Steve Vachani, founder and CEO of Power.com, is a serial entrepreneur. He's experienced how to maintain a company, particularly in rough times. In this episode of Lessons Learned, he shares some key entrepreneurial wisdom.
Lesson 1- Do not start a company with the people sitting next to you
Vachani explained the first mistake you can make is to start a company with the people sitting next to you, such as your best friend, or the people you share your ideas with. Asking for advice from somebody is much different than bringing them on as your co-founder. Vachani emphasized the idea that the first five people to work in the company will shape the entire company, thus you need to make very careful decisions on the first set of people you hire to shape your company. He also advises to avoid politics.
Everybody believes in what they are doing. When you get smart people that are all passionate it’s very easy for people to disagree. It’s harder to respect each other after those disagreements. Especially when your close friends with your co-founder. This is how startups get divided — through emotions, passions, and disagreements.
Lesson 2—You have an advantage if you’ve failed before
As a serial entrepeneur, Vachani has fallen and gotten back up plenty of times. Vachani has found himself to have a second sense. He shares that once you have this second sense you have an ability to make decisions that are not logical. People may tell you to go in one direction, but by having prior experience, you have the instinct to take another direction. This comes from falling on your face many times. Sometimes, its not so cut and dry and there isn’t always the luxury to have an answer to every problem that needs to be solved. Thus you need to trust your instincts and make smart decisions under pressure.
Lesson 3—On investments made during these hard time
“Good companies are good companies," he said. "I have a great company, a great team, and a realistic plan on how we are going to break even. Investors are going to continue to invest in good companies, they are just going to provide investments based on market conditions and the market realities of today. We can’t cling to the past, we have to accept the realities of the moment.”
Editor's Note: This interview was conducted before the Facebook lawsuit against Power.com