Don't try to be something you're not – Phoenix Startup Week Day 4

Co-written with Jesse Millard and photo contributions from Thomas Hawthorne
Today the Phoenix Startup Week speaker theme was about knowing who you are, understanding your competencies and don’t try to turn your company into something it’s not, including the next Google.

TK Kuegler of Wasabi Ventures kicked off the day at GoDaddy and gave startups advice on growing their business, but most importantly for founders, don’t try to be something your not. Some of his advice included:

  • Companies need to know the market they’re in, and don’t try and be a $100 million company in a market that isn’t worth $100 million.
  • Know who you are and what you do…know your dreams. At some point you might grow your company to the point that you end up not doing what you love and it might be time to exit or hire someone to take the lead. Meaning, if you want to write code, when you get to the point in your startup where you no longer write code, that might be the time to exit and start something new.
  • Realize that sometimes when an organically grown company moves from the startup phase to the billion dollar company, you as a founder will no longer want to be around or you won’t even be around.
  • For early stage investors, they do not want to hear a founder’s exit strategy, they want the entrepreneur to focus on building a company, solving problems, understanding their competition and thinking big.
  • Lastly, Kuegler said, Everyone is trying to be the next google, don’t be the next google

David Cogan, founder of Eliances talked about how being a startup superhero includes finding a work/life balance. His advice included:

  • You need to have your business, personal and spiritual life all balanced to successfully run a business.
  • Stay focused on the task at hand and your goals
  • Find a way to do everything to get around any obstacle, then find a better way to do it, then find the best way to do it
  • Realize you need to start from scratch and work way up

Later in the day, the crowd switched over to Axosoft where Hamid Shojaee, founder Pure Chat, kicked off the afternoon discussing the Importance of Saas Success Metrics. Keep up with our coverage of these speakers, topics and more at and on the PHX Startup Week tab!