“The Startup Whisperer” Gives It Up in His New Book, Build the Fort



/Beth Wareham

Chris Heivly has earned his place at the startup table.(http://www.inc.com/author/chris-heivly)

He sold MapQuest to AOL for 1.2 billion and is now a co-founder and director of The Startup Factory, a seed-stage investor and mentoring program in the exploding East Coast start-up environment.

Below are just a few of Chris’s wise observations. The only way to have them all, of course, is to purchase BUILD THE FORT. (Click on title to buy.)

This book is so simple and clear, you could use it to start a lemonade stand or begin manufacturing rocket engine parts. Chris uses the simple analogy of putting together a fort with his childhood friends and how the same principals guide how he builds companies today. It’s part Who Moved My Cheese?, part Lean Startup.

Being a CEO is about finding creative ways to gather resources with little or no cash.

I will never make a seed or early-stage investment based on research from Gartner, Forrester or IDC.

Data is awesome and your first chance to separate your idea from the other startup ideas.

There is a large benefit — at this stage of the company — to have everyone within shouting distance from each other.

I have the same passion for office furniture that some women have for shoes.

Shoot too big and you never get enough data, traction and momentum to get anyone interested.

Think in three month chunks and ask yourself, “what do I need to get me to that three month milestone.

. . . yes you can solve every single one of your mini-walls but eventually you run out of energy.

Find a way to gather the critical parts as quickly and cheaply as possible.

There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think to myself, “Chris — you needed to spend more time on acquiring customers.

Feel secure in the opportunity to create customer momentum with a realistic number of initial customers.

Raising investment dollars on an idea today is foolish.

The rest of us need to raise money based on data and traction.

Dreamers fail because they could not execute fast enough.

Winners optimize time by concentrating on the parts of the business that are critical at this immediate moment.

Your asset gathering tasks must be in sync with what the team can accomplish without losing energy, traction or momentum.

There is no room in a startup for perfection freaks.

Your vision as perfect as it appears is unattainable at this startup moment.

It takes an awfully self-aware startup CEO to navigate these waters effectively.

The more I jump the easier each jump gets.</strong

If you can’t actually go through Chris’s program at The Startup Factory ,
buy Build the Fort. It’s the next best thing to being there.

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