Ray Ozzie appeared out of the Seattle mist today to share a very important lesson of startups and of business in general. He shared the story of how Lotus Notes started – and it sounded a lot like other stories I’ve heard about successful startups – at one moment they were hanging by a thread, and depended upon an idea and some money to bring their visions to life. They succeeded because of a relentless focus on customers, usability, and revenue.
All of the 10 companies introduced by the Techstars program have the chance to be as big (or bigger than) Lotus Notes. And only some of them will succeed. But the opportunity to build a big company is intoxicating – that was the promise today at TechStars Demo Day. Here’s one of the companies I particularly liked, Apptentive – they focus on a key problem to help in-app mobile customers build a relationship with the app provider. (I also really like Tred, Glider, and Linksy.)
And the first step (getting investors to believe in you) is going to be closely followed by the “trough of misplaced expectations”, where the shiny presentations of TechStars are going to be met by actual customers. Just like companies are looking for investors to believe in the team, these nascent companies are looking for customers that believe in them … And to use them. Continue reading “Success is getting one person to believe in you”