10 Rules For Web Startups

Evan Williams of Odeo has a great ten rules list up on his blog for web startups.  If you are doing a startup of any kind, give it a read.  It’s very good.

Many of these rules have been said before by others, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less useful.

I am particularly fond of numbers 3, 9 & 10;

#3: Be Casual
We’re moving into what I call the era of the "Casual Web" (and casual content creation).
This is much bigger than the hobbyist web or the professional web. Why?
Because people have lives. And now, people with lives also have
broadband. If you want to hit the really big home runs, create services
that fit in with—and, indeed, help—people’s everyday lives without
requiring lots of commitment or identity change. Flickr
enables personal publishing among millions of folks who would never
consider themselves personal publishers—they’re just sharing pictures
with friends and family, a casual activity. Casual games are huge. Skype enables casual conversations.

#9: Be Agile
You know that
old saw about a plane flying from California to Hawaii being off course
99% of the time—but constantly correcting? The same is true of
successful startups—except they may start out heading toward Alaska.
Many dot-com bubble companies that died could have eventually been
successful had they been able to adjust and change their plans instead
of running as fast as they could until they burned out, based on their
initial assumptions. Pyra was started to build a project-management
app, not Blogger. Flickr’s company was building a game. Ebay was going
to sell auction software. Initial assumptions are almost always wrong.
That’s why the waterfall approach to building software is obsolete in
favor agile techniques. The same philosophy should be applied to building a company.

#10: Be Balanced
What
is a startup without bleary-eyed, junk-food-fueled, balls-to-the-wall
days and sleepless, caffeine-fueled, relationship-stressing nights?
Answer?: A lot more enjoyable place to work. Yes, high levels of
commitment are crucial. And yes, crunch times come and sometimes
require an inordinate, painful, apologies-to-the-SO amount of work. But
it can’t be all the time. Nature requires balance for health—as do the
bodies and minds who work for you and, without which, your company will
be worthless. There is no better way to maintain balance and lower your
stress that I’ve found than David Allen’s GTD process. Learn it. Live it. Make it a part of your company, and you’ll have a secret weapon.