Chris Dixon is a Co-founder of Hunch. He is a personal investor in early-stage technology companies, including Skype, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Canvas, Stack Overflow, TrialPay, DocVerse.

  1. Entrepreneurs should always ask themselves “why will I succeed where others failed?” If the answer is simply “I’m doing it right” or “I’m smarter,” you are probably underestimating your antecedents
  2. One way to mitigate timing risk is to manage your cash accordingly.
  3. The most common mistake entrepreneurs make about selecting investors is to base their choice solely on the investors’ “celebrity” value.
  4. The most important term in a startup term sheet that no one seems to think carefully about is founder vesting.
  5. The reason big new things sneak by incumbents is that the next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.”
  6. Aside from market conditions, you should try to answer the question: what is the biggest risk your startup is facing in the upcoming year and how can you eliminate that risk?
  7. A product doesn’t have to be disruptive to be valuable.
  8. Benjamin Graham famously said that the stock market is a voting machine in the short run and weighing machine in the long run.  The same is true of startups.
  9. Make something weighty – try to build an empire – and you’ll be far less vulnerable to the ups and downs of the market.
  10. The worst thing a seed-stage company can do is raise too little money and only reach part way to a milestone.
  11. What you should really be focused on when pitching your early stage startup is pitching yourself and your team.
  12. Establishing relationships with new users is the hardest part of growing a startup.
  13. Almost every good idea has already been built. Sometimes new ideas are just ahead of their time.
  14. One of the most difficult decisions to make when developing a “freemium” product is how to divide the product between free and paid features.
  15. You shouldn’t think of joining a startup as just joining a company. You should think of it as joining the startup career path.
  16. When in doubt, err on the side of putting more features on the paid side of the divide.
  17. In fact, the existence of competing products is a meaningful signal, but not necessarily a negative one.
  18. Series A financings usually de-risks the company far less than equity grants drop.
  19. Shutting down is an incredibly hard thing to do. It takes great maturity and intellectual honesty to realize things aren’t going the way you hoped and that it might be better to just close shop and do something else.
  20. I’ll agree that entrepreneurs, especially first timers, should have lawyers review everything they sign.
  21. The biggest mistake platforms make isn’t charging fees (Facebook) or competing with complements (Twitter), it’s being inconsistent.