Zero to Startup: Prerequisites

July 2, 2007 - Get free updates of new posts here

Welcome to the start of a new series. I’m going to call this series Zero to Startup. My goal is to cover all of the relevant subjects that a person starting a startup might deal with; everything from thinking about starting a company to the actual launch date and beyond. Issues that face companies will also be covered.

I’ll be writing from my personal experiences of working in a startup, from what I’ve seen and heard from friends and from what I’ve read about other companies. Please email me tips or ideas, and if it’s not on my list, I’ll make sure to cover it.

The first topic I’d like to discuss is that of Prerequisites for a startup. Just like in college, before you could take any classes, you had to meet certain requirements. It’s the same in the startup world. Let’s say you are thinking about starting a company or joining one, what should you have covered before doing so.

(If some of these posts are too elementary, you are welcome to skip through 🙂 )

Curious catHaving Curiosity Wikipedia defines curiosity as behavior that leads to exploration, investigation and learning. This is one of the qualities that person needs to have in a startup world.

Some of the signs of being curious are asking questions, such as: how does that work? Can I make it better? Why isn’t there a product or service that does this or that? Making statements, such as I can do that much better, I can do that better, cheaper, faster, or I bet others will like this widget that I built.

Curiosity didn’t kill the cat and it’ll help you if you are thinking about joining a startup.

Specialization Being able to do general tasks is a requirement in a startup (and I’ll discuss this next time), but having a specialty is a must. Specializing in one area makes you an expert in that area. Obsessing about something and you will start seeing holes in it. When you’re a specialist, and not a jack of all trades, you will come to a point where you’ll know everything about your area and then you’ll want innovate.

Being a generalist will not allow you to dive deep enough into a field to be able innovate in that field. Steve Jobs is a specialist in marketing. Google guys were specialists in search. You could be a specialist in databases, programming, marketing, or any other field, but pick some area to specialize in.

Next post: More prerequisites.

(This post written by Andre Nosalsky.)

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7 responses to “Zero to Startup: Prerequisites

  1. Michael Sitarzewski Reply

    Sounds like a great series. Have you watched the progress of happening in Boulder this coming weekend? It will be a blast… there are a lot of great people involved. The idea is to start a company Friday evening (no idea what we’ll be doing), and launch the product by midnight Sunday night. A friend and I conceived and launched in 24 hours… so I know it can be done. 😉

  2. Noah Mittman Reply

    I can’t stress specialization enough. It doesn’t have to be “do one thing and do it well” down to the letter, but it must be a unique point-of-view on content or functionality. Today, we create our own generalizations through mashing specialized sources together via browsing, RSS, social networks, etc. and to be a general source without that precise filter applied passes that effort onto the user, who will certainly drop you before doing the work themselves.

  3. Lewis Green Reply


    I believe the first prerequisite for a start-up is passion, and it begins with the founders. I was an executive with a start-up and now run my third business. Without passion for what I do, but more importnat for the people I work with and serve, life would be a lot easier working for someone else.

  4. Ryan Reply

    Thanks for the tips.. I am always thinking “I can do that sooooo much better, I can do that way better, cheaper, and faster!!!!”

  5. Joel Mueller Reply

    Nice idea. Can you keep the posts in “story” format (which makes it easier to understand and remember) and glue them to lessons and main points? No more definitions of words and blandness like that. I know definitions and things make it sound scientific and in-depth, but it also makes it worth not reading…..especially for a “stop by once a day blog”. Gracie!

  6. ychange Reply

    Not only is passion a necessity, but the entrepreneur should be familiar wit the business he/she is wanting to get into. I agree with specialization but this calls for knowledge. My advice would be to go to work for a similar business and learn every aspect as quickly as you can before you start spending money.

    Take a look at this link below on the following web page :

    Steps to Take Before Starting a Small Business