Start-up Wisdom from a Founder Wizard

This week PIE hosted Gary Herman, founder and President of Jabico Enterprises, who shared with us his path to creating a successful start-up which included his recent experience as a graduate of the Founder Institute (one of the fastest growing business incubator’s in Silicon Valley).

Gary discussed the opportunities that today’s young entrepreneurs have to start their own business and get funding, especially with secondary markets heating up in the bay area. In addition to increased resources for funding, the amount of meet-ups and incubation programs that are geared towards connecting people and ideas is growing by leaps and bounds.

One PIE attendee asked, “But what about the threat of people at these meet-ups stealing my IP!?!”

Gary answered that it’s important to keep the “secret sauce” confidential, but the only way to develop an idea is to share it. Getting feedback from others, recruiting co-founders and contractors, fund-raising, and most of all promotion and marketing all demand that you openly share your idea with others. For those that ask too much about the “secret sauce”, offer to tell them more after you get a term sheet. In the long run, it’s not the idea that counts – it’s the execution of the idea and ability to pivot that matter more. An idea has little to no value on its own. As an example, we talked about Facebook.

What if you had the exact same idea for Facebook before it existed? Would you be able to re-create its success with users worldwide? Possibly, but the odds are certainly against you. It comes down to execution! Gary encouraged PIE interns to explore their networks, engage in meet-ups and get used to the concept of sharing ideas.

Gary’s latest venture at the Founders institute, Staff Spring, is aimed towards helping businesses hire better and faster. He stressed the importance of re-visiting business models over time and pivoting to more refined models as more data and information flows in. Sticking to a failing business model is akin to staying on a sinking ship; fail fast – don’t waste time, and always look for the pivot.

Below is a list of meet-up opportunities for people interested in joining/founding a start-up.

Meet-up resources that Gary suggests:

Hacker Dojo – Mountain View, get on their mailing list, they hold amazing events for startups; great place to meet founders and work with other startups.

www.meetup.com – tons of meetups in the bay area, great resource for getting connected with what’s happening.

– CoFounder Meetup

– Startup University

– Etc…

www.founderinstitute.com – the business incubation facility I went through, amazing program

Udemy – http://www.udemy.com/

Academy of You – Online learning, great resource for startup training sessions and videos from Startup University

Books for business students who want a base in coding and software development:

http://amzn.to/hEggpH – Head First: Software Development, great book on the software development process.

http://amzn.to/e7dExP – Code Complete, another excellent book on software development.

http://amzn.to/fJFuc2 – PHP and MySQL Development, excellent book for getting started with web development.

http://amzn.to/fcakDN – Business Model Generation, a must read – recommended by several angels and vc’s

http://amzn.to/dXLWcx – 4 Steps to the Epiphany – most founders use this book as a guide, highly recommended by startups for startups.

Start-up Law Resources

http://www.startupcompanylawyer.com/ – Startup Company Lawyer, excellent resource for startup law

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