Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Learning by failing...

As a big fan of the "failure-is-okay-as-long-as-you-learn-from-it" mindset, I thoroughly enjoyed this post by Steve Blank on the Cafepress VC pitch:


"I joined the board of Cafepress.com when it was a startup. It was amazing to see the two founders, Fred Durham and Maheesh Jain, build a $100 million company from coffee cups and T-shirts.

But Cafepress’s most memorable moment was when the founders used a “Lessons Learned” VC pitch to raise their second round of funding and got an 8-digit term sheet that same afternoon.

Here’s how they did it.

Fail Fast and Cheap

Fred and Maheesh had started 9 previous companies in 6 years. Their motto was: “Fail fast and cheap. And learn from it.” Cafepress literally started in their garage and was another set of experiments only this time it caught fire. They couldn’t keep up with the orders.

Tell the Story of the Journey

The company got to a point where additional capital was needed to expand just to keep up with the business (a warehouse/shipping center collocated with UPS, etc.) Rather than a traditional VC pitch I suggested that they do something unconventional and tell the story of their journey in Customer Discovery and Validation. The heart of the Cafepress presentation is the “Lessons Learned from our Customers” section. ...."

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