What is the best advice for a young, first-time startup CEO?

Answer by Mark Otero:

Fail fast:  start with a working set of assumptions and test them out in the market very fast.  If your assumptions are wrong then pivot, adjust, and make a decisive decision.  Remember, entrepreneurs love the process, the idea is one of many you'll have to achieving greatness, and commercial success. 

Know your weaknesses:  Knowing your weaknesses is as important  as knowing what your strengths are, and even more important as your company grows; hire or have co-founders who are great in areas where you are weak.

Hire for passion: Hire for passion over experience.  When you can afford it, hire employees who have both.  Never, NEVER, lower your standards during dry hiring spells (if you do, you will learn to regret it later – always).

Get an admin assistant:  As soon as you can afford it, hire an admin assistant.  You need to focus on the business, not on paying the bills and running to OfficeMax for supplies.  Your business depends on your capacity to execute, lead, and recruit.
Go to industry-specific events:  It's amazing how many smart, passionate and relevant people you'll meet at these events. 

Product focus:  Create a product that's epic at something, there's nothing worse than a mediocre product that's "ok" at everything.

: Every morning, take a 15 to 30 minute walk.  Have a mental meeting alone, this is your private time to collect yourself, visualize the past/present/future, and then create mental bullets on what you're going to accomplish for the day.   

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