Photo by Teigan Rodger on Unsplash

A spotlight for every stage

The other day I wrote that startups are learning machines, and shared some of the most common techniques I see startups using to learn.

(Dave Ambrose reminded me of a great quote from Josh Kopelman, from his interview with Patrick OShaughnessy: “A startup’s job is to learn.” Yep!)

That post prompted a couple questions, about whether this always true, and where the types of learning change at all as a startup evolves.

Here’s the simplistic way I look at it:

Of course, the previous focus doesn’t totally go away. The new focus just stacks on the old one. A startup never stops caring about growth. The questions never go away, so validation continues to be an essential function. Even startups can get complacent, so you have to reinvest in discovery of new opportunities.

But it’s sort of like a spotlight on stage: The focus may change as the company evolves, but the rest of the stage never goes completely dark. It’s just not front and center anymore. And that’s okay.

— JZ



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John Zeratsky

Supporting startups with capital and sprints. Co-founder and general partner at Character. Author of Sprint and Make Time. Former partner at GV.