57 Startup Lessons I’ve Learned The Hard Way

August 14th, 2013 / No Comments »

By Slava Akhmechet

Editors Note: This is a guest post by Slava Akhmechet, founder of RethinkDB. You can follow him on Twitter here.

There are already very good lists of startup lessons written by really talented, experienced people (here and here). I’d like to add another one. I learned these lessons the hard way in the past four years. If you’re starting a company, I hope you have an easier path.


  1. If you can’t get to ramen profitability with a team of 2 – 4 within six months to a year, something’s wrong. (You can choose not to be profitable, but it must be your choice, not something forced on you by the market).
  2. Split the stock between the founding team evenly.
  3. Always have a vesting schedule.
  4. Make most decisions by consensus, but have a single CEO whose decisions are final. Make it clear from day one.
  5. Your authority as CEO is earned. You start with a non-zero baseline. It grows if you have victories and dwindles if you don’t. Don’t try to use authority you didn’t earn.