An old Jewish joke tells a story about old man Shimon, who is out in the street at night, looking for his lost coin under the streetlight. His friend Yakov sees him searching, and comes to help. “Where exactly did you lose the coin?” asks Yakov. “I lost it over there, at the corner” says Shimon. “In that case, why are we looking here? Shouldn't we be looking for it over at the corner?” asks Yakov, confused. “Because it's dark in the corner, I can't see anything. Better to be on this side of the street where there's light”.
Outsiders think the startup game has one direction for success; you are either getting “more successful” or less. But anyone who is involved in the startup world knows that there are not only constant ups and downs, but most times it's hard to tell which side is actually up.
Have you ever tried rock climbing (or indoor wall climbing) without safety equipment? This is a lot like how running a startup feels like.
You have a high goal, and you must keep climbing. You can't just stay in the safe position you are currently at for too long and every step forward is potentially dangerous, but you try and do it anyway.
How do you know what your customers really need? Notice that I asked about what they need, and not what they want. It's not hard to know what they want: ask them. Just send a survey or sit together with a few customers and they'll tell you what they want. A little bit later, you may find out that what they want is not necessarily what they need, and it's so much easier to get users if you are giving them what they need (compared to what they “want”).
Can a CTO be a CFO? Yes! It's a simple change, at least with the English title. Just move the upper left line to the center, and the 'T' becomes an 'F'. You just made your CTO a CFO!
I don't believe in new year resolutions. I think actions are more important than words, and a new year resolution is just words. Too often making a promise to ourselves is a cheap way to feel good now, and pass the expense to our future self. Our future self will fail, we know deep inside, but we let it happen anyway.