Ask Me How To Lose Your Company Without Losing Your Faith by@arthur.tkachenko

Ask Me How To Lose Your Company Without Losing Your Faith


This Slogging thread by Arthur Tkachenko, Limarc Ambalina, richard-kubina, Amy Tom, Rianke Krugel, Utsav Jaiswal and Natasha Nel occurred in slogging's official #amas channel, and has been edited for readability.

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 6:04 PM
βœ… 2

Feel free to Ask Me Anything about How To Fail Your Startup (Feb 18th, 12PM MT)

Limarc AmbalinaFeb 18, 2021, 7:01 PM

What was your first startup? And why did it fail?

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:08 PM

@Limarc Ambalina "Startups": very wide term, right?

when I was 22 - I quit my coding job and decide to start my own company. We were providing outsourcing services - mostly getting clients from Elance(Upwork).

company name: NetWeight.

< why did it fail?

We fail because we want to fail. I didn't have any prior experience in management or sales or finances at that time. I even was not able to talk to my clients in English. So we run our company mostly by intuition.
We made bad decisions.

And a major reason why we fail - we just run out of money. You know - when you have a team that you should care about: you need to plan all expenses and be ready for anything.

richard-kubinaFeb 18, 2021, 7:10 PM

Was there a big risk trying a start up? Did you have any sort of security net to catch you if you fall?

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:16 PM

< Was there a big risk trying a start up?

For the first few years: not a lot. I mean 0 personal risks. But this is a beauty for being young and stupid, right? I actually think that my biggest risk was not to starting that company. Where I'll be right now, without it? Probably not here, replying to AMAs questions :)

< Did you have any sort of security net to catch you if you fall?

Do you mean something called a "financial pillow"? if yes - nope, we wasted all dimes that we have. And most of our energy as well πŸ™‚

And I don't think having a lot of security is good for your mindset. Because you need to be fit in order to perform. Like, imagine any Olimpic winner - all of them pushing their limits.

On the other side - when you have a plan and some money in your bank account - it's less stressful. you know, like insurance. You know that when a bad day will come - you'll be fine.

richard-kubinaFeb 18, 2021, 7:19 PM

Ah yeah, I think I know what you mean.. it's good to have that pressure to bust your ass and make it happen. and having constraints is great for creativity in problem-solving or even artistically :thumbsup:

So will there be (or is there) another startup in the works?

Amy TomFeb 18, 2021, 7:20 PM

Do you think that you are more or less likely to fail with a business partner vs a solo startup?

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:21 PM

< So will there be (or is there) another startup in the works?

For sure! when we finally killed this horse - I have a lot of free time. And I want to build few projects, related to food-tech field. I have cool cocktail of knowledge there. So probably I'll continue to pursue my ideas at some point in the future.

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:22 PM

But I dont want to build one company and sold it at some point

Rianke KrugelFeb 18, 2021, 7:24 PM

What is the biggest one lesson that you would impart to first time founders when it comes to embracing failure?

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:25 PM

I wish to build something similar to holding:

  • 1 company has developers that doing backend for food startups.
  • another company working as a consulting firm
  • design firm with deep knowledge in food
  • a separate firm can focus on diets, etc

It will keep teams very simple and focused on one task/product. They also can collaborate and have discounts. So if I get an offer to sold one company - I still can be in the game with other companies.

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:35 PM

@Amy Tom
< Do you think that you are more or less likely to fail with a business partner vs a solo startup?

I think building a small business is like raising a baby. So it requires a lot of attention. And 2 parents. And grannies and granddads.

But again, it's only connected to a small company. For a big company - I'll probably give up a huge amount of equity/money to a person that actually knows how to be a CEO. While it's cool to change jobs and positions - imagine this situation: you hire a CEO - that was CEO for the last 15 years in 5 different companies? This is a vast experience.

My experience was tied with my business partner. Actually - it was his idea - I just thought it would be funny to build a company πŸ™‚
And we separated our responsibilities - I was running operational cycles. He was focusing on strategy, grows and sales. But when you start something new - you need to understand that partners have equal roles, and you should have unbreakable trust.

So if you have any doubts - it's a no sign.

It's scary to do something when you alone. I think companies with few founders have more chances to succeed. Because you need someone who will be on your side, right?

I'm solo now - and I'm doing everything slowly.

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:41 PM

< What is the biggest one lesson that you would impart toΒ first time foundersΒ when it comes to embracing failure?

Don't listen to anyone. There no playbook. Just focus, hustle and have fun - we have only 1 life, right?
Failing is an experience. Instead of reading books - you can feel it by your skin.
If you want to move upstairs - you need to start and don't give up.

Like even if your family wants you the best - if they don't have entrepreneurship experience - you should filter all advices.

i.e. if you want to build a company like Hackernoon - you should listen to David Smooke, not to your granny πŸ˜‰

cc @Rianke Krugel

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 7:47 PM
πŸ˜† 1

Let me throw some positive stories here. I think this thread can be much funnier.

  • Our first office has 1 small window. And the view was another wall....
  • The second office was huge for our team. We put all tables to the corners and in the middle, we were playing badminton. Bad for productivity, very fun way to have 1-to-1 meetings.
  • One of our clients was a glam-rock star at 80s. I upset him and he told me - "[email protected] you, Arthur!". I think I'm invincible after that.
Limarc AmbalinaFeb 18, 2021, 7:51 PM

Oh course haha. Now that you know what you know about Hacker Noon. How would you use Hacker Noon to grow a startup?

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 8:02 PM

Limarc Ambalina
< How would you use Hacker Noon to grow a startup?

quick answer: I'll tell a story and get some views πŸ˜‰

Well, I get hired. I wouldn't accept any offer just because I just need money.
I was part of the community a long time ago. But now I have responsibilities here.

What I realize after doing code for few years: nobody cares about my code or about my experience. In order to do something - you should be visible. Like we wouldn't meet with you just because I pushed some code on GitHub.

But you can open my account on Hackernoon - and my stories can tell you a lot about me.

Monkeys evolved because we tell stories and share experiences. I'll put content marketing first. Cool code is a long way to get clients or attention.

Going back to your question:

  1. I'll try to submit 1 article each day and share something cool or funny.
  2. I'll do it for 60 days.
  3. Then I'll measure results.
  4. If I'm not satisfied with the results - I'll apply some changes and run it again.

I published 80 articles => Now I'm part of HN crew. What will be accomplished after 150 articles? Let's see.

Limarc AmbalinaFeb 18, 2021, 8:12 PM

Wow you published 80 articles on Hacker Noon? Ok I will catch up to you this year

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 8:16 PM

Limarc Ambalina I still need to migrate some of my articles.
Probably I need some help - not a lot of results from April 2020

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 18, 2021, 8:52 PM
πŸ’― 2
πŸ‘½ 2

We all watching Landing on Mars, right? πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€ I'm still accepting questions for the next few days, so feel free to post them, even if you late to our party

Utsav JaiswalFeb 19, 2021, 5:06 AM

What are the major changes that have come up in the startups space between when you first started (2002) and now (2021)?

Natasha NelFeb 19, 2021, 10:08 AM

How do you know when you have failed, vs. when you should stick it out and keep going?

Arthur TkachenkoFeb 28, 2021, 6:52 PM

I'll answer Natasha Nel question first.
< How do you know when you have failed, vs. when you should stick it out and keep going?

I think everyone can find this answer in their heads. But we also need to know that we are humans and everybody has bad days. Sometimes you need to wait few days or have sleep, or just eat.

So if an "entrepreneur" has a bad day - it doesn't mean that you need to close your business tomorrow. The battle is finished when you consider it finished.

I can speak only about my own experience. It takes me more than a year to settle everything in my head and finally realize that it's time to move on. Before that, I made few attempts to restart everything. This time was very important for me. I did some moves, that probably shaped me.

Arthur TkachenkoMay 25, 2021, 2:34 PM

< What are the major changes that have come up in the startups space between when you first started (2002) and now (2021)
@Utsav Jaiswal

I think I started in 2012 mostly, so my knowledge is limited.
Plus, being outside the USA startup bubble means that you can't just make a quick visit and talk about some deals. While right now everybody is fine with calls, emails, and online payments - it was a bit harder back then.
At least for me.

I think it's much easier to promote your startup. I also adore that everybody gets more funding options. It's much easier than before. At least in my brain.

From my perspective -> I grow up, and I lower my imagination about product quality and everything. I get that I can be lazy but also productive. I can do my own thing and don't follow any basic guidelines.
Like before, I was thinking about investments. I even spend time talking to people. Right now don't think it's necessary to "waste any air". If your product is online and it has real value -> people will buy it.

And you don't need to convince everybody about quality. For sure, marketing is essential. But I'm still more leaning toward product rather than sales, personally.

I was also bothered about how to receive payments or how to incorporate my company. What laws should I read, and which company should I hire. Now, I can add a QR code and get money via crypto. So much pressure is actually gone. Or use unstoppableDomain and receive payments via email. I think coinpayments also have a product that helps you to have a simple payment tool too.

Why I'm talking about crypto payments and not fiat? well, even it's 2021 - Ukraine citizens can have a real PayPal account. Our government just doesn't want to make it work... Plus, we have a war, so Stripe and a lot of other companies, that rely on big USA banks also paused money exchange between our countries. Plus, this way is much easy and cheaper. And you can sit and focus on things that are really moving your company forward.

Arthur TkachenkoMay 25, 2021, 2:35 PM

Thanks, everyone for your participation. It was a pleasure and I hope anyone learned something new


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