For many of the people we work with who launch new business ventures, our collaboration together is their first trip to Venture Island. “What’s the weather going to be like?” they often ask.

After launching PX, our venture studio, it looks like we’ll be taking even more people there. So here’s my advice. Before you sail off to start a venture, be sure to pack these 10 must-have concepts. Each one is super-useful, and they easily fit in a carry-on.

1. Burn rate:

This is the ticking clock that focuses one’s mind so sharply. It’s easily mistaken for anxiety, but it is actually your wise friend, helping you to avoid time-wasting activities and focus on what matters.

2. Hypothesis testing:

Once you’ve befriended the tick-tock of your burn rate, you will realize your business isn’t actually a business, but instead is a collection of (mostly untested) hypotheses. And what matters is testing them.

3. MVP:

This concept is so liberating, you gotta find room for it in your bag. A minimum viable product (or service, or whatever) is what you’ll use to test your hypotheses.

4. Pay-as-You-Go Services:

Ahh, Amazon Web Services and its ilk. The Little Cloud Engine That Could takes up hardly any room. And it gives your MVP an instant place to hang its hat.

5. Angel:

You’ll need some angels, for both financial and emotional capital. Plus you’ll want several variants: evangelist, earlyvangelist. These are people you will infect with your vision and enthusiasm, and they will infect you back, lifting your spirits during the inevitable rainy days.

6. Revenue model:

Business models are useful but they’re just too big to pack. Instead, tuck this little baby into a side pocket. Once you get the revenue model working, it paves the way for everything else.

7. Pirate Metrics:

AAARRR, this will be your yardstick for success. Check out this article to see what I mean.

8. Digital collaboration tools:

This is how you’ll Get. Stuff. Done. A Zoom meeting. A Google Doc. Share your work at good enough. Because if you don’t plan to collaborate, you won’t just fail, you’ll be voted off the island.

9. Time boxes:

Need to configure an e-commerce plug-in? Time box it to be ready by tomorrow at Noon. And have a meta time box for your venture; by when does it have to be successful, or else it will ruin your life? Because no venture is worth ruining your life over.

10. Coffee/beer:

Whether you succeed/fail, whether it’s day/night, you’ll need to perk-up/wind-down, because Venture Island is not for the faint of heart. Bottom’s up!

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