Eight Indicators of a Good Startup

Vermeer Technologies created Frontpage in the mid nineties and was bought by Microsoft. I highly recommend the cofounder’s book – High Stakes, No Prisoners by Charles Ferguson. It is my #1 or #2 all time favorite business book.

One of the many t-shirts that they made at Vermeer said “You’re working at a good startup when you’re working 80 hour weeks.” On the back it said “Vermeer Technologies – a good startup.”

In a similar vein we have a list of the top indicators that you’re working at a good early stage startup. Here they are, in no particular order:

0. Your living room looks like this:

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1. You can’t understand why Boston Market isn’t open at 4am. That’s dinner time!

2. You still have luggage from your move in 6 weeks ago sitting in your hallway.

3. You have 196 inches of LCDs in your living room

4. You start to grow a beard, by accident

5. You have more servers in your apartment than edible items in your fridge

6. Your idea of a decorative wall hanging is a 50×60” printout of the Outlook object model

7. You consider hiring someone to do your grocery shopping

Since these things correlate with a good startup, I wonder if investors should use them to establish valuations. We’ll tell our next investor that we want a valuation at $200,000 per 1/10th inch of hair on my new beard.

5 Responses to “Eight Indicators of a Good Startup”


  1. 1 Harshdeep May 24, 2006 at 7:11 pm

    Maybe I should also start up a company – I have a high beard growth rate 🙂

  2. 2 Laraby May 24, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    I’ve been through many startups just like this, though the thought of doing it again makes me want to run and get a job at a bank. It gets old.

  3. 3 Dharmesh Shah May 28, 2006 at 3:41 am

    I’ll add a couple of my own:

    8. You install fluorescent lighting in all rooms in your apartment because you read somewhere that it increases productivityu.

    9. You spent more on your computers than you ever spent on a cars.

  4. 4 Robbie Allen May 31, 2006 at 12:18 pm

    Let’s see a picture of that beard! 😉

    Here are my additions:

    10. During winter, heat from the computer equipment is more than adequate to warm the entire apartment.

    11. Your neighbors think you are local volunteer firefighters because you are first on the scene for any fire that could potentially threaten the Data Center (aka Living Room).


  1. 1 Xobni: take back your inbox » Blog Archive » Five Indicators of a Bad Startup Trackback on June 21, 2006 at 5:48 am

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