I’ve been doing the startup thing for about a year now. 365 days. Seems not too long. But I have to say that i experienced so much. Looking back, I feel stupid for thinking that I could do this. But i’m a year wiser and I understand the flow of the startup scene here in Seoul, Korea.
It’s pretty safe to say that most cities have their own take on what the startup scene should look like. Seoul is different from the states. Seoul is small. But it’s super dense. So most people pretty much know each other. And the startup culture in Seoul isn’t as developed. So a lot of the venture capitalists/angel investors can take advantage of startup founders.
If I had to clone myself and send my clone back in time, this would be my advice.
1. Don’t quit your job till you and your co-founders have a product. It doesn’t even have to be a beta version. But have to have something to show. Can’t just shop around a deck and expect people to give you money.
2. Test your work environment and team chemistry with your co founders. I started Mashups with two other co founders. Unfortunately, I had to kick one of my co founders out a few months ago. I’m a big believer in the “team is better than product” saying.
3. Eat ramen and don’t buy anything. Don’t buy equipment, computers, furniture. Just bring stuff from home. Money burns fast as a startup and you need to make each Dollar or Won count.
4. Get an office. I know i said that money burns fast, but the work space is essential. Hard to focus at a coffeeshop. And when you pay rent, the whole team’s mentality gets serious. Everyone has to give 110%. Everyone on the team has to go all in. And paying rent give you a great work space for the team, and gets everyone to go all in.
5. Sell your family. You have to get your family to really believe in your startup. This is really important. There were times when i cried by myself. I was so stressed and scared. If My wife and my family didn’t support my crazy ass decision, I think i would have quit. And that’s the key to increase your odds. Survival. Just survival for that next pitch. Survive for the next meeting, lead, etc…