I’m a member of almost every subreddit dealing with startups. I follow startup people on Twitter and Facebook, listen to podcasts and conversations in CH... You get the picture. And everywhere I go, I meet thousands of non-tech founders looking for tech co-founders. I read their posts, listen to their stories. And all I want is to cry out loud: “You’re tackling this from a totally wrong angle!”

Personal pain

I have to say I was among those people too. I was looking for a tech co-founder for almost a year.


First time my failure was totally predictable as I was not really sure whom to look for, and where to do the search. Being quite far from tech community with a background in education, e-commerce, publishing and wholesale business I couldn’t reach out for my classmates or co-workers, to get a reasonable advice. I knew I wanted a product to be built but I had no idea who might do it.

Sure enough, I went online and googled…

Bad news for strong advocates of neuro-programming concepts: you’ve landed a wrong page. I’m not going to describe secret technics that you can use to “program” your future millions in cash by chanting a specific sequence of sounds. Good news for “old school” science adepts: I’ll be only covering ideas about brain that have come to become mainstream in modern scientific environment. The take away you’ll have to get on your own.

1. SNS is about selection: when running for your life, don’t waste energy on digesting breakfast

As famous Prof. Robert M.Sapolky points out in his book on neural origin of aggression ‘Behave’, our immediate reactions are mostly ruled by two parts of the autonomic nervous system: sympathetic and parasympathetic. It’s been known for a quite while that these two-folded structure is somehow important. But only recently have we come to understand the depth of impact it has on our every action, weather conscious or unconscious. The functions of these systems are fairly opposite. The sympathetic system (SNS) mediates the body’s response to stressful circumstances. For example, producing the famous “fight or flight” response. Meanwhile, the parasympathetic…

What UX design is about? Why UX design is so important, particular for MVP development? What UX designers actually do?

Wikipedia’s curse

You won’t believe it, but most clients we encounter with think that UX design is just a web design, but with a higher price tag. No kidding! That’s exactly what they’d say:

“Don’t even think of mumbling about this UX thing. (sometimes, it’s a UI thing, beacuse if you’re not sure what you’re talking about, the exact naming is not your cup of tea). It’s just a new “cool” way to trick poor customers into giving you more money”.

Well, I know who is to blame for this unfortunate misinterpreting. Wikipedia, no less! Imagine you’re a person who knows nothing…

What makes a pitch deck successful? What do investors want to hear? Is “problem-solution-traction-team-future” structure still game? Find answers to these and some other questions in the article below.

Googling up “pitch deck template” will probably yield over 10 mln results (depending on your language and location). It’s quite a pond to fish from, isn’t it? If you’ve had an experience of being interviewed by investors or of actual pitching to them, you probably won’t see the task of writing a descent pitch deck so challenging. But if you’re a novice and getting down to your first investor’s pitch, you’ll certainly feel as frustrated as I had couple of years ago. On the other hand, even if you have already successfully raised a round or two, you might feel…

The winning strategy is to go in stealth mode through the developing period until you’re ready. Then invest tons of cash in a first week of launch, creating a big boom in the market. Right? Totally wrong!

If you’re a first time founder and you’ve already half way through development. Or you’re more closer to the end and getting down to your Pitch Deck. Everything is crystal clear, but for the “Go-to-market” slide which you have no idea about. Still, there is certainly some time left, you will figure it out when the product is completed. Well, if you think this particular way we have some bad news for your: you might be already in trouble. You’re totally wrong presuming that the winning strategy for a successful launch is to keep secretive about your technology, and invest…

and can it really raise venture money?

Success factor

I am constantly asked by students I mentor: what is the most important factor of startup success? Product-market fit? Scalability? Great team? All these factors are definitely important. But if you listen to founders who have created something worthy (like, unicorns) you’ll be surprised to find out that they consider the most important success factor to be the right timing. Meaning, if you have an idea and you see an opportunity you should move real quick, to get your product to the market. Otherwise, it’ll be captured by someone else. Usually (and, fortunately) good ideas tend to come into many…

Hands-on approach to hunting a co-founder

How do I persuade someone to work for free? — this question is definitely among Top 10 asked by the first time founders. Ok honestly, even experienced guys and gals struggle with attracting the first ones in the founding team of a new project. If your last name is not Musk (with the first one preferably be Elon), and you still don’t have a co-founder, that’s probably something that bothers you as well. In one of my previous post, I listed the ways one can follow to find a co-founder. …

It’s not conventional but it always works. Unlike other popular options.

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Co-founding is like a marriage. It can be your safe haven, or a nightmare comes true. It may empower you and make you stronger, or it may suck out all your juices and destroy self-esteem. Moreover, according to well-known statistics 89% of startups on late stages (if you manage to move it over first paying customers) fail because of the issues in founding team. Every single course you’ll go through as a founder, would scream “choose your partners wisely”, “hire a professional to write down to founders agreement”, “make a thorough background check on every potential candidate”, etc. Mentors suggest…

If you don’t want to pay over $100,000 for a lesson you can get for free

How much are you able to pay for education? $15,000 a year? $25,000? $50,000? I personally know a bunch of non-tech founders who lost over $100,000 in a couple of months. It is a price they paid for hard obtained knowledge what should never ever be done. It doesn’t matter that googling up “founders common mistakes” most probably would yield a list of articles describing these same traps I’m going to talk about. Still, non-tech founders step into them again and again paying thousands for this grim experience. …

Emails are great for early stage startups in terms of attracting new customers and proving product-market fit. But how do we get those first 100 people to send emails to?

Some founders think that emailing era has long passed and sending emails to your perspective customers is totally lame. Others believe that if you don’t tell people about your product, the chances of them finding you on their own are very few. My personal opinion: mailing lists might come in handy for some products and can be vitally important for others. It all comes down to pain points and customers awareness of new solutions available to solve their problems. Besides, if you’re going to approach a bank or an investor, having a mailing list with at least 100 perspective customers…

Ana Bibikova

Founder and CEO @Alsmark Studio. Being a startup founder, love to help other founders on this exciting journey.

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