005: Becoming a Disruptor: Secrets from the Founder of Social Networking
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“My focus has been on trying to identify spaces where I could be a massive disruptor.” – Andrew Weinreich
Entrepreneurs are often fascinated with the idea of disruption. The reason is obvious – it is typically associated with entrepreneurs who have defeated a giant, and/or redefined an industry. The reality is that disruption is arguably the most difficult and risky approach to entrepreneurship.
My guest this week, Andrew Weinreich, is an expert when it comes to the topic of disruption. Andrew founded sixdegrees (the first social networking platform) and is the “father” of social networking. Andrew joins SalesFounders to share his views on innovation and how he has founded multiple companies that all have one thing in common – massive disruption.
FIRST TO MARKET
- One of the challenges of being a “first-mover” is the need to educate your audience on aspects that are often commonly understood in established industries. “I spent a great deal of time educating people on not just what my product was, but what the ‘web’ was.”
- Educating potential investors on the basic fundamentals of your business model before you get to your “grand idea” rarely brings a successful result.
- When studying the competitive landscape in the space where your new startup exists, identify the past or current investors of the competition. This should be your starting point for financial backers.
DISRUPTION & INNOVATION
- An entrepreneurial mind has to innovate. The way to innovate is to identify “inevitabilities”. Learn to recognize the patterns and technologies that will make it a certainty. “I believe this is going to happen with or without me, and given all of the choices of what to do in this world, I’d rather try to see where there’s going to be a wave and try to ride it.”
- It’s key to have humility about the space you’d look to enter with a startup.
- The common attribute you see amongst great entrepreneurs is they all have a basic understanding of every part of the business. It doesn’t mean you have to become a programmer, but you need to understand what’s going on under the covers.
GO TO MARKET STRATEGY
- When is the right time to go to market?
- When you are thinking about an opportunity, it’s important to study other people and how they’ve achieved success. Most successes took much longer than it might appear.
“I start with the assumption that everything I have done is wrong. Therefore, my ability to be successful is not based on a perfect product but that I can recognize where I can improve and iterate.”
Meet Our Guest
Andrew Weinreich is a serial entrepreneur, social networking pioneer, and active presence in NYC’s Silicon Alley for 2 decades. To date, he’s founded 7 startups and has been awarded 2 software patents.
Since 2013, he has sold 2 businesses, including Xtify to IBM, while advising 5 tech startups. He is currently the co-founder and Chairman of Indicative, a data analytics startup.