were fake, that was their job to say fake things in the press. When you saw as many deals I have seen, you have this detector for bullshit. The biggest lies
are about acquisition. You don’t imagine
how many people sold their company,
they sold nothing. They didn’t even get a euro
from the deal. But they are in the press
and they go and say I’m the most
successful entrepreneur, I sold my company,
to X, Y, Z. The truth is that you can tell, from the wording
of how it’s written of it’s fake, but you need
a lot of experience for that. And that’s not the kind
of experience an entrepreneur should focus on. This is why looking at competition is the worst decision
you can take as an entrepreneur. You should focus on yourself
and only yourself. You should have
your own definition of success. -You are talking about
the fact that it was a mistake to hire
people too early, what about the startups
that are based on very heavy solutions that require
a lot of R&D? Because obviously we don’t have
all the technical skills that we would need
to build a high tech solution. -Give me one example
of a startup that was in this situation
and succeeded. Only one. -I was thinking about Facebook, -Ok, who built
the first version of Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg. And how many users
he got by himself before hiring anyone? 10,000. And how long did he push
the company by himself with only his friends? 100,000. So I’m not saying that
they did not hire top engineers after that. But Mark reached
100,000 users, in a time much harder than now,
to reach that level of users. Let’s face it. If you don’t have the internal
capacity of doing something, you are dead. Everyone that thinks
they have an idea, that they will find someone technical
to make that idea, is living a dream. It never worked
and it will never work. And I can give you
a very simple story. I have a great idea, Free, unlimited energy
for everyone. I want to disrupt energy forever. And I have a very simple
solution for that, It’s called fusion. Fusion is a nuclear solution, that doesn’t have any
of the downsides of traditional nuclear solution. Only upsides: ecological,
no radiation and unlimited, almost free
energy for everyone. In less than 10 years,
with a billion dollars, I can raise to a point
where 90% of the energy produced
on Earth will be fusion. Do you like the pitch? I love the pitch.
I only need 1 billion dollars, and 3 Phd’s as interns. Why? Because I don’t have
the product, I will take a Phd in energy
and he will do it for me. But I have the money and the idea. If I tell you that,
you will say I’m crazy. There is no way an intern
has an idea of how to do that, but if you look at most
entrepreneurs that are looking for technical people, That’s exactly what they are doing. They are coming and saying,
“I have this great idea, I just need someone to do it.” It’s just like saying, “I can cook that, I just need someone
to cook it,” Yeah, but if you don’t cook it,
someone else cooked it, Then you’re not the cook. And with entrepreneurs,
it’s the same thing. And that is because,
we have this generation of businessmen
that weren’t able to build things by themselves,
and they took people as slaves. That is the difference between
our generation and their generation. In the generation of Bernard Tapie,
Bernard Arnault and every successful French businessmen, you can have slaves for free, and people will not realize it, they will build incredible
things for you, and will tell you you are the boss, You are the entrepreneur,
you are incredible. But now this people look at you
and say “who are you?” Why working for someone
that doesn’t know what he’s doing. And this is why it became so hard to find a technical co-founder, because now technical
co-founders are in this room, and they build their own startup themselves. If you don’t have anything
to bring to the table other than your idea
or your vision, you will never be able
to find anyone that works out and this is why hiring doesn’t work, friendship works because
you have someone technical without someone technical
that build something together. And it’s their common baby. But the idea that someone
non technical can take someone technical
as an employee is really a dream, please.
just behind you. -The question I wanted to ask: What if you take
that person a co-founder? -Of course, you can have,
great co-founding team like that. But he will be a co-founder,
not an employee. There is a big difference
between having an employee and a co-founder. and by the way the equity split, for the minimum, you are lucky
if it’s 50/50. Let’s see in 10 years,
if it’s not the opposite way around. If you look at a country
like France, he problem is that
engineering schools are so bad,
at training the people at anything else,
than coding and engineering, this is why we still have,
this kind of weird opportunity,
where you can take a genius, and he doesn’t know how to
speak or articulate the idea. And you can have business
people that do the work. Give us 10 years of videos, training
class. Like if you look at 42 School
for example, they are watching TheFamily
videos all day long, and when you see the effect
on entrepreneurs that come, they don’t feel
they need anyone. Because they built
their self-confidence. They’ve learnt lots of things
and they know how to build things. The good news,
is that in the next 10 years, it will also be
the other way around. Because, that’s what is funny
about that story, if things are
still going like that in ten years,
anyone that’s not technical will be as powerful
as someone technical. Because the level of the tools that are happening in the world are so good. For example, I invite you all to go look at a company
called Zapier and watch what Zapier is about. It helps you automate
workflow, and anyone now without any
programming skills can use it, it’s Zapier. And it even became
programmable a few weeks ago. The powerful solutions
that are developed right now, for non technical people, and the fact that technical people are becoming more manageable, we are going to have
this kind of fusion and not a distance between
technical profile and non technical profile. It’s about the branding name, -Is it important when you start
to get the right name from the beginning
or you can maybe just…. -It’s better than getting
the wrong name. -Yeah of course,
but should you, if you don’t have the right name…
-No Should you stop and wait until,
or start and change it? -One of my favorite story about that is his brothers story. That guy’s brother,
built a company called My Secret Garden. So it’s a secured solution
for documents and it was called My Secret Garden, In English
my secret garden means pussy, so, imagine pitching that
in English, in front of American investors, I’m here to introduce you to
My Secret Garden. Really sir? He changed the names
and he survived, and sold his company very successfully. So, asking if it’s important to get it right, It’s not a good question,
because of course, who can tell you that
it’s not important, of course it’s better
to get it right than wrong. Now, having the wrong name
never killed anyone. -But you can change along the way
-of course, covoiturage.fr, oh my god, BlaBlaCar are you kidding?
It’s the best name on Earth. Ok, what does it mean? They look for during
10 years about how to make the right sharing works well. So at the beginning,
they had basic solutions, if you want the ride to go well, you need people
coming from the same social environment. Did not work. It was random.
Sometimes people liked them, sometimes they didn’t like them. After they tried,
another feature was, You will say which kind of music
you like, and we will match people
through music. Did not work. And the level of satisfaction inside the car
was totally random. And one day
they got the key feature, it’s that when you travel
on BlaBlaCar, you can tell about yourself,
if you are blah, blah blah, Or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Because the single point
of insatisfaction between people was the level of noise
peaking inside the car. Some people like to
not talk, they just say “Hi” and go,
and others like to talk so much. And since the day they installed that feature
the level of satisfaction. and PS reach more than 90%. And the level of complaint
around the ride decreased, that is why
it’s the best name on Earth. Because it’s their key feature. Even a good name
is not a name that you will like
and don’t like, No name is unanimous,
people like it or don’t. A good name is a name
you can tell a story about. Same thing with TheFamily, when we created TheFamily,
I think, 90% of the people,
even some specialists here, I have a friend that has a job, finding name. She told me it’s horrible, like you don’t imagine, people
don’t like their family, it’s an idea of tradition, it’s so catholic… But we became
such a great family. Because we put story, we put lives and I don’t think anyone now,
wants to hear anything else than that name, talking about us
because we live in that name. Don’t think that
finding a name for a startup is a question of..
There is not a name, it’s the life you put into it. And it’s much more important
than the name. And this is why BlaBlaCar,
is such a good name. Because every time we meet someone,
they can explain that story and that is a huge asset. -Do you think it’s possible
to scale a company without investors money,
and stay in bootstrapping mode? -Yeah. It’s a funny story
why Github fundraised, Github fundraised because
they realized that their cash balance
was so low that if any accident happened,
they would go bankrupt. So, they scaled to a point
where their payroll and everything, for example, they calculated
that if they had two weeks out of business,
they could not survive that. For them, fundraising was not a question of development
or growth, it was a question
of protecting assets. A second thing
that you should be aware of is that most of the fundraising
you hear about, when it’s very big numbers, most of the time, they are not only fundraising, There is also cash out money
for the founders. For example Squarespace fundraised, So Squarespace,
Who knows Squarespace here? It’s a tool that you can use
to build websites, They reached 25 million revenue. Ten million profit on bootstrap without any external funding. And when the investor put
the money inside the company, they did not put a single
dollar inside the company. Everything went to the pocket
of the founder. It was a secondary, not a primary. So primary money
goes to the company, secondary, the money goes
to the pocket of the founders, or shareholders, investors… A lot of fundraising you hear
like Github, I don’t know the exact
number of Github, but I’m sure that 1 billion didn’t go
to the bank account of the company, I don’t remember the amount, but I’m sure 50 million
or 60 million also went to the pocket. Fundraising is also a way
to secure, to take some money out
of the table, and put yourself safe. Now, you have this incredible
example of companies that never fundraised until they get acquired. Microsoft was a case
of bootstrap company, a very big bootstrap company. When Microsoft got an IPO, Bill Gates was owning
60% of the company. Illiad, they fundraised but late. Xavier Niel has a huge ownership inside Iliade. So yeah, of course it’s possible. Like fundraise has never become
a hard choice because there is so much
free money available now in the world, that was not the case 20 years ago. So that’s why 20 years ago
it was more common to never fundraise than now, Because, you have to understand
that now you have a business growing and going well,
you will have a lot of people
trying to give you money because they don’t know
where to put their money. It can seem weird,
but you don’t imagine, For example, you know that
there is no bank in the world that would accept a client
with more than a billion dollars. If you look at Apple,
Apple is running their own bank for their cash deposits. They opened their own bank. They are a bank
license provider for themselves because no bank would have accepted
to have a client like Apple, because if Apple says
“we need to wire 15 billion today to that account”, it can just bankrupt the bank. They would not have the liquidity
to have that money. That’s why there is
so much money to invest. Because it’s hard to put the money
out of market right know. -How do you define the price of a product? -There is one
very sure and good strategy to get the right price. Prices are dynamic. If you are too low,
you can go up, if you are too high,
you can go low. Stop thinking about that, just get the price,
go out and see how it works. I don’t know why so many people, turn their mind and brainstorm for price, when you know that’s something
very natural to get a price. One of the best ways
to get a price is negotiating. Last time I had a startup,
they were telling me “My price is this”,
and I told him “no, I think your price should be this.” He was like “Yeah, with my experience,
it works much better at that price level.” It was 3 times higher. They told me that
their conversion rate increased. How did you know it was the right price? I didn’t know,
I just said something, try to double it again. And they doubled it again
and the conversion rate decreased. So I said, ok go back. I learned that because
I worked in a company that bought a parking. I was amazed to know
how you defined a price In the parking lot.
You know how you do? You open a parking,
and parking people go around, and they see the price
and decide to go in or not. The first day you open
the parking you say “It’s 500 dollars a spot, an hour.” and everyday
you decrease by 10%, and you look what
percentage of your parking is used and when
you get 100%, you get the right price. And that is how
parking prices are set up. It works for many cases, So. You know what? Some people say, I sell too expensive, this is why I don’t have clients. And they don’t decrease the price, because they know
that’s not the real reason. The real reason
is that their product sucks. At the end,
you don’t have any secret. If your product
is not extraordinary, No one will use it,
and it’s hard to make a good product. That’s why the game is unfair, cooking well is hard,
it’s exactly the same thing. I can cook and you will see, it will be good or bad, you will always find
someone that cooks better, entrepreneurship is the same thing. You will always find a better cook. The only thing you can do
is work harder. -Ok, thank you.
-Thank you. -Hi, I have a prospect that
doesn’t want to be a client, but wants to invest in my company,
do I have a problem? -Why doesn’t he want
to be your client? -I don’t know. He says he doesn’t need me, but he wants to invest in my company. -Ok.
-Is it a good or bad investor? -I think a good question to ask him is “Who should be my client
if it’s not you?” And if he makes a smart answer, and he teaches you something :
he is a good investor. If it’s not, teaching you anything, he’s a bad investor. It’s easy. Maybe he understands
something about you, that you did not get yourself.
In that case he’s a good investor. Or maybe he’s just a random guy
that has way too much money, and he just wants to play around,
in that case forget it. What do you want to say? By the way, so many people
love to tell others that they can invest, and they never invest. Because they love the feeling of,
talking about investment. Like sex, there are some people that talk all day long about it,
but they never do anything. Same thing. You can’t imagine how many,
Tinder investors you have. They swipe right on everyone,
at the end they never decide if they’ll
do something or not. And they never do something Pay attention to that also. It’s not because they say that
they can invest, that they will invest. -Thanks. -How did you bootstrap TheFamily? Can you tell us, the story? Without money, without cash… -We started TheFamily with 100 euros. Lots of tricks and lots of tips. Instead of taking an office, Alice and I were
living in an apartment that was used as an office. So our rent became our office. Doing TheFamily or not,
we needed a place to live. So it was a good optimization. Alice had an apartment,
she put it on Airbnb. So she was making money putting her apartment on Airbnb
and living in the office. So you see, first tip. The second thing we were doing is that the room, the apartment was big enough so we
could put a room on Airbnb. And we were sleeping in the living room. And so we were making
more money with the room as an asset, because
the office was an asset. It was like, we were doing
3 or 4 thousands a month. It was more than enough to eat,
have the first intern, things like that. What? Before product market fit. That’s the point,
we had the product market fit on Day one,
because we launched TheFamily. And one day after, we had 300 startups applying. It was obvious that the product
market fit was there. After that we started to do events,
and consulting. Consulting was horrible, but we made some money from it. The good thing is that
we were crazy enough to talk back to the client
we were consulting for. It was the kind of relationship
where you tell people “You will pay me
and I will tell you your shit.” And people were like, what? So, we started to lose
every consulting gig we had, it was a good thing. There was a defining moment, we were growing on the startup side, bigger and bigger,
only doing money with opportunities like that,
and we were crazy. I have a friend that wanted to, sell his company to SNCF. So I told him I could
introduce him to the CEO of SNCF and if it works,
I’ll take a commission. And we made money like that. Of course we didn’t know the CEO of SNCF, but we were like, “yeah
we’ll send him an email and he will reply”, he did not reply. So we took everyone we knew that had friends working at SNCF and we had them
forward the same email To the CEO of SNCF and he received 500 emails. So eventually he called me,
and was like “Can you stop?” I was like:
“Only if you listen to me Sir. I need only 5 min
with you over the phone” and we saw him the next day. The company got sold,
we did 100,000 dollars . And so after 6 months,
because of all this craziness, traction, blah blah blah,
we fundraised. It is funny because,
when we fundraised, we had 6 months of cash
because we spent it very fast, and we thought “what to do?” We wanted to change the location,
because it became too small. In 9 months the apartment was way too small, and we visited
the place here. When we visited that place,
we were looking for Four hundred meters square,
and here is 1200 meters square. And the guy told us
“If you want to take that place, you need to sign a 200,000 cheque.” And we had 4,000
on the bank account. The overdraft authorization
was of 50,000. And so what did we do?
Alice was like “I feel it, that’s our place. There’re such good vibes.” Yeah but it’s 30,000. Yeah, but we will find the money. Fuck it, I was like
yeah fuck it. I took the cheque slip, and I wrote a cheque. So, first tip,
because we didn’t have the money, I needed to have time,
so instead of… It was in March 2014, and I wrote the cheque, March 2013. So the cheque went to the bank,
and because of the 1 year limit, it got back to him,
so it got deposited, accepted, refused because of the date,
so no other draft on your account. Very good tips. It got back to him,
and that took 4 weeks. Because banks are so slow
in that process, that we had 4 weeks. And after he came and said:
“Oh you made a mistake on the date” “You know, I’m such a stupid.” And so I did another cheque. And that time,
after 4 weeks we had an idea, of what to do,
we created Koudetat and we wanted to sell
Koudetat. So we did a website,
and pitched all over the place. And we were telling everyone,
“there is a secret location of Koudetat.” Really secret location? “Yes, but it’s very expensive to access it
it will also be a club.” And so we needed,
three weeks more to sell it. I did another cheque, at that time
the guy looked over the cheque 3 times. Even if he didn’t think
I did that on purpose, he was like “that guy is so stupid, I’ll check everything”,
so the check was gone. What I did was that
I called the bank. And I told them “there is a cheque
about to come on the bank account” and there is a procedure you can use
to put it on hold for 2 weeks. That procedure is called payment in waiting, it’s a very old banking procedure
if you can prove that you will have the money
to pay the cheque, and if you can give
confidence to the bank, it cannot accept
or refuse a cheque for 2 weeks. And it can put the cheque on hold
for 2 weeks, they hate that, so it was a negotiation thing. “Look, you love us
TheFamily is doing great, We need that place,
don’t have the cash yet, But I need only 2 weeks. So put it on hold for 2 weeks.” So she put the cheque on hold, and the guys was calling
his bank everyday, « Why doesn’t the cheque appear
on the bank account?” But the reason was not that
there was no money. Because it was on hold. So he was thinking that
his bank had a problem. We were
doing a visit for the worker and the guy was like
“banks are so horrible. The cheque,
they don’t know where it is.” It doesn’t appear
on his bank account. I say “that is so strange
because we’ve been already debited off the check. Poor guy. In 2 week we built Koudetat, we sold for 250,000. The money started to come
into the account, I think we had
something like 110,, It was not enough for the check. Because money was
coming in every day. The bank just said “forget it. we will just take it”,
and the problem was that it was great, we had
250 euro of revenue. Two hundred for guaranteed deposit. But it was empty. Here it was like, all was closed, and there was nothing,
and it was ugly. You have to watch Koudetat video. You will see that the first video, there is nothing on the ground. And there was so much dust, that people who paid €250. They came to that dust place. And some people
started to complain. I was like
“Are you an entrepreneur or not? That’s part of the adventure. Always keep your client on track.” What happened was
that we needed more money. And we couldn’t do 10 Koudetat so the good thing is because
we took the place, And because we did Koudetat, and because
we did 250 in 4 weeks, we fundraised a million
in 3 weeks. What I was doing was that
I would take an investor, he was making a visit, and I was thinking we
took that with our revenue. And we need money for, you know
working and furniture. And everybody was going down
and writing a cheque. Those people are crazy
and they will be successful. It was way too big for us. And the only way to grow is that sometimes you need
to go one step further. Now I tell that the funny way,
the truth is that, during those 7 weeks, no one in our team slept. And I’ve never been
stressed like during those 7 weeks. Sometimes it was 3 am or 4 am. And everyone was sending emails
or talking to everyone one by one to convince them
to buy Koudetat. Alice was like “you know Oussama, maybe that time
we went too far.” No no, of course not. And in my mind, I was like
“of course we went way too far.” And that’s why you
need a great team. Because you need people
to cheer you up each other,
because if not you’ll die. And everyone that lived that in our team
has a very cherishfull moment of that. At that time we had 3 employees. And I remember telling them, “I have to tell you something,
in 4 weeks, I have no idea how
I’ll pay your salary. If you want to leave us now”
and people were like “What do you mean?”
“Yeah with Alice we found a new office, and we signed and did a cheque, If it goes well it’s fine
if it doesn’t go well, we don’t have any money
to pay your salary.” “Ok, that’s fine,
thank you for telling me.” And that’s the kind of employee
to have at the beginning. I think now in the team
if I said that to people, people would burn us. It will not be the same
kind of spirit. -On the Koudetat landing page
you put some tweets as testimonials. You fake it until you make it, or…
-No It was all true, but it was not
testimonials about Koudetat, there were testimonials
about our videos online. All of them were real,
it was just, it was a smart use, a different use
of them. Of course these people
did not have paid to listen to us, but they were
happy with what they heard. So it was not a total fake, but it was a smart use
of our community. -You asked them to write the–
-Yeah, sure sure No, no, no because there are tweets. That’s the good thing with tweets,
you can track them. And they are all tweets.
We did not ask them to write them, we asked
them to put it online. And to use it in Koudetat. Even if the tweet
was not for Koudetat. And they were comfortable
with that. And the tweet was real. Thank you, see you soon.

15 thoughts on “Bootstrapping Like a Boss, Oussama Ammar, Partner at TheFamily

  1. koukoucmoa Post author

    Quelqu'un pourrait me dire le nom de la musique de l'intro svp ? elle est géniale

    Reply
  2. florian lachaud Post author

    Je trouve un peu dommage que cette conférence ne soit pas en Français, vous qui promouvez l'entrepreneuriat en France. Mettez au moins des sous titres en place s'il vous plait (en attendant que j’apprenne l'anglais). J'adore vos vidéos, vous me passionnez mais quelqu'un pourrait il dire à Oussama qu'il se trompe des fois c'est un peu chiant qu'il ai raison tout le temps..

    Reply
  3. Mallory M Post author

    I heard that Microsoft also bootstrapped, though for how long I'm not sure.

    Reply
  4. Merveil MUDEKUZA Post author

    Vraiment ca devrait etre en francais ou mettez les sous titrage en francais!!!

    Reply
  5. 3,14 1,618 Post author

    Oussama je T'aime !

    Si je lève des fonds je te donne tout !

    Les gens qui ne parlent pas Anglais n'auront plus de problème incessamment sous peu !

    J'attends mon 70D et je monte cela !

    Reply
  6. Pizza Sloth Post author

    totm5tmťtmtt5tmťtmtttťtmttmttttttt:mttttttmt5tmtttmtttmtmttmt:mttmttt5tmtmt5tttťtmtmtttmttmtttttttttmťttmmtt5to tmtttttmt:t:tmtmtttmťtmtmtmtttttttmttmttttttmtttmťtt:t:tmtmtmtťtmtťt:mťmtmmtttťtmttmtmtt:tmtttmtttmťtmttmtmttťttmtmtmtttmtmttmttt;ttmtttt:ttťtmťtmttttmtt5mťtt:ttm5tmttťtmmtmmtmttmtttmt:tmtmtmtmtmttm5tmttmttttmttt5t:tmtttttmttťtmtmtmttttmttttmtt5tmttttmtttmttt:tmmt5t5tmtťtmtttmttt:tm5mtmtmmmtmttttmtmtttttttttt5ttmttttt:turntable:TNT:titty:tmtmttmttmtttmt:ttmttmtmtmtťtmmtmm5tmtmttttttmttt:tmmtťtmtmmmtttmtttmmttmtmttttmťtt:Trent;mtttmtmttttmttmttttmtmttťmtttmm5tmtmtmt:tmtmtmtmtmtttmttmttmtt:tmtttmt5tmtttmmtmtmtmtmttttttttmmtmtmmttmtťttmtt5ttttmtmttttt:Taryn tttmtttmttmmmt:ttmttttm5tmtmttmtmttttmtmttmttmtmttmtttmt:t:ttttmtmtttmtm5tmtmtmttmtmtmttttmt:tmttmt5t:TNT;tmmmttmt5t:ttmtttmt:t;tttmtmtmtmtmtt:tmtmmtmmtmttmtmttmtmttmttmtttmmtmtmtmttmttmttm5ttmtmt5t:Taryn tmmttmtt;tmtttťttmtt5tmtmttt;tmtmtmttmttmtmttmtmtmttmttmtttmmtmttm5tmtmtťtmťtmttmmtmtttmtmmť:tmťttmmttmttmtmtt;tmttmtm5t:try:tmtmtmtmtmttmtmtt5tmtttttmttm5mtmttmtmtmttt:tm5ttmtmtmttmtmtmt:ttmttmtttmtmtmťtmt;t:tmtmtmtmtmttttmtm:ttťttmmtmtmttt:tmtmtt:to:tmttmmtmm:t;non-intrusive:t;mtmttmtmt:mtttmtmtt:to;to: turntable:time 5tmmt:tmtmmttm5t:tmttmttktm5mtmtmtmttt: tmmtmmttmtmmktmtmtmm:tmtmtt:t:tmttmtmmťtmtm5tt 5tmttttmttttm:t:t;that:t;tmtmttm:tttmtmtmtmtmtttmtmttmmmtmt mmtmttmtmtmtmtmtmttt:the tmttmttmtmtmttmttmttmtťtmm t:tmmmtttttmtmtmtmt5tmtmttm:turn mtmttt:Tom:tmtmmttmttmtmmtmtttm;term:turntable:ttmtmm:tmtmmtmtt;mtmtmtmtmtmtmttm tmtmtmťt:my;tmttmttmtmtmtmtttttmtmmtm;mtmtttmmmtttmmttttmtt:ttmtmtmttmt;t;tmmtttmmtmmttmtmtmmtmtttm5tmtttmtmttmtt:tmmtmtmtmtmmttmttmtmmtmtmmt5t:tmmtmmmtmtmmtttmttmt:tktttmmttmtmtmt t tttmtmmmtmtmtmtmttmttttmtttmttmmttttmt:turntable;ttmtmtmtmmttmtmtmmtmmtmttmmt:tmtmtmtťtmtt5tmq

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  7. Philippe Larcher Post author

    Pencil in space = conductive graphite dust everywhere 😉

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  8. mc maurice Post author

    menez-vous à l'anglais les mecs, le français c'est pas une langue pour le business d'une, à cause de sa construction et du schémas de pensé, sans parler de sa complexité, et ce sera plus facile pour vous car les meilleurs infos, tutos, sont en anglais. En plus sa vous ouvrira les yeux car vous sortirez de votre bulle pour regarder avec un autre oeil ce qu"est la france et les français. Sinon rabattez vous sur les autres videos d'oussama qui sont en français il y en a plein en plus il répète chaque fois les même choses à force de toute les regarder vous serez il rabâche souvent les même example d'une vidéos à l'autre.

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  9. Lars Larsen Post author

    NASA didn't develop the pen. Some private entrepreneur did. NASA didn't spend any money on it at all, and they got a free pen.

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  10. alex kampa Post author

    40:00 – paying suppliers late. Sorry, not an honest business practice.

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  11. Gibran Registe-Charles Post author

    Love your stories, very different than the normal, this I can relate too.

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  12. Guillaume Palacios Post author

    1:17:00 Good question about Very High Tech companies (Deep Tech) but I wouldn't have chosen the example of Facebook in the early days. It was, at the time of the Harvard's years, a relatively basic php website. What was new and innovative was the concept, the use. A better example of a Deep Tech company would be Deep Mind or Tesla and I guess these types of companies do require excellent people and some amount of cash from the very beginning. It's not the same to build the next generation of electric cars than to copy-cat Deliveroo or Uber Eats. At least that's my naive opinion. Critics and comments are welcome. Thanks.

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  13. AniishAu Post author

    @ Oussama's advice–to delegate strengths–was in particular for pre-market fit. I think post market fit, and even more so in later stages, Oussama can afford himself the luxury of doing whatever he wants. Of course, if he chooses to follow good practices, more power to him.

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  14. Philippe Larcher Post author

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-nasa-spen/

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