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Martin Tobias
5,389 followers -
I like solving hard problems. Got any?
I like solving hard problems. Got any?

5,389 followers
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Martin's posts

Got pitched a company today that would be the rentacoder for investment research. You post the analysis you want done. Contractors bid on it. What do you think ?

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First day of school! Finn gets to wear the middle school uniform now. Soooooo excited
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Finn lost a tooth! A 12 year Molar I guess. Yea! 
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The folks over @techstars wanted me to come talk to the Seattle entrepreneur class today about what motivates me as an entrepreneur. I put together some slides here http://www.slideshare.net/martingtobias/martin-tobias-techstars-90611. Basically my philosophy is "find a problem that pisses you off and solve it". In the slides I go through five problems that pissed me off enough to start or invest in companies.

Ok, time to write something VC related here (sigh).

Last night over amazing tacos a friend asked why I had as my startup mantra "find a problem that personally pisses you off and solve it". There is a long explanation and a short one. I will go with short today

Startups are not easy. Most fail. In fact on a percentage basis tech startups have the worst record of any business period. You have all heard how bad restaurants are on failure rate. Tech startups are worse. And they generally consume more money in their failure. The odds are way stacked against you. If you have a good idea, chances are you won't be alone in working that problem. One of my greatest frustrations as a VC is that the tech startup ecosystem is so efficient that every interesting problem/idea gets multiple quality teams well funded for every problem out there. Startups are not only competing with incumbents, last generation products, and customer inertia against change, they are also competing against other startups with similar solutions, similar funding and just as flashy demos.

So what have I found to make the difference? To cause a startup to break out? Founder passion beyond the economic return. That is where taking your quest personal comes in. If you don't take it personal, in my experience you won't have what it takes to get through the hard times or to make that pivot that really cranks up the product or to design that totally wow why didnt I think of that feature.

What are the worst kind of entrepreneurs? MBAs. Yes that is right, even the Harvard guys. If you believe every problem has a solution in a spreadsheet and market research, you are missing the key ingredient in success: personal passion.

With the news yesterday of steve jobs retirement, this issue of personal passion making the difference has come that much more clear. When jobs left apple and turned it over to the MBAs from brand management from pepsi, products stagnated and the company almost died. Steve came back, got personally involved in every product and bang! The most valuable tech company on the planet.

Find a problem that personally pisses you off. Then go solve it!

I updated my bikes on the street project. Bikes.zapd.net


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Back in Seattle. Miss Hawaii already. 
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Early surf session. Clean nice

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Bye bye sun. 
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