Ryan Junee

Entrepreneur. Technophile. Pilot.

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Speculation on the Hyperloop

There has been a bit of buzz in the last couple of weeks about a conceptual new type of transport that Elon Musk has developed called the ‘Hyperloop’. While he hasn’t shared specific details, he has mentioned the concept in a few recent interviews e.g. here and here.

I find this exciting because I’ve been thinking about new types of high speed transport for a while now. I don’t think we’ve solved the ‘moving people around’ problem as well as we may have predicted 50 years ago (alas still no Star Trek transporters). My best guess about what this Hyperloop might be, is an implementation of a vacuum train. The basic idea being that that you construct a tube, suck out all of the air so there is very little friction/drag, and then whisk people around in very high-speed capsules (just like the jetsons). Think NY to LA in 45 minutes. It’s not a new idea - Robert Goddard first proposed a...

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The Downside of Being a Technical Founder

We frequently hear non-technical entrepreneurs lament how hard it is to find technical co-founders (especially in the current environment). It’s a commonly held belief that it is better to be technical yourself if you are starting a tech company. This is probably true, but I’ve been thinking about the other side of the coin and I want to present the downside of being a technical founder.

I’m mostly reflecting on my own experience. I have a masters degree in engineering from Stanford and I love to code, but I’m also attracted to all areas of running a business and wouldn’t be happy as a pure software engineer. This has always been the case–I did both an engineering and a business degree for undergrad. So my ideal role in the companies I have started is Founder/CEO.

The crux of the problem is this: writing code creates a feeling of very tangible progress, whereas other business tasks...

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Startup or Company?

When do you get to stop calling it a startup and start calling it a
company? Is there some kind of threshold you need to cross - employees, revenues, profits?

I wonder if ‘startup’ has become too much of a loaded word, especially in the valley. It seems like every idea or side project can be called a startup.

Language can be powerful - I wonder if it would change things to refer to it as a company from day one? Would it change our thinking as entrepreneurs? Maybe it would motivate us to take things more seriously. To get to revenues, profitability, or some other measure of success that much more quickly.

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Startups Need External Deadlines

One trick I’ve found when starting a company (and it’s particularly useful at the very start, before you’ve launched a product) is to create external deadlines.

It’s hard to be sufficiently motivated by internal deadlines and plans. When there’s no clear negative consequences, it’s all too tempting to slip a deadline by a few weeks in order to add an extra feature or to fix a few bugs. However the most important advantage a startup has is speed, and in most cases the best thing you can do is to get your product out there and in front of real users and customers as quickly as possible. This means you start getting feedback sooner, you start learning earlier, and you can iterate more quickly.

For me at least, I’ve discovered that setting external deadlines means I’m much less likely to slip. I think most of us don’t like disappointing people or failing to live up to our promises...

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I’m Blogging Again

Consider this my obligatory “I’m blogging again” post.

Welcome to my new home.

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Older Posts

You’ll find a couple of my older posts here:

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