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Let's Build with Shegun Otulana

Helping you bootstrap to a billion.

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Clarity Needed

Clarity Needed​ Recently, I was having a conversation with a leader of a company in my portfolio. It's a small team doing well in its early days but navigating some inflection points. We were discussing a key team member. She appreciated that he did good work on individual tasks, but she was concerned about some critical decisions he was making and the ideas he was putting forth. His ideas didn't align with her business direction and vision. The team member seemed very excited and couldn't...

8 days ago • 1 min read

The Tuesday Roundup​ Today I’m sharing more resources to help you make great decisions. Andy Grove, as I mentioned in the newsletter, is a great resource for leadership and decision making. Read his classic book on business leadership, High Output Management for insights on decision making, innovation, and business execution.​ It can be difficult to know how to put yourself in the “knowing what I now know” mindset. This article from HBR explains different ways to get yourself out of a biased...

17 days ago • 1 min read

Knowing What I Know Now: Making Great Decisions​ One of my favorite entrepreneurship stories is about Andy Grove and Gordon Moore, the founders of Intel, during a difficult phase of the company's business. Intel had found significant success in the memory chip space. It was a growing market, responsible for most of Intel's profits. However, stiff competition from Japan, among other factors, was beginning to affect profitability. It was getting commoditized. Andy and Gordon were torn. Memory...

22 days ago • 2 min read

The Tuesday Roundup Today, I’ll be sharing some resources to help you match your customer, product, and pricing. Step one is understanding your customer and how they buy. This will require spending a lot of time with your potential customers, or by interviewing and surveying your existing customers. This is a good comprehensive guide by Teresa Torress on conducting great customer interviews to get the insights that you need. You can also get to the answer by studying which kinds of customers...

24 days ago • 1 min read

When I launched TheraNest in 2013, I had no clue how to address pricing. What’s too high, what’s too low? So I did what most early-stage CEOs do: I priced low. I mentioned “affordable,” “low cost,” and similar phrases a lot. Surprisingly, I continued to run into prospects who said it was too expensive. This drove me crazy primarily because many of these prospects asking for the lowest price were sometimes the most demanding when it came to features and onboarding. There was a mismatch between...

29 days ago • 1 min read

If you’re trying to decide whether to take your startup full-time, you need to be realistic about what it will take. This article from Foundr takes you through a mental model to determine whether it’s time to go all-in. You need to know what you’re getting into and prepare – and this includes financial preparation. Their perspective is more risk-averse than mine, but the key message is effective: understand what it takes, but also be willing to recognize when it’s time to just go for it....

3 months ago • 1 min read

I love it when people hustle. I’m familiar with several people, including friends, who use side hustles to supplement their income and enjoy doing it, even earning relatively good income from it. However, my writing on this blog focuses on building great companies. I don’t discuss side hustles or ways to make money online with ChatGPT and all the other side hustle-type businesses out there. I focus on getting the right frameworks, mindset, and tactics to build high-scale businesses with...

4 months ago • 4 min read

The classic book on tipping points is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. Read it to grasp what a tipping point actually is, and be inspired by the stories of small actions leading to great outcomes in business and life. Reaching your tipping point requires a commitment to doing the same small things over and over, getting better each time. It means letting go of the idea that all of your work will be exciting all of the time. This article by John Cutler is a reminder that the “boring...

5 months ago • 1 min read

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.​This summer, we launched a new product at Copysmith AI called Describely, and we’ve been reminding ourselves as a team that the journey of every product is a drip drip drip towards progress until you reach that growth tipping point. Thankfully, we are getting quick traction as we iterate and add users and customers. So, let’s discuss the process of getting to that point of accelerated growth through continuous improvement and...

5 months ago • 3 min read

Today I’m sharing some resources to help you develop the qualities of a successful entrepreneur. One of the keys of entrepreneurial success is building deep knowledge. As part of your learning journey, I recommend reading Good to Great and Built to Last by Jim Collins. He also has great resources on his website to introduce you to principles of company building. To develop the builder's determination you need, you’ll have to become comfortable with learning from failure. On this journey,...

6 months ago • 1 min read
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