HBO’s Silicon Valley is a hilarious spoof of today’s tech capital of the world. Following a group of awkward guys who found a startup called “Pied Piper” in a dingy incubator, the show actually has some gems that are good for real life startup founders. We watch the show so you don’t have to.
Let’s check out the lessons from season 1 episode 1: Minimum Viable Product.
If you join an incubator, know what the expectations are
Richard, the founder of Pied Piper, joined an incubator Erlich’s house. Joining this incubator program meant that Erlich owned 10% equity stake of Pied Piper. So when it came time to either sell the company or have another billionaire invest, Erlich was very clear about how he was involved. Lesson: don’t just join an incubator because it sounds good. Read the fine print!
Don’t give your prototype to randoms
Richard decided he’d share his prototype with some guys who worked at his day job, Hooli. After they teased him, they saw what he had was actually way better than they expected. You know what they did? Reversed engineered it. Lesson: Your idea is probably fantastic. Be careful who you share it with.
Have confidence in what you’re building
The one thing about Richard which gets on my nerves is just how socially awkward he is. He’s super smart, but when you ask him to explain his idea, he’s mumbling and stumbling, and has zero confidence behind it. Lesson: own your idea. Present it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread. If you don’t believe it, why would anyone else?
Know your valuation and your end goal
The plot thickens! Once everybody knows how awesome the Pied Piper MVP (minimum viable product) really is, Richard gets 2 crazy offers: $10 million from Gavin Belson for the whole company, or $200,000 for 5% equity stake from Peter Gregory. He took the $200,000. Some people called him crazy, including his doctor. I can’t say which I would’ve taken. Lesson: have your exit strategy in mind. If you’re willing to sell your company outright, know the magic number. If you’re looking for investors (especially you, Shark Tank wantrepreneurs), know your valuation and be ready to make a deal.
Featured image photo: CC image courtesy of Petr Ocasek on Flickr.