Startups have one major problem, according to Ben Silbermann, cofounder of photo sharing and collecting startup Pinterest, and that is taking too much advice from outsiders. Silbermann was speaking at the ongoing SXSW conference in Austin Texas and continued by warning startups that getting too much advice from so-called veterans can end up muddling the decision-making process, or worse yet, corrupt it altogether.
“Don’t take too much advice,” says Silbermann. “Most people who have a lot of advice to give — with a few exceptions — generalize whatever they did,” he says.
One thing that has baffled many about Pinterest and that he was asked during the session was why the platform is still in invite-only mode and yet the platform has millions of users and visits per month.
One thing that has baffled many about Pinterest and asked of him during the session was why the platform is still in invite-only mode and yet the platform has millions of users and visits per month.
Not being very clear about this, he said that the current mode makes it easier to perform A/B testing and to analyze other metrics that are important to the development of the platform.
He added that as much as Pinterest has had such phenomenal growth, it is still in the previously planned BETA stage and shall stay as such until the next iteration. He does concede, however, that it could be possible that the platform could have more users if they removed the invite-only feature.
The entrepreneur also cautions fledgling entrepreneurs to keep their private relationships separate from work. He adds that many startups drag their off-work relationships to work and vice versa, and this ends up denying the founders a safe haven where they can retire to rest.
His final thought echoed what the late Steve Jobs always used to say, “Stay hungry, stay foolish”; although as Silbermann put it, ”just build things and find out if they work.”