What’s the best way to prioritize product features?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

Anyone can get a potential customer to say they’re interested in something by asking the right questions. The only form of interest that ended up mattering to us from a potential customer was a full integration of their mobile presence, inventory and customer relationship processes into our software.

What’s the best way to manage your own wellness?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

I would find myself pitching anyone from bartenders to my high school Chemistry teacher. I was seeking approval in all the wrong places and ended up trapped in an echo chamber where anyone who didn’t “get it” was immediately distanced by me. In hindsight, I should have embraced raised brows and let them stay raised. The energy is takes to pitch well is a precious and rare resource which must be spent only on very carefully chosen recipients.

What’s the best way to measure product usage?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

In hindsight, seeking positive feedback was toxic. It was toxic because it was giving us the impression we were on the right track. I mean, we were on the right track, but we were moving at 1 mph on a track built for bullet trains. Now I know that shipping product, getting sales and not running out of money are the most important things for a B2B startup.

What’s the best way to manage your own wellness?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

I thought at the time that my personal life was separate than my work life, but that’s not true in entrepreneurship. When you’re building a company, the various parts of your life have a way of all meshing together into a think blend that doesn’t let you tell one part from the other.

What’s the best way to make tough decisions?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

[Follow your gut. ] At one point during the first few weeks of starting our company, I had a very strong gut feeling to change the way we were going to tackle the problem we saw (aka in tech lingo a “pivot”). But the three of us weren’t on the same page and after a couple hours of arguing back and forth, we came together as a team and decided that we would not go in the direction in which I was pushing. In hindsight, I wish I stood my ground mor… (read more)

What’s the best way to know if your idea is a good one?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

Only once you pass the threshold of knowing “enough” about an industry, can you really get the insights to have intelligent conversations with the people you need to know. In other words, knowing Fred Wilson is one thing but knowing Fred Wilson and being able to impress him with your knowledge of a space he’s interested in? Those are two very different outcomes for you. As a founder, you absofuckinglutely need to know your shit! There are no sh… (read more)

What’s the best way to keep productivity high?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

In the process of building a startup, I found myself thinking sometimes about the long term vision and how what I was doing on a given day fed into the 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year vision. This was an inevitable result of all the stories you hear about people spending years building something before they “make it”. The problem with that long-term thinking is that it takes you out of the present and guess what? The present is the only place where … (read more)

What’s the best way to form your initial team?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

The first few months starting a company with your friends is an absolute blast. I mean who wouldn’t want their daily schedule to revolve around hanging out with their best friends? As it turns out, if after a few months little to no significant progress has been made, you start getting over the whole “working with friends” thing.

What’s the best way to do outreach to investors?

Ben Erez (Product at Breeze)
22 Mistakes I Made as a First Time Founder — Viabilify

There’s one thing just about every high net worth individual we spoke with had in common: none of them knew shit about tech startups. I was always able to explain what we were building but the idea of building technology was so foreign to them that none of them were able to stomach investing in such an unknown. You could also rephrase this mistake as “thinking all rich people are potential investors”.