Give Your Startup a Fighting Chance1. Test first. Launch your product or service before you have funding. See how people respond to it before you have a PowerPoint and business plan - have something people can use, and go from there.
2. Seek outside feedback. As you start building the product, don't assume that you know all the answers. Listen to the community and adapt. We had a lot of our own ideas about how the service would evolve. Coming from PayPal and eBay, we saw YouTube as a powerful way to add video to auctions, but we didn't see anyone using our product that way, so we didn't add features to support it.
3. Give partners what they want. Approach your business partners with concepts that they can get their heads around, and try to respond to their needs. An interesting example is what we've done with the music labels. With Warner and others, we saw an opportunity to protect the labels' rights and create a new market. Now we can do things like add music to people's travel videos. It allows users the freedom to create and to do it legally.