Category: Leo Polovets

How to Make Better Decisions with Data

Companies often use A/B testing to optimize their websites, but they rarely use it for anything else. This is a wasted opportunity. It turns out […]

Continue reading

Why Startup Technical Diligence is a Waste of Time

In late 2012, I made the transition from software engineering to seed stage investing. I started Susa Ventures with several friends, and I was going […]

Continue reading

15 Short Stories About LinkedIn’s Early Days

I was lucky enough to be one of LinkedIn's earliest employees in 2003. I joined the company when it was just over a dozen people […]

Continue reading

Why This? Why Now? Why You?

Once your startup has some traction, fundraising becomes more straightforward. Investors still care about your vision and your team, but much of their focus shifts […]

Continue reading

Startups are Risk Bundles

Startup founders are sometimes surprised when they spend a year or two executing against their roadmap, make a lot of progress, and still have to […]

Continue reading

Avoid Piecemeal Seed Rounds

Most founders try to raise their seed rounds in one shot, but some do their fundraising over long stretches of time and across a series […]

Continue reading

Investor Relations for Post-Seed Startups

When founders are raising their seed rounds, they try to meet with as many investors as possible — a sound strategy for raising money. However, […]

Continue reading

The Fight Against Overconfidence

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the 100-hour rule: For most disciplines, it only takes one hundred hours of active learning to become much […]

Continue reading

The 100-Hour Rule

A recently popularized meme is the 10,000-Hour Rule, which describes the amount of time required to achieve mastery of a field. This rule has several […]

Continue reading

Tackle the Hard Stuff First

A useful software engineering practice is to work on the hardest part of a program first. If you can't complete that piece then you'll never […]

Continue reading

Respect the Other Players

There are many articles these days about young startups raising tons of money. There is also an increasing number of articles about well-funded startups suddenly […]

Continue reading

Startups and Stoicism

A few years ago, I became interested in the philosophy of stoicism. These days, calling someone stoic means that they appear cold and emotionless. The […]

Continue reading

The Effect of Location on a Startup’s Likelihood of Success

One of my friends is about to start a company, and he asked me if location matters. He lives in Mountain View and doesn't want […]

Continue reading

5 Tips for SaaS Roadmap Planning

Most startups have a roadmap for the next year or two, and most investors ask about that roadmap during pitch meetings. The question usually sounds […]

Continue reading

The Road to Success is Paved with Discomfort

TL;DR: If you're a founder and you want your company to succeed, you have to put what's best for the company ahead of what feels […]

Continue reading

Show, Don’t Tell

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass." – Anton Chekhov A frequent staple of startup pitches […]

Continue reading

Using Investors to Find the Ideal Startup Job

TL;DR: If you want to work at a startup, email a VC or angel investor and ask them for company recommendations. Because of the well-aligned […]

Continue reading

The Goldilocks Principle of Seed Stage Valuations

Seed stage startup valuations are a hard thing to get right. I've previously written three articles that cover strategies for figuring out 1) how much […]

Continue reading

Bubbles and Unicorns

(Image sources: 1, 2) Recently, there has been a lot of talk about a possible bubble in startup valuations. The question I want to explore […]

Continue reading

Assembling the Right Team

I meet with a lot of startup founders, and many of them don't have well-balanced teams. For example, a company might have two non-technical cofounders […]

Continue reading