I like two kinds of movies and tv shows: ones about startups like We Crashed, and ones about fateful journeys like The Lord of the Rings. And reflecting on that, the only real difference between We Crashed and The Lord of the Rings is that Adam Neumann got caught staring into the Eye of Sauron too long.

Startups are fateful journeys. If you put your heart into one, it is bound to be buoyed beyond imagination or broken, there is no middle path.

That feeling of the beginning of the journey, when you look at your cofounder (or at yourself in the mirror) and decide, “ok let’s do this,” is addicting, and each win along the way feeds the addiction.

Well, I’m feeling that feeling again. And in the strangest way possible. AI is here, and it has changed everything about how I evaluate startup ideas. I don’t believe now is the time to raise money on a startup idea that uses LLMs as a core technology. I am not even sure that SaaS as a business model will hold up well over the next 10 years.

So to the extent we stick with our journey metaphor for startups, the difference between this one and the ones I’m used to, is that this time we’ve setting sail across an ocean that has never been crossed. We have no idea what we’ll find on the other side.

This is so much more exciting than the startups that were favored by VCs over the past 12 years of zero interest rates.

So as I navigate this new journey for my own software services business, I’ll write about what I learn and what I’m thinking through. This newsletter aims to be the breath of wind that will push your software, business, and technology thinking towards its next win.

I’m Jon Christensen, and I’ve been in and around tech businesses and startups my whole working life. I’ve been a developer, a marketer, a salesperson, and a founder, and honestly, I’ve seen more failure than success, and more heartache than triumph, but over the course of 25 years, and through nine acquisitions and more than 40 products built, I’ve learned too much to keep to myself.

I promise to keep these stories real and not full of false hope. I will tell the exciting and amusing stories alongside the ones that still make me angry or nervous. And I’ll always tell them from the perspective of a coach.

So please subscribe! Even if only one in 10 stories is helpful, it will be better to be subscribed than to miss it. In business, the game is always about managing risk and optimizing the odds of success. You never know when some small insight might be the thing that helps you find your way across the turbulent sea to your next startup win.

—Jon Christensen | March 12, 2024

If you love to build things with technology, and you’re excited by the future, you are hereby called upon to subscribe.

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Software and tech writing from Jon Christensen, a tech and startup veteran who has built products startups and enterprises with pep in their step. Recent writing has been mostly ai-focused, so consider yourself warned.


Kelsus founder. Startup addict. Writing about product market fit to help founders find their way to success.
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