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Berman talks macro trends and competition, picking the right team, and believing in your project
4) Be aware. As in-- of macro trends, "Everyone talks about first mover advantage. I disagree. I like second and third mover advnatge. Look at the macro environment, see what’s working," said Berman. "In my first startup, we were aware of all the other startups in our field… We realized that 94% of commerce was happening at Target, Walmart, etc."
Berman explained that Beachmint was born out of that understanding, which makes sense considering the push from the get-go to make Beachmint an all-inclusive brand for everything from fashion and shoes to home goods and lingerie.
5) Be part of a great team. "Your team and teammates are what makes the unit. You have to surround yourself with a great team, and with people you enjoy working with since they’re going to be working with you 14-18 hours a day." Berman related a story about the early days of MySpace when his team decided to hire an engineer who essentially came in and told them everything that was wrong with the site and how he would fix it.
The importance of the team is a sentiment that's often revisited by VCs and successful entrepreneurs. It seems like a cliche, but a startup is only going to be as good as the people running it. Playfish CEO Paul Thelen, who also spoke at Vator Splash LA Thursday night, described how he hired a team that was overqualified for their jobs so that the company could grow to fit them.
There are even investors like Saad Khan of CMEA who go so far as to say they will invest in a team before that team even has an idea, with the understanding that even if the idea doesn't pan out, the team will be smart enough to fix it or go in a different direction.
6) Believe (& enjoy the ride): "You make your own breaks, believe in yourself and whatever the outcome, enjoy it," said Berman, who also spoke to the power of networking and setting out to make happenstance happen (he didn't use those words, I'm being liberal with my paraphrasing).
"Once you believe in your project, your partners and you become immersed in what you’re doing," said Berman, who moved on to how to keep the passion alive when your business is moving quickly and you find yourself having to make a lot of fast moves. "I make a lot of decisions very quickly. I make about 10 important decisions a day, and I might make five bonehead decisions, but if I make two or three really good decisions, they’ll make up for the bad ones. People who move faster and work hard, get stuff done."
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