The value of a test kitchen when creating a product is immense.

The ability to test and iterate based on real usage with real users is invaluable to getting to the root of a problem, understanding a user’s existence, and removing friction.

Even the smallest and tightest group of beta users still takes coordination effort and time that is crucial when you have an early product. Having an internal test kitchen where hypotheses can be proven or disproven quickly and with the smallest amount of effort reduces time and increases accuracy to market. …


An effective pitch deck is an important tool for founders looking to raise investment for their startup. The challenge many founders face is that they aren’t great storytellers and they don’t know what to focus on in their pitch decks, so the lead often gets buried.

Besides burying the lead, you must also avoid your pitch deck becoming stagnant. It’s not uncommon to see pitch decks that are completely outdated compared to what the founder is publishing on their website or presenting to the world.

Back to storytelling. Founders who are good at raising investment for their companies get good…


Some startups can be bootstrapped to achieve a similar outcome as an investment-backed startup.

Some investment-backed startups can achieve a positive outcome like an acquisition without a marquee investor(s).

And then there are the startups that need an investor to be a market maker for them to be successful.

Clubhouse is a great example of a startup that has been funded by and propelled by an investor. Andreesen Horowitz has not only led the funding of Clubhouse but has actively promoted and engaged with the app. Andreesen Horowitz partners and team members have actively participated in and have helped to…


Now that we have a startup industry and successful founders are business icons and cultural celebrities, being a founder is of interest to more people. The problem is the best and most successful founders never intended to do so.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with thousands of founders through our work building digital products and solving data problems at AWH, my involvement with Startup Grind, angel investing, and speaking about creating products and companies. …


Everyone wants to be employed. No one wants to be an employee.

It is time companies and leaders stop referring to their team members as employees. I saw an announcement on LinkedIn recently in which the person was being named the President of a company he has been working at for a while apparently. In his remarks he referenced how much he respected and was continuing to support the company’s employees. It made me cringe.

The definition of employee is, a person employed for wages or salary, especially at non-executive level. No wonder seeing companies and company leaders refer to…


Professional jealousy is powerful. We want the title, money, power and perceived respect that go along with those things. People climb ladders and play corporate politics to advance ahead of others. Some companies foster a super competitive environment that endorses, tacitly or not, team members vying for coveted positions and recognition. Does it work and is it good for the company and the team members? I don’t think it is, but many company leaders do.

The fact is, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Most companies are structured as pyramids with far fewer positions of recognition, power, control, and large…


Founders hear and can read a lot about bootstrapping their company versus raising investment. The fact is that most Founders bootstrap their company because they don’t have a choice.

There are strategic and operational differences in running a bootstrapped company versus venture backed. Most of the differences are driven by less capital to deploy, which makes sense, but some of the differences are also a result of a mindset and culture that goes beyond how much cash is in the bank.

Here are some strategic and operational differences I’ve identified over time between the two company funding approaches:

Team —…


You have to be interested in the problem and your user’s existence associated to the problem to build a great product.

One of the primary reasons bad and unsuccessful products get built is because the people building the product are not interested in the problem and how it affects users. If you’re apathetic about a problem you’re going to build a product that users feel apathetic about. Users can tell when a product conveys a lack of interest and knowledge about a problem and their existence around the problem.

It’s easy for product teams to get caught up in the…


Better is subjective, but we often hear that second time Founders are better, more investable, and more successful than first time Founders.

A big factor is if a Founder succeeds or fails with their first company. A second time Founder who already has a successful company under their belt is a completely different scenario than a Founder who’s first company failed. I’m going to focus on the Founders who failed and are giving it another go.

Hopefully, a second time Founder is better — through having learned about themselves and the process of starting and growing a company. Presumably, a…


There are a lot of feel good clichés about teamwork. Most have little impact on team members and organizations because they remain clichés and never materialize into anything real and tangible. They also don’t account for the challenging times when teamwork is essential, but erodes because of the pressures and circumstances of a situation. Real teamwork is being able to stay together when forces are trying to pull the team apart.

I’ve been thinking more about how teams connect and the importance of teams connecting in a meaningful way for desirable outcomes.

I was chatting with a friend recently who’s…

Ryan Frederick

product & company builder | venture investor | speaker | author | outdoor enthusiast

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