Friday, August 2, 2019

Tren Griffin's "A Dozen Lessons for Entrepreneurs" - 15 Selected Highlights

A Dozen Lessons for Entrepreneurs - Tren Griffin


  • John Doerr chapter: When you find a clear bet with a big upside and a relatively small downside (i.e., convexity), bet big! That will not happen very often, but when it does, you must be ready to act aggressively. The wise investor is patient but aggressive when the time is right. (Location 1564)
  • Paul Graham chapterBy seeking novelty, a startup can sometimes find hidden convexity. In other words, convexity is most likely to be found in places where there is a lot of uncertainty and ignorance. (Location 1928)
  • Naval Ravikant chapter: Why is experimentation so important in an economy? Because experimentation is the best way to deal with complex, adaptive systems, such as the economy. (Location 3933)
  • Naval Ravikant chapter...tinkering needs to be convex; it is imperative…. Critically what is desired is to have the option, not the obligation, to keep the result, which allows us to retain the upper bound and be unaffected by adverse outcomes. (Location 3940)


  • Steve Blank chapter: “Products developed with senior management out in front of customers early and often win. Products handed off to a sales and marketing organization that has only been tangentially involved in the new product development process lose. It’s that simple.” (Location 301) 
  • Steve Blank chapter“The company that consistently makes and implements decisions rapidly gains a tremendous, often decisive, competitive advantage.” (Location 328)
  • Steve Blank chapterWhat matters is having forward momentum and a tight, fact-based data–metrics feedback loop to help you quickly recognize and reverse any incorrect decisions. That’s why startups are agile. By the time a big company gets the committee to organize the subcommittee to pick a meeting date, your startup could have made twenty decisions, reversed five of them, and implemented the fifteen that worked. (Location 330)


  • Keith Rabois chapter“There are two categories of good people: there is ammunition and there are barrels. You can add all the ammunition you want, but if you only have five barrels in your company, you can literally only do five things simultaneously. If you add one barrel, you can suddenly do a sixth; if you add another, you can do seven. So finding those barrels that you can shoot through is key.” (Location 3789)
  • Heidi Roizen chapter: The key to the success of a business is generating positive feedback loops, and hiring the very best people is arguably the most important positive feedback loop of all. (Location 4096)
  • Fred Wilson chapter“Putting together the initial team, creating the culture, and instilling the mission and values into the team are all like designing and building the initial product.” (Location 4464)


  • Peter Thiel chapterCharlie Munger has said that he seeks “intellectual humility” and has pointed out that “acknowledging what you don’t know is the dawning of wisdom.” (Location 4372)
  • Steve Blank chapterPsychological denial can be very powerful. People who want something badly often just pretend they have created something consumers will want to buy when there is no evidence that this is the case since the reality is too terrible to contemplate. (Location 323)
  • Reid Hoffman chapterSome people learn from mistakes better than others and make mostly new mistakes rather than repeating old ones. If you learn from mistakes, you will have a better life. Being a learning machine pays big dividends. It is wise to be a learn it-all-rather than a know-it-all. (Location 2402)

Value-add VC's

  • Sam Altman chapterIf the founders have a very good idea for a business, have a strong team, and have targeted an attractive market, money will not be the scarcest ingredient in creating a successful business. What will be scarce is value-added capital (investors who can genuinely supply the business with more than money). (Location 808)
  • Rich Barton chapterRather than just raising cash as they grow their businesses, the smartest entrepreneurs select venture capitalists who can deliver valuable services. The best venture capitalists have access to the best networks, which further amplifies their value. Money is not the scarcest resource when you have an attractive business idea and a strong team in a huge market or potential market. (Location 1205)