McClure Delivers Harsh Truths, Advice to Begin Denver Startup Week

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customers, get capital. All these things are so much easier than ever before…except that most of you are still going to fucking fail.”

The trends mean geography is increasingly irrelevant. McClure said he’s invested in companies on every continent but Antarctica, and he even backed an Egyptian company that was launched during the nation’s recent political upheavals. All this leads him to believe that startups outside Silicon Valley now face a better climate than Silicon Valley startups had during the boom years of the late-1990s.

“The playing field has never been more level for doing startups anywhere in the word, and really, I mean anywhere in the world,” he said.

“Culture of optimism”: It also has helped that startup clusters and ecosystems have emerged around the globe. McClure didn’t address Denver or Boulder at length, but he outlined key factors startup communities need to grow, like access to capital, willing mentors, and an abundance of tech, design, and business talent.

But the key trait is a pervasive, shared willingness to accept risk, confront failure, and help each other out.

“It’s important, in the face of failure, to believe that the opportunity for success is still there,” McClure said. “That minority case [of successful companies] is not going to be encouraged in an environment where people are negative and pessimistic. So it’s actually important to be in a place where people are kind of crazy.”

It’s a feel-good sentiment, although McClure later framed it in a characteristically edgy way.

“Have a culture of optimism. Support your fellow founders, whoever they may be. Yeah, you may think they’re full of shit, you think they’re going to fail, but give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said.

Advice for entrepreneurs: McClure’s talk did have a lot of “news you can use”— pointers for people looking to found or invest in tech companies.

First, he said don’t bother with a business plan. Long-term planning is an outdated concept when startups often have to change within a few weeks.

“What is much more useful is … Next Page »

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