The book The Startup Owner’s Manual 1 has a lot of practical tips to increase the chances of success at your startup. Here are some notes from Chapters 4 and 5 from the book.

Questions to ask

  • Have we identified a problem a customer wants to see solved?
  • Does our product solve this problem?
  • Do we have a viable and profitable business model?
  • Have we learned enough to go out and sell?
  • What do I want to learn? What is the simplest pass/fail test I can design to test this?


  • Develop the product for the few, not the many.
  • Find the earlyvangelists (sic). Earlyvangelists are willing to pay for the product. The buying process can be tested with the earlyvangelists.
  • Look for people solving the problem with a homegrown solution.
  • After developing the MVP features, delay new features until the MVP features are not attracting new customers.
  • Gather a massive and growing audience efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • Become #1 in something: product attribute, territory, distribution channel/retailer, or customer base.
  • Segment the market: age, income, or region.
  • Winners understand why customers buy.
  • Commission Junction referrals usually $12/referral.
  • worth investigating.
  • Provisional patents are good for 1 year and cheap relative to the 20-50k patent price.
  • On “get out of the building” (and talk to customers): Don’t confuse motion with action. It takes a lot of meetings to generate a few meaningful conversations.


General guidelines on user engagement

  • 30% of registered users will use the service each month
  • 10% of registered users will use the service each day
  • Concurrent users seldom exceed 10% of daily active users