I judge a lot of startup competitions.
And especially at the university level, most of the ideas I hear are … well, how do I put this nicely . . . not quite fully formed.
In fact, when I first heard Caitie pitch me the Socket Lock-it, a combination card holder and phone grip, I remember thinking “that will never work”. Which is why I am so excited to announce that:
Episode five of the That Will Never Work podcast is available today.
It’s now 2-1/2 years later, and Caitie’s back, but this time with some very concrete progress to report; Not only has she received a patent for her product but more significantly, she’s just gotten a million-dollar-plus order from one of the nations’ biggest retailers.
This obviously changes the game. To start, she is going to need more help, but should she bring on employees or contractors? She is going to need more space, but how much, and more importantly, on what terms? To pay for all those things, she will need to raise additional money. But how: Equity? Venture debt? Small business loans?
Great problems to have, right? But these are all problems that can be paralyzing for an entrepreneur faced not with searching for a single good option, but instead figuring out which of many possible good options is the best one.
I won’t spoil it for you here,* but in the episode, I explain to Caitie the framework that I use for working through these kinds of problems; First, always optimize for flexibility, but second, before you even do that, take some time to figure out where you’re ultimately trying to go. Only then can you figure out the best way to get there.
All the best,
*If my obvious attempt to bait you into listening to my podcast didn’t work, check out my blog to learn why I think optimizing for flexibility is a critical skill for early companies.