Kevin Rose’s 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs

February 21, 2010

Kevin Rose’s 10 Tips for Entrepreneurs

Written by Elyssa Pallai / February 19, 2010 2:30 PM / 20 Comments

This post is part of our ReadWriteStart channel, which is a resource and guide for first-time entrepreneurs and startups. The channel is sponsored by Microsoft BizSpark. To sign up for BizSpark, click here.

kevin rose webstock digg wellingtonKevin Rose, Digg’s founder, spoke this week at Webstock in Wellington, New Zealand and covered 10 amazing tips for entrepreneurs. They were truly insightful

– and obviously came straight from the heart and soul of someone who worked a day job and built his dream after hours. This is our take of what he had to say.

1: Just Build It: You don’t need anyone’s approval and in fact, you probably won’t get it, so don’t even try.

2: Iterate: Build, release and iterate. Make a list of the features you want to create over the next six months and get going! For small companies, once a week; for larger companies, maybe twice a month.

3: Hire Your Boss: Make sure you hire people that you would want to work for, who challenge you and you can learn from.

4: Demand Excellence: Ensure staff are committed to and understand your vision. Passionate, committed staff have a tendency to rub off on people. There is nothing like a new junior developer who runs circles around everyone to get people hyped up and raise the bar! Stay involved in the hiring process as long as you possibly can.

5: Raising Money: The higher your evaluation is, the more equity you have to work with. Beg, borrow and steal. Be creative about finding ways to cut costs. For example, tell the bar you are having a “birthday party” instead of a corporate event (which they would charge you $5,000 for). Rent servers, don’t buy them. Don’t just take the cash, make sure your investors can add value. Stick with angel investment. Venture capital mean board meetings, which is a huge sap on time and resources.

6: Hack the Press: Hit up the lower-end bloggers at your favorite tech blog. They have just as much opportunity to write about your product as any other blogger on the team. Attend the after-event parties. The same crowd that attends the events also goes to the parties, but the parties are free.

7: Invest in Advisors: Give away a small amount of stock to advisors (which they can vest after a few years) who you can call on in a pickle or for general advice as issues arise. Set the ground rules so you and the advisor know how much time you have access to.

8: Connect With the Community: Hold a live town hall where you can collect feedback and get advice from your users.

9: Leverage Your User Base to Spread the Word: Facebook notifications is a great example of how to do this.

10: Analyze Your Traffic: Pay attention to how people are using your site, and then learn and evolve. Use Google Analytics to understand and track traffic sources and entrance and exit paths.

Photo credit: althecat

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  1. It’s “valuation” not “evaluation”.

    Posted by: Steve Weir | February 19, 2010 1:44 PM

  • Awesome article!! Very inspiring.

    Posted by: Andrew Mager | February 19, 2010 2:45 PM

  • Thanks Matt for sharing this insight .. Personally I give more weightage to after event party .. Coz that’s d time wen u meet d real ppl…

    Posted by: Harsh | February 19, 2010 3:30 PM

  • “You don’t need anyone’s approval and in fact, you probably won’t get it, so don’t even try” – My personal favorite. Great tips!

    Posted by: | February 19, 2010 4:33 PM

  • Great Tips 🙂
    Will always remember.

    Posted by: Chirag | February 19, 2010 6:03 PM

  • He forgot to mention: trojan horse your concept at your high pay work on TV telling everybody a friend built this tool and they say hey I made this,

    Posted by: FUKevin | February 19, 2010 6:10 PM

  • Hire your boss is a personal favorite.

    I find people hiring people they feel they can manage. FAIL.

    Good list but obviously does not encompass all components 🙂

    -Eric Saylor

    Posted by: Eric Saylor | February 19, 2010 8:06 PM

  • Good. Kevin Rose is good for something. LOL

    Posted by: _mark | February 20, 2010 12:08 AM

  • Kevin produced and hosted hundreds of segments on TechTV a cable television network available in over 45 million homes in the United States and distributing content to more than 70 countries.

    Posted by: dsi xl | February 20, 2010 4:06 AM

  • Some of the best tips I have read.

    Posted by: Kaushik | February 20, 2010 4:37 AM

  • Wow, those are cool tips there alright !

    Besides Digg, does anyone have any idea what other businesses or projects is Kevin Rose involved in right now ?

    Posted by: John Yeng | February 20, 2010 7:06 AM

  • Interesting article.

    Posted by: Jack | February 20, 2010 9:15 AM

  • @John Yeng.

    I know he’s involved with Square ( as an investor I believe. Not sure of his actual level of involvement though.

    Posted by: Simin | February 20, 2010 10:28 AM

  • Hi Kevin,

    Love your information! So realistic for a small biz owner…can definitely put to use immediately! Thank you!

    May all your gardens grow,

    Jan Bills
    Two Women and a Hoe™
    The Fine Art of Soul to Soil
    Phone: 248-891-0548

    Join me on:

    Posted by: Jan Bills | February 20, 2010 12:04 PM

  • Great tips! I’d add one more from my personal experience: some ideas sound great but just don’t make a viable business. Seek customer / market validation early.

     Posted by: Dror Orbach Author Profile Page

    | February 20, 2010 12:12 PM

  • Good for everyone who want to do somethings special for you company!

    Posted by: christian louboutin | February 20, 2010 6:39 PM

  • Excellent tips! Very motivating!

     Posted by: Faisal Author Profile Page | February 20, 2010 10:30 PM

  • Every Tip on that list is precise and straight to the point, new entrepreneurs will definitely appreciate this.

    Posted by: Janice Clark | February 21, 2010 2:34 AM

  • Hire Your Boss: my personal favorite.

     Posted by: Paramendra Author Profile Page | February 21, 2010 3:25 AM

  • Great article, concise, straight to the point and oh so true… Invest in Advisors… my favorite… there is no way to know every aspect of business… admitting that you can’t do it all is the first step to having a truly successful business.

    Posted by: Heather Plude | February 21, 2010 7:19 AM

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