Brian Fioca, Greg Gottesman and Kate Matsudaira at the Lean Startup Meetup

At the Lean Startup Seattle meetup last week, Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman explained the importance of entrepreneurial focus. After all, at least as the Seattle venture capitalist sees it, the best startup ideas are those “where you figure out what you can be the the best in the world at.”

That’s a tall order for sure. But starting out with that sort of drive and confidence is absolutely crucial.

“I think the biggest mistake that most startups make is that they try to do too much,” Gottesman said. He was joined on the panel by Brian Fioca, co-founder and CTO of RescueTime, and Kate Matsudaira, vice president of engineering at SEOMoz (and a past GeekWire Geek of the Week).

Fioca noted the importance of team, comparing the startup process to a marriage.  “The hard times are a lot more potent than the good times,” said Fioca. Gottesman later added that creating a startup is kind of like having a child, noting that there’s never really a good time to have a child or to do a startup.

“It is learning to trust your gut,” said Gottesman, adding that the very best entrepreneurs have an innate sense of timing.

Each panelist also offered a little bit of startup advice. Here’s a quick summary of each of their pearls of wisdom.

–Gottesman noted that entrepreneurs should try to “find incredible folks” and then get into “their orbit.”

–Fioca said don’t get too set on your idea and trust others on the team.

–Matsudaira, meanwhile, said the key is to “listen to other people.” “Feedback is one of the most valuable gifts that you can get,” she said.

Here’s the video of the event — produced by Creative Branding’s Scott McLeod — which includes some other funny moments (including Fioca talking about “spooning” with Tony Wright and Matsudaira getting challenged to a Krispy Kreme donut eating contest).

Lean Startup Seattle – Panel Speakers from Creative Branding Co. on Vimeo.

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  • ‘Red’ Russak

    Thank for the post John! I’m happy to see this content go beyond that night, including Brian’s fondness for spooning with Tony ;)

    • johnhcook

      Enjoyed it. Great discussion. Does this mean the secret for GeekWire’s success is for Todd and I to start “spooning?” :) Thanks again for sharing this with the GeekWire community. As a newbie entrepreneur, I’ve personally gotten a lot out of these talks. 

      BTW, here’s the link to the write-up on the last Lean Startup event I attended:

  • Anonymous

    Great stuff! Glad others can enjoy the panel coverage we shot..Useful advice for entrepreneurs & techies alike. Make sure to check our site out

  • jasongrimes

    I loved the Lean event – congrats Red! +1 for the DJ, +1 for the cocktails, beer and water, +1 attendance, +3 for the board speaking representing a bootstrapper, a vc and a killer engineering manager with big co experience. See you next month.

  • Andy Layman

    Creative Branding shoots great videos check them out at

  • Alex Faulkner

    Glad this great resource can be shared with others! thanks for the great post! give our site a look at for other useful stuff!

  • http://www.JakeMiller.Me Jake Miller

    RescueTime is a great App! Great work on the video (http://CreativeBranding.Co)

  • Anonymous

    That high pitch noise in the background is extremely annoying.

  • Business Partners

    Yes, they try to do too much, and they try to be everything to everyone.

  • Lighter Capital

    you have to put in the hard work, great article 

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