GettyImages_111970602Noah Kagan is the CEO and founder of AppSumo in Austin.
He also blogs at OKDork and he moderates the Facebook Austin Startup Group. And that’s where I stumbled upon this post he made to Quora to answer the question “How do you start a business.”
He starts off by advising people to get all of their excuses for not starting a business out of the way and then take the plunge. It’s all about being fearless.
And at AppSumo, Kagan runs a How to Make Your First Dollar course in which he requires people to do a “Stranger Challenge” and go out and take a picture with a stranger who holds a sign proclaiming “I don’t know this person.” The exercise is designed to conquer people’s fears about failure. He’s aslo got a gallery of photos of people with strangers and blog posts about their experience. It’s an intriguing idea.
I’ve never met Kagan, but I’ve followed his adventures online. He wrote a fascinating blog post about why he got fired at Facebook and how it cost him an estimated $100 million in lost stock value. Kagan was employee number 30 at Facebook. I also like his post on the 18 books that changed his life. Kagan even has a Wikipedia entry detailing his roles at Facebook, Mint, KickFlip and AppSumo.
In his post, Kagan also advises people to test their idea on friends and to find a few customers who are willing to pay for the product or service. He says to do all of this before writing any lines of code.
“Validation is completed IF within 48 hours you can get 3 paying customers or 10 intented people,” Kagan writes in the post.
If no one wants it, then it’s time to move on to the next idea and that little bit of market research saved a ton of time and expense, according to Kagan.