Skip to main content

Asking for Help Sooner Could’ve Saved a Month of Startup Paralysis

I met a couple entrepreneurs recently through a mutual friend who are building an iOS app. They’ve outsourced development, and have very little knowledge of coding despite being a technology company. (“Uh oh,” comes to mind.)

They were very enthusiastic about meeting, and before entering, I thought we’d talk about their project and what I’m doing… general first-date talk. But instead, it quickly became a “please help fix this bug!” session.

After ~30 minutes of studying the code, I was able to solve their issue. They were so excited because they had been stuck for over a month!

A few details about this that made me shocked…
  • They have an office at Atlanta Tech Village. In a startup co-working space with the tagline “Engineered Serendipity”, entrepreneurs are surrounded by lots of technical talent. Finding help shouldn’t be hard.
  • Of course, you need to ask for help. As entrepreneurs, we have egos; so doing things ourselves can be the preferred route. However, we’re obviously not good at EVERYTHING, and it’s well worth our time (speed is key in startups!) to ask help from the experts.
  • If you’re starting a technology company, know technology; or at the minimum, have a technical team member. Substituting your team with outside, paid resources in lieu of long-term technical talent is a big risk – especially should he/ she leave, like the situation here.
  • Help comes from everywhere, not just the startup world. I met our mutual friend from Starbucks, and she, aside from us, does not have connections to the tech startup community here. Yet, she knew her friends needed help, so introduced us.
Entrepreneurs and others alike would do well to ask for help more often and build up a diverse support network to augment their “shortcomings”.

Where have you received help from someone you didn’t expect? What did you do to get connected with others to either give help or receive help?

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Vertical SaaS? Horizontal SaaS? It’s All News to Me

Not sure why, but I have only recently heard of a term called “Vertical SaaS”. Okay, there’s also “Horizontal SaaS”, too. Based on some light research, looks like vertical SaaS is also a growing trend and the number of companies fewer than horizontal SaaS providers.
Vertical SaaS borrows its moniker from the concept of vertical integration whereby there is more control over a supply chain from raw materials to point-of-sale. Here, vertical SaaS companies focus on a niche market (industry) offering a solution that enables more process control.
Horizontal SaaS providers get really good at a particular offering, and widen their market to reach scale. Their focus is on breadth of market, and thus, its sales and marketing strategies can require more resources.
Many vertical SaaS companies (such as Veeva Systems, Guidewire, Fleetmatics) are doing well usurping legacy systems of traditionally slow-tech-adoption industries. Here, vertical companies develop a best-of-breed product, and focu…

My Life-Defining Moment Happened When I Failed to Make Varsity in High School

Ever stop to think about who you are? What makes you tick and tock? How about what you truly enjoy and what you’re good at vs. not good at? Or what/ who has shaped you into the person you are today?
I’m at this stage of figuring out whether to continue independent consulting while iterating on ideas for the next startup or take on some full-time employment (consulting, product management, or otherwise). My recent post about my daily/ weekly schedule was an interesting exercise in stepping back and recognizing what I’m actually doing in a day, and made me really think at the macro level.
In one of my recent reflections, I thought about defining moments in my life. One of those watershed events that truly transformed me was my failure to make the Varsity soccer team in high school. I won’t rehash the whole story here – shared the story almost a year ago in my post titled “Getting Through Dark Moments and the Most Vulnerable Story I've Ever Told Publicly”. It’s this moment that I w…

Role of A Startup Advisor

Over the last year or so, I have become an Advisor for a couple startups. It’s been a great experience for me to teach and continue learning as an entrepreneur. I do meet with several startups and entrepreneurs weekly, but not officially as an Advisor save for a couple.
During (and especially after) Body Boss, I realized the importance of having Advisors. Advisors help startups and the executive team navigate the go-to-market waters bringing specific experience to the table – industry, technology, etc. With that comes connections, too.
The role of a startup Advisor includes: Guiding the startup on its directionProvide valuable insight into the industry, competition, market, etc.Share connections to move the company forward – prospects, new hire candidates, otherEstablish cadence around metrics for progress In exchange for devoting time and attention (and reaching success, hopefully), startups typically provide stock or cash to Advisors. This ensures both parties are aligned on objecti…