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Startup insights from Mark Zuckerberg, Jan Koum, Apoorva Mehta, Aaron Levie, and Joel Spolsky

Every Sunday, we send out 1 free insight + 4 new bonus insights for premium subscribers (upgrade to Premium for $5/mo here).

Today’s insights:

  1. Mark Zuckerberg explains the importance of option value and flexibility before starting a company

  2. Jan Koum explains how listening to users helped him stumble on the idea for WhatsApp

  3. Instacart founder Apoorva Mehta on the question all startup founders should ask themselves

  4. Box founder Aaron Levie explains the importance of saying “no” to certain customers

  5. Stack Overflow founder Joel Spolsky explains his simple pricing strategy

Mark Zuckerberg explains the importance of option value and flexibility before starting a company

“I never really understood the psychology of deciding that you want to start a company before you understand what you want to do… When you take on a new project - especially if you hire people or start a company - you’re doing that project… You immediately now need to convince someone else if you want to change your mind on something, and I think people really undervalue the option value and flexibility.”

Mark advises future founders:

“Explore what you want to do before committing… Keep yourself flexible… I think you have to be wary about starting a company too rigidly because you’re going to change what you want to do.”

Jan Koum explains how listening to users helped him stumble on the idea for WhatsApp

The original idea for WhatsApp was an iPhone app that let you update your status to let your contacts know if you were available for a call or SMS text. Crazy enough, there was no concept of messaging when they first started.

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