If a six-city tour of entrepreneurship was going to yield anything beyond connections and traded business card, it was lessons.
But since lessons can be fleeting unless they’re put in practice, Technical.ly published — and recently updated — a 20,000 word, 20-chapter ebook called the Tomorrow Toolkit with support from Comcast NBCUniversal. As we browsed through its pages, we found these pieces of advice from Philly’s tech crowd.
Brock Weatherup has been on both sides of the equation. He founded a Philadelphia ecommerce company Pet360 that was acquired by PetSmart for more than $130 million, and became an angel investor. He places importance on both whether the market is big enough for size and scale required to make a return, as well as whether the product is solving a true pain point. A third consideration is the entrepreneur herself.
“Do I believe in the person who’s trying to do it? Because whatever business plan you’re going to present to me, it’s going to be wrong. And I know it’s going to be wrong and everyone knows it’s going to be wrong. But how are you going to react when you figure out it is wrong?” he said.
Rather than hide behind her identity, Stacey Mosley of Philadelphia-based Fixlist found a direct approach worked best. “I found that journalists are really interested in the human story and I think customers really are as well, and that has really proven to be fruitful,” she said.
And also, if you’re going to listen to anyone on the failure front, you could do a lot worse than Bob Moul.
In late 2015, Moul was the CEO of Artisan Mobile, a backend platform startup with 16 employees. His plan was to build “a major, permanent software company in Philadelphia,” but that plan didn’t pan out. They weren’t acquiring paying customers fast enough. Not only that, after he sold the company that summer, he wasn’t able to repay all his investors. He could have kept private about the details, calling the acquisition a win. But he didn’t. (…) “I had heard of the death spiral,” he said. “I had never seen the death spiral personally. This is not a fun place to be.”