You couldn’t immediately distinguish Dave Wright from the other guests as he entered the 7A venue, located in the heart of Stockholm. It took a few minutes for me to label him as a low-key, humble guy – the type you’d want to approach and have a great, laid-back chat with. Dave joined us at Startup Grind Stockholm, for an inspirational breakfast.
His entrepenurial journey started during the 90s. Back then, he spent most of his time playing video games. That’s what got him into technology. He didn’t see himself becoming an entrepreneur as he had an ambition to join the military, just like his father did. That obviously didn’t happen. He’s now the SolidFire CEO and founder. Dave was happy to share his thoughts with us, and I’ve taken away the top three things that I think can be interesting for someone that’s thinking about getting into entrepreneurship.
The down below is my own, subjective interpretation, and not direct quotes from Dave.
Have a problem, then solve it
Startups spend a lot of money trying to understand the problems their future customers are having. This is something that I’ve thought about extensively myself, having walked into the trap of coming up with a product that sounded fantastic on paper, but where there was no need for it or it didn’t fill a gap in the market. During the fireside chat, Dave said that by having the problem yourself, you’d be able to get a head-start. An entrepreneur that really understand a problem from the get-go he or she is trying to solve, will be able to run faster than anyone else on the market. I think this is a piece of solid advice. Before starting a business, ask yourself if there is anything that you’d like to make better for yourself and then go out and do it for others. It makes sense, but it’s sometimes hard to remember.
Learn to build a business
Dave joined a few friends in South California back in the 90s, embarking on his first startup adventure at GameSpy Industries. At that time, GameSpy was ahead of its time working with online gaming. While they had raised some money, they didn’t have people writing them checks. Dave and his friends were very dependent on learning how to build a business and grow the revenue in order to be able to hire new staff and expand. By being dependent on constantly increasing the revenue, not having a bag of money from investors, he learned that being disciplined was very important. This was a learning he took with him later on as he started his own business. Being disciplined in every possible way was very important in order to succeed.
Join a startup to get experience
If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, joining an early stage startup is a great way to learn. There’s virtually no substitute to getting the raw, unfiltered experience you’ll be getting by doing just that. While going to events and listening to entrepreneurs is very valuable, nothing can compare to failing yourself, learning, and then doing things differently. Many first-time entrepreneurs don’t get to spend enough time on their product because they have to deal with the mechanics of raising money, setting up marketing, sales and so on. Having dealt with these things already will be very helpful when you start your own venture.