Death by a Thousand Coffees

Some day, I’m gonna write a book!  The title of said book will be “Death by a Thousand Coffees” and will describe the life of an early stage founder and in particular a challenge to overcome inertia, believe in yourself, trust your gut, and make that leap because you know deep down you can and must do it.

Here’s an abbreviated first chapter, because let’s be honest, I’m never going to write a whole book.

Chapter 1: Unsolicited advice for any entrepreneur.  Treat your time like it is oxygen in a sealed room.  Time is the currency of startup land, and it’s finite and precious.

One of my most insightful and blunt Mentors gave me some tough love one day early on this road.  He told me to STOP.  Stop taking coffee meetings with people.  Stop reaching out, stop driving all over town, and stop listening to the advice of so many other people.   He said it was giving me founder whiplash; my head and my wheels spinning spectacularly.

Note: the irony of such a statement coming in the form of more advice was not lost on me in that moment, which I pointed out, but he was so earnest, he didn’t deviate or even crack a smile.

Yep, I had to STOP doing things that didn’t focus on two things:  Cash and Customers.

I had to STOP looking for validation from more smart thinkers, and instead hire the smart doers who could execute.

And I had to stop living so far in the future that I was enamored with would surely be, and start knocking out product and results.

So there you have it.  My success, while it can be attributed to caffeine, as no doubt can also be said of countless other successes past and present, is tempered by the how and why for coffee klatsching.    The key for me was discerning that I already had most of the answers to get started.  I tell Clients that in-field results can be had quickly, and why waste months debating what can be proven in a quick test?  And opportunity costs add up when you realize your potential.

So while talk IS cheap, it really isn’t if it keeps a founder from actually executing, learning, course-correcting, and getting viable product out to market.

Jen Linton

CEO & Founder Fenris

April 5, 2018

(c) Fenris LLC

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