Founders Should Embrace Their Weirdness

And the four stages of using data

On Saturday I shared a deep dive on 9 ways to de-risk your startup’s fundraise. Join the community to get access to my library of 45+ deep dives, and a new one in your inbox each Saturday.

Today at a glance:

  • Opportunity → AI Hiring Agency

  • Framework → The Four Stages of Using Data

  • Tool → Multi

  • Trend → Solo Travelers

  • Quote → Embrace Your Weirdness

💡 Opportunity: AI Hiring Agency

Many people think AI is going to replace jobs. They’re right! But it’s also going to add a ton more. We’ll net out positively, just as we have with past technologies that people had the same worries about.

When no-code tools first came onto the scene, there was suddenly a rush of companies looking for help implementing no-code solutions in their operations since no-code was cheaper, and typically faster to implement, and didn’t require as specialized knowledge as coding.

The same exact situation has arisen with AI tools.

Whether it’s a hiring marketplace, or just a solo agency, there are a few different businesses that can be built to help solve this. And the market’s expanding rapidly, so it won’t be a winner-takes-all situation.

Structure your pitch around how to save people time and/or money.

🧠 Framework: The Four Stages of Using Data

Data plays a different role at each stage of your startup. Benchmark GP Sarah Tavel created this framework to help founders understand each stage, including the cost of skipping it. Here it is (start from the bottom):

Sarah also makes the point that data is not a substitute for judgement or strategy. It’s too common for founders to outsource their decision making to “what the data says.”

In the early days (or early stages, in this case) the data you’re collecting is likely not comprehensive or consistent, and the methods you’re using to collect it are likely incomplete or buggy. This framework helps you make decisions while putting the right amount of emphasis on data for the stage you’re at.

🛠 Tool: Multi

Trying to move your team in-person but can’t? Multi is the next best thing.

Multi adds a multiplayer layer to your desktop, that breaks the presenter/viewer model. Instead everyone is an active participant in the session.

When someone shares an app it feels like it just opened on your computer. Anyone in the session can point, draw, or even take control in that app. Building together has never been smoother.

Multi is giving Houck's Newsletter subscribers a chance to skip their massive waitlist — try it out here.*

📈 Trend: Solo Travelers

The subreddit for solo travelers has steadily grown since even before COVID.

It’s been well established that the world is in the middle of a growing “loneliness epidemic” but it seems that isn’t stopping people from traveling, even if it’s alone.

Younger generations have also gravitated towards solo travel as a way to meet new people and have unique experiences at the same time. I'd argue that dating apps have also played a part here — it’s easier to meet people when traveling as they’ve gone global.

Upgrade for more analysis on this trend, and context on a startup I’d consider building in the space:

💬 Quote: Embrace Your Weirdness

Founders often hear the advice to solve their own problems. A different (arguably better) approach is to look for problems in the areas founders know an unusual amount about.

An interesting way to look at this is that if someone has a problem and they haven’t solved it already, they may not actually be that passionate about solving it. While, on the other hand, if they care a lot about something but just haven’t looked for problems within it, they’ll be more likely to care about solving it.

🔗 Houck’s Picks

  • See why top performers at tech companies like Google, DoorDash, and Uber choose The Commons to level up (Link)*

  • Handy chart of metrics VC’s care about (Link)

  • Green + red flags when considering a recapitalization (Link)

  • Pitch Deck slide order for when you’re raising (Link)

Upgrade for the full batch of picks this week:

  • Three ingredients to a great B2B startup idea

  • The management principle that 95% of CEO’s violate

  • The biggest sales-related red flags for early-stage startups

  • The (surprising) biggest source of problems for startups

💡 How I Can Help

❤️ Upgrade to get all my weekly deep dives and founder community access

💰 Fundraising? I’m sending monthly emails to hundreds of investors in my personal network highlighting exciting deals

💼 Hiring? I partnered with top creators to launch a boutique recruiting service

🤝 Grab time with me for a 1:1 session or a full-day sprint

🚀 Advertise in my newsletter to get in front of 55,000+ founders

“*” indicates sponsored content.