Evernote CEO at How to Web: Now is The Best Time in History to Start Your Startup

Vukašin Stojkov was present at the How to Web conference as a .Me ambassador, alongside the .Me blog editor Ivan Brezak Brkan. Hope you had the chance to talk to them!

Phil Libin, the founder and CEO of Evernote, has opened the How to Web conference in Romania with the claim that today is the best time in the history of the Universe to start a tech startup. Remember, .Me is a partner of the How to Web conference so the .Me crew was present!

Phil is a serial entrepreneur with Evernote being his third company, and his claim comes as a result of his observation how the software and online industries changed from the time he started his career.  As he says; it is so much harder to achieve success today if your product is mediocre or only average. The cost of creating and distributing software and online products is so much smaller than, say, 10 or 15 years ago and with that there is also much more players that are trying to break through to the market, just like you.

At the same time, it is much easier to achieve success if your product is excellent, if you simply created something that is superior to competing products. Technically the business has become meritocratic in a large sense, everybody has a good shot.  Relating to all of this, Phil told the audience that it is very important to do the thing you’re passionate about, what you yourself need, because in that way you will me in the best position to create and sense when you’ve created an exceptional product.

This strategy isn’t risk-free — if you’re making something that you need and aren’t sure about the needs of the market for that particular product you may end up with a unsuccesful business. That risk was something that Phil and the Evernote team decided to take and they didn’t look back.

This advice is quite solid, however if you don’t have two companies behind you like Phil does, if you’re a first-time entrepreneur, it would be wise to keep in mind the need to validate your concept before spending a lot of time and resources on it, by using customer development and lean startup methodologies.

…You’re gonna have a bad time

Two reasons that you shouldn’t start a startup for, according to Phil — to get rich or to acquire power

The math of the first scenario is clear, starting a company is very hard and most of the startups fail and if your main motivation is to make money it is questionable if you could keep going long enough to get to the desired results.

If your only goal is to be the CEO so you could feel powerful you have a problem — as a CEO, you’re actually on the bottom of a reversed pyramid, with your employees, your customers, investors, journalists being your bosses.


Vukašin Stojkov

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