Some Advice on Advice

Today, for the Boost VC accelerator program, we brought in two founders - Justin Miller and Ben Doherty - to discuss founding a company. I love bringing in past and present Boost VC founders to hear how they think about starting companies. Also it’s interesting to hear the tidbits that rise to the top when they are telling their story to new founders.

Justin Miller has founded three startups, the first was Notehall out of college, the second was Pillow homes (Tribe 4), which Boost VC was lucky enough to invest in, and Showplace is his latest opportunity. Justin has a mastery in operations and thrives on making order out of chaos - especially when it comes to marketplaces.

Ben Doherty was a founder in Tribe 1 of Boost VC. He started Favor Delivery, where he jokes that he came in 3rd against Postmates and Doordash. They exited for far more money than they raised, however they also were left hungry for more! So Ben and his Co-Founder Zac started a company to take on the real estate leasing industry and called it Sunroom.

Both founders have that “Live with a purpose” energy that is difficult to quantify, they have proven commitment over the course of 10 years and both have separately willed value from nothing. Between the two of them, they have generated $210m+ in exit value.

There were a thousand little tidbits during this talk that made it priceless to a first time founder. The main pieces of advice though, were centered around where to take advice and when to take advice:

  • When people are giving you advice to quit, ignore it

  • When people have an expertise in something, listen to the value they provide on that expertise, but try to remove the rest of it. Like someone who has been involved in the banking industry might have good advice on payments, but not on the way to build your company

  • If you are talking to an industry insider, listen very closely. Listen to the broad issues that the industry has and why they exist, and that is where you spend the most time proving or disproving them

They made sure to note that,“Not everyone has bad advice, it’s not all wrong and you can’t be stubborn on everything.”

Founders waste so much time on who to listen to, either they listen to everyone, or listen to no one, and neither of those are good ways to build a company. I think it’s about choosing who to listen to and understanding who is aligned with your vision.