What I've Learned Michael Serbinis .pdf
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WHAT I’VE LEARNED:
Founder & CEO of LEAGUE, Kobo,
DocSpace, 3 Angels
Visionary Entrepreneur, investor and CEO and Founder of the new healthcare startup,
LEAGUE, Michael Serbinis shares what he learned building three disruptive startups,
selling two of them and working with Kimbal and Elon Musk.
Building Flash Teams
Like working on a hit movie, the key to success in an early-stage startup is in direct proportion to the
quality of the players on the team.
Why Not you
When you anticipate a future that’s radically different than the present, the only choice you have is
whether or not you want to get involved. Ask yourself what Malcolm X asked, “If not now then when,
if not me then who?”
The Will To Win Is Everything
In the midst of building a startup, the overwhelming majority of time, you’ll be fighting against gravity
and you’ll have to rely on your will get you through. Strategy is perishable, but the will to succeed
when you’re in the pit of despair is what makes the difference.
Learning To Think Bigger
Learning to think bigger starts with surrounding yourself with higher caliber people who aren’t afraid
to tackle the world’s most complex problems; they know that through support and partnerships, they
can have true, lasting impact.
The Moment Of Inspiration
This is the nudge you get when you discover something broken in the world.
The First Conversation
The first conversation with a potential founding team is about the shared mission of the company, the
culture that you seek to build, and the kind of values that would make up that culture. Culture is “the
HOW” and is your most potent weapon. Think of it like good hygiene.
The First Six Months
The first six months of a startup are about getting an experience together. Build and get an MVP in
the hands of consumers, and continually iterate until you get it right.
The Leader of A Startup
The leader is the Chief Storyteller whose primary responsibilities include making sure there’s money
in the bank, players on the field and a proper direction to head in.
Pushback Is Always Good
One of the realities of building companies is that very few people will make it through the entire journey. There will be people that you need at the beginning, people you need in the end, and ones that
make it work in the middle. Don’t take staff turnover personally.
Principles and Pattern Recognition Improve the Odds of Success
Think Bigger. Focus on the 1% of the 1% (those super passionate and underserved). Build technology and iterate fast. Have a relentless pursuit of viability vs traditional business models. Compete or
perish. Own the podium.
Partnerships Are The Centerpiece of Global Expansion
There’s no single recipe that fits all deals. Focus on the incumbents who aren’t as nimble as you and
always seek a win-win-win strategy. In lieu of economics and market dynamics, which are certain to
change, look for partners who share your deepest values and have buy-in at the highest level of leadership.
Radical Candor Really Helps when working with partners
There can’t be one winner. If there’s only one winner, you’re both losers.
Approaching Big Problems
It starts with understanding that you will never be able to eat an elephant at once. Break down the
problem and solve it piece by piece.
There Are Three Kinds of People
There are dreamers and there are those who are stuck in reality — and then then there are those
who can turn one into the other. Those who see a better world ask themselves “if it’s going to happen
why not me.”
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