8 Startup Myths exposed (Kevin Systrom & Mike Kreiger, Instagram)

14 Jul

Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders @ Stanford (21 June 2011)

By Kevin Systrom & Mike Kreiger, Instagram

6 to 7 months after launching, 6 photos taken using Instagram every second. What are the Startup Myths? Let’s see what the Instagram co-founders have to share!

Myth #1: You can learn to be an Entrepreneur from a blog, a book or a talk.


  • 1 day on the job -> 1 year in the book
  • Experience teaches you to make better decisions with limited data
  • Do many projects early, learn from them
  • The truth: You are never ready, but that’s the fun part
You can’t call yourself an entrepreneur, others have to call you one.

Users care about the products they are going to use, not the events you went to or the Techcrunch posts.

Myth #2: Startups can only be started by Computer Science students


  • Early Twitter Team didn’t go to college, Kevin & Mike didn’t major in CS
  • Sink or Swim School of Engineering – MVP
  • Generalists are perfect for startups
  • Find co-founders that complement you

The people you meet before, during and an event matters more than the slides shown on the screen.

Myth #3: Finding the solution to the problems is the hardest part

  • Finding the problem to solve is the hardest part
  • It’s easy to build solutions to problems no one have
  • How do you know if you’re solving the right problems?
  • It’s ok to solve simple problems

Myth #4: Work for months building a robust product in secrecy, then launch to the world (a.k.a Stealth Startup)


  • Make your product public quickly, test the hypothesis!
  • Build the minimum viable product that answers, “Are we building the right thing?”
  • Fail early and often, make failing as low cost as possible
Fail your way to success.

Your first idea is no going to be your final idea.

Myth #5: Start a bidding war among VCs with a slick pitch deck


  • Raise only when you need to get off the ground (not that much)
  • Optimize for people, not valuation
  • Focus on a prototype, and traction, not a fancy pitch deck

Myth #6: Starting a company = Building a product


  • Starting a company is 50% building a product and 50% other stuffs
  • Recruiting, building, and managing a team
  • Raising Capital
  • Insurance, taxes, etc

It is not all about a great idea, it is finding the right people to bring in to make that idea happen.
Myth #7: Successful startups come from a single great idea


  • First idea is likely not the last one
  • Your job is to explore the solution space
  • Themes will follow you
  • Sharing and Discussing helps!

Myth #8: Great startups happen overnight


  • Overnight successes take 5 years
  • Success comes from the foundations you’ve built along the way
  • Even with the right idea, you’re fighting to the next hill
  • Success can seem retrospect, but in reality, it’s never that easy
To watch the full video of the talk, go to eCorner @ STVP Stanford!


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Posted by on July 14, 2011 in Events, Mobile Apps, Startups


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