Vlad Stan 方川

Full Stack Founder. Cryptocurrency Enthusiast.

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Why we think peer learning is the best way to learn about startups

After more than 20 years in entrepreneurship and with the last 5-6 focused mostly on education, I think we are going to fool ourselves if we think entrepreneurship can be taught.

Usually the skill to get accurate information is not learned through a teacher but through practice in discerning how to make sure the information we receive is accurate.

During the time spent on my last project, I realized that the number of tools and the total knowledge available for entrepreneurs is not only enormous but also growing exponentially. So, I don’t think a teacher can keep up.

Triggered by an experiment run by Sugata Mitra few years ago in India, I started my research on peer learning. There are many models in peer learning, starting from the traditional model used by schools like Montessori or Waldorf to the more innovative learning groups where peers form partnerships and assist each other.


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The holodeck - make the location irrelevant


The most common piece of advice you will get as a startup founder is to make sure you choose the right location for your startup. Reid Hoffman explained his point of view on this topic in this class at Stanford. Most of the investors and successful startup founders will tell you the same thing. The choice of location is important because great founders should seek the networks that will be essential to their problems.

I know many founders who have this dilemma, where to locate my company. But is the location the only way to seek support from your network?

During the last 6 years, I did a lot of experiments, living in different cities for a couple of months to understand if the location can help me find my network. From all of these experiences, I realized that the importance of the location is increasingly less significant. Also during my experiences, I realized how important it is...

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‘You cut, I choose’: A protocol for breaking up with your business partners


It was the winter of 2007 around Christmas time. I was about to receive one of the most beautiful presents I’d ever gotten.

Many founders dream to build a company and make an exit. I was negotiating with Sanoma Hearst on an acquisition of the company I started seven years prior. The exit was a well-deserved gift after many years of hard work. Sanoma offered ~$4M for one of my websites which valuated the entire company at $9M.

Four years before, I got an investment from a real estate fund that was interested in starting its tech operations, and gave them 60 percent of the company shares and control for an investment in the company. This was the first stupid move I made – giving up control to someone that has no clue about running a technology company.

When Sanoma had shown his interest for the first time, I went to the fund and asked if I am allowed to negotiate in order to get an...

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The smallest thing you can do to dramatically improve your performance.


 As one of the best tango dancers told me, it’s finding a new pair of shoes (aka finding the best tool for your core job).

I’ve been dancing tango for five years now. Two years ago, I asked one of the best tango dancers in the world what was the smallest improvement I could make to achieve maximum impact in Tango?

His answer:

Buy a new pair of shoes. With a good pair of shoes you will be able to pivot better and smoothly slide on the floor so your dance will be more circular. When the dance is more circular, the girls enjoy it more, thus dramatically improving your dance.

This was totally unexpected and mind-blowing. The more I thought about it, the better I was connecting the dots. There are definitely many other things you need to do in order to dance tango well — you need a lot of learning and practice, you need courage and perseverance. But, like in any other domain, there is...

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StartupKit company culture

Why we’re building this

We want to help entrepreneurs find the best tools for their startups, and to help them simplify their workflows In other words, we want to help entrepreneurs put a man on the moon. We do this because we’re obsessed with technology, learning, entrepreneurship, and productivity.

Our product recommends to every entrepreneur a few tools which best fit his role and startup. There will be more than 100.000 tools available for startups, and probably more than 1B founders by 2020. Imagine the possibilities!

The Team

We are a small team doing our best to create a big impact. We’re a startup keeping everything lean, smart, and agile. We believe that bright people will always want to work with their peers, so everyone in the team is already an expert in something as (s)he has already been working on her/his obsession for more than 5-6 years. Also, we highly value high...

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Does everybody in your team know who you’re building stuff for?


 Why aligning your team should be your main focus, especially when you’re shooting for the moon.

There is this famous story about President John F. Kennedy’s first visit to NASA’s headquarters back in 1961.

While touring the facility, the President’s entourage reportedly came upon a man mopping the floor in one of the hallways. The President stopped to chat with the man, shook his hand, and asked what he did at NASA. The janitor proudly addressed the young President by saying, “Sir, I’m helping to put a man on the moon!”

Now, if President John F. Kennedy asked your co-founders and your teammates the same question, what would their answer be?

My bet is that they would most likely give both different and vague answers. Try it.

I’ve searched for perfectly aligned teams all over the world and found very few. Most of them have a dissonant way of tackling and seeing problems. I’m...

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