About “The Smart Fast Startup”

A great startup is such an amazing place to work that it can forever ruin you for working in a big company again. The problem is that for a startup to become great, there are many elements that must come together the right way.

Unfortunately there are not many ways to learn how to do that. Engineering and Business Schools don’t teach it, in fact, what is often taught in Business school is actually harmful in a startup. What does work is to learn from people who have a good amount of startup experience. In fact, the Startup Genome Project reports that startups with experienced mentors raise 7x the amount of money and have 3.5x the user growth compared to those that don’t.

From product, to market, to team, to selling, to financing, and all the details in between, The Smart Fast Startup is all about the best practices that are working in Silicon Valley startups. The goal is to share them for everyone to use everywhere. The Smart Fast Startup is fully compatible with the Lean Startup movement and Customer Development, and we will go further to show specific tools and tricks to help you along your journey in either of those areas. We’ll also cover specific issues about financing, negotiating with investors, and working with a Board of Directors.

Last but not least, we’ll continually deal with a problem experienced by 100% of all entrepreneurs: how to hire great people. In a startup, a great developer/co-founder/marketer/designer/salesperson is 10x more valuable than an average one, and we will offer ways to increase the likelihood of hiring stars.

None of this stuff is easy. But you didn’t become an entrepreneur because you wanted something easy……right?


About Mark Richards

The words others most often use to describe me are “kind” or “funny”.  My Silicon Valley journey began with the dream of becoming an amazing chip designer, then becoming an amazing chip sales guy, and then back to the chip designer dream, and then to someday becoming an amazing Internet entrepreneur, and then to a dream of being an amazing startup investor and marketing expert. While that might sound like a random walk down Silicon Valley, it turned out to be great preparation for diving head first into just about any software or hardware startup.

Today I’m focused on helping startups develop amazing products and business models that actually do what they say they are going to do. We work hard to quickly nail the product that sells well and build a great marketing process that doesn’t spend money until it finds the market sweetspot (but then backs up the truck and unloads as soon as we find it.) Companies I have worked with include:

NetMind – acquired by Puma Technologies (now Nokia)

Airespider – acquired by Ruckus Wireless

Kailea Networks – acquired by Bluehawk Networks

Aeroprise – acquired by BMC Software

Jemstep – still thundering along and growing!


What may be more important is what is not listed – the startups that haven’t gone as well. Between the successes and failures, along with learnings from other entreprenuers and venture investors, a pattern has emerged. A pattern and methodology that is quite predictive and applies to most any startup in most any market. You will read about the pattern and much more on smartfaststartup.com.

I make it easy for new startups to work with me. To talk further, send an email to mark at smartfaststartup dot com.