You'll learn how to:
What you'll get
- 6+ hours of audio lessons
Everything you need to know to start growing your startup.
- Companion e-textbook
When listening isn’t an option, dig into this text-based PDF.
- Curated resources
Save time searching. We’ve collected the best founder-friendly resources for you.
- Private Slack community
Connect with other founders on their startup journey.
- Lesson summaries
Be reminded of the key things you’ve learned via email.
- Startup tools
The spreadsheets, agreements, and decks you need to launch your startup.
- Free domain name
Claim your startup’s corner of the internet with a free domain from Name.com.
- Glossary of terms
Get up to speed on startup and tech terms.
Experts in this course
- Alexis OhanianAlexis Ohanian is the co-founder of Reddit, one of the world’s most influential websites. He’s also the co-founder of Initialized Capital, a VC firm with investments in companies like Instacart and Coinbase.
- Michael PreysmanMichael Preysman is the founder and CEO of Everlane, the hugely popular fashion retailer that has legacy brands like J. Crew and Banana Republic playing defense.
- Eddy LuEddy Lu is the co-founder of GOAT, the sneaker marketplace that raised $100M from Foot Locker in 2019.
- Éva GoicocheaÉva Goicochea is the co-founder and CEO of Maude, a modern sex essentials company touted by Vogue that’s reframing the conversation around sex.
- Ben JacobsBen Jacobs is the co-founder of Whistle, a pet tech company known as the “Fitbit for dogs” that was acquired for more than $100M by Mars Petcare.
- Tracy LawrenceTracy Lawrence is the co-founder and CEO of Chewse, a food catering company that’s raised more than $30M while building a unique and widely-admired company culture.
- Greg BettinelliGreg Bettinelli is a Partner at Upfront Ventures, LA’s most prolific venture capital firm. Upfront portfolio companies include Bird, Ring, and FabFitFun, just to name a few.
- Peter WernerPeter Werner is a partner at Cooley LLP, one of Silicon Valley’s go-to law firms. Peter has worked with hundreds of startups, including Allbirds, Opendoor, and Salesforce.
- Nancy MillerNancy Miller is an editorial director at Pop-Up Magazine Productions, former senior editor at WIRED, and former editorial director at Fast Company.
- 01Meet your new mentorGet to know course guide Alexis Ohanian and learn why he’s driven to support startup founders.In this lesson, you’ll hear all about the ups and downs of startup life from the co-founder of Reddit himself. He explores the hardships of starting your own company and explains why early guidance and support is crucial to success. You’ll get a glimpse at everything this course has to offer, including:
- Steps and strategies for building a successful startup
- Real-life experiences and hard lessons from founders
- Complicated issues that startups must handle early on
- 02About this courseMeet the Knowable team and learn why they created this course.This lesson introduces you to the members of the Knowable team, including their individual backgrounds as entrepreneurs and founders. They created this course to teach people what they wished they’d known when starting out. You’ll also learn about the design, contents, and additional resources and materials of this audible-only course.2 resources for further study
- 03Are you founder material?Learn what makes a successful founder and confront your fears about starting a business.This lesson teaches you how to prepare for the demands of entrepreneurship, evaluate your personal strengths and weaknesses, and face the fears and misgivings common among founders. The founder and CEO of Knowable discusses the mentality and key attributes required of any would-be startup founder, including the ability to:
3 resources for further study; 5 suggested books for aspiring founders
- Make sacrifices
- Shoulder great responsibility
- Maintain vision, energy, and relentless optimism
- Make mistakes
- Navigate an unstructured environment
- 04High-growth startupsLearn the unique characteristics of high-growth startups.This lesson will familiarize you with the differences between high-growth startups and other small businesses, including how they scale and get funded. You’ll also hear about the common mistakes that lead to failure for 7 out of 10 startups, including:
6 resources for further study
- The wrong team
- Poor execution
- Financial pressure
- Growth mismanagement
- Founder conflict
- 05Your ideaLearn to generate and evaluate business ideas.In this lesson, you’ll learn why the best businesses solve real problems, how to come up with your own business ideas, and how to test and validate them. Three successful founders and CEOs will teach you the steps to generating, developing, and vetting your idea, including why you should:
1 action item; 3 resources for further study
- Mine your frustrations
- Consider your own interests and hobbies
- Find your people
- Evaluate and vet your idea with a list of key questions
- Get feedback
- 06Competitive analysisLearn to identify and evaluate competitors to better understand your market.This lesson teaches you how to research your market, understand your competition, and use your research to identify business opportunities. You’ll learn unique ways to research competitors and organize your findings in a spreadsheet for comparison. This lesson explains how to research by:
Competitive analysis spreadsheet; 1 action item; 2 resources for further study; 7 market intelligence tool recommendations
- Talking to people
- Signing up for newsletters
- Reading reviews
- Using market intelligence tools
- Exploring trade events
- 07What if you can't code?Learn why coding skills aren’t required to build a startup.Discover why now is the best time in history to launch a startup regardless of your tech (or non-tech) background. Many successful startups were founded by people with no coding experience, and one such founder will give you personal advice on how you can solve the problem of engineering. You’ll also receive helpful resources—whether you want to do some of the technical work yourself or hire a third-party developer.1 action item; 3 resources for further study; 8 links to no-code product development tools; 3 links to no-code maker communities
- 08Lean startup methodLearn the proven method for agile startup business planning.You’ve probably heard about the lean startup method, but this lesson will dive deeper into what it’s all about: experimentation, iteration, and validated learning. You’ll discover why agility and adaptability are essential for any startup, how to learn from your earliest users, and why the ultimate goal is product-market fit. You’ll also learn how to:
Lean canvas template; 1 action item; 6 resources for further study; 3 lean startup tools
- Draft a one-page business plan
- Adapt your initial vision
- Implement the three stages of the lean startup method
- Talk to prospective users
- 09MVPLearn the customer-focused process for developing your product.This lesson familiarizes you with the concept of an MVP or “minimum viable product.” Successful startup founders will teach you how to:
1 action item; 4 resources for further study; 8 no-code product development tools
- Build your MVP, get to market, and learn from real users
- Utilize the build-measure-learn cycle
- Measure progress to improve your strategy
- Pivot or shift your idea based on feedback
- Determine your growth engine
- 10Co-foundersLearn how to find a co-founder and divide ownership.In this lesson, you’ll learn why choosing a co-founder (or not) is one of the most difficult and important decisions you’ll ever make. A successful founder and a startup lawyer will teach you:
Example founders agreement; 1 action item; 12 resources for further study; 1 tool for meeting co-founders
- The pros and cons of having a co-founder
- Why the right chemistry is crucial
- Tips for finding a co-founder
- Cautionary tales of partnering with friends or family
- How to formalize the business relationship and divide equity
- 11Going full timeLearn why you should probably wait before going all in on your business.This lesson discusses why the “all-in founder” route might not be the best for you, how staying in your day job gives you a better chance of success, and how to know when you’re ready to give your startup 100%. You’ll receive expert advice like:
1 action item; 5 resources for further study
- How to balance two jobs at once
- A checklist of things you should do before going all in
- How to calculate your personal safety net before quitting your job
- 12BrandLearn the basics of brand building, including naming and identity design.In this lesson, our experts will teach you the fundamentals of branding for startups, including how to create your brand even if you’re not a copywriter or designer. You’ll learn the importance of:
1 action item; 5 resources for further study; 4 business naming tools; 8 logo design tools; 8 no-code website design tools; 3 domain registration tools; 10 social media management tools
- Naming your company
- Creating a logo and professional identity
- Showcasing your business through a quality website
- Establishing your web presence
- Crafting your social media strategy
- 13Marketing and communityLearn why your user community is your most valuable marketing asset.This lesson will teach you why you should utilize your community as a marketing tool before resorting to paid PR and marketing. The co-founder of Reddit will tell you his own personal marketing story and teach you how to keep people coming back to your company with lessons like:
1 action item, 9 resources for further study, 4 links to startup marketing tools
- Chasing press is a waste of time
- Communicate personally with your users
- Be real
- Know your community
- Invest in customer service
- 14Incorporation and legalLearn the fundamentals of incorporation and startup law.This lesson explains why you should incorporate your business and why you need a trusted lawyer for this and other legal tasks during your startup journey. Unlike many things in the early stages of your startup, this is not stuff you should DIY, so an experienced startup lawyer will explain:
Example Delaware incorporation documents, 1 action item, 7 resources for further study, 5 links to legal tools
- Why getting a lawyer early on is important
- The basics of incorporation
- How to hire a good lawyer
- How to find a startup specialist
- 15Team and cultureLearn why hiring is your most important job.A strong team is the single biggest predictor of success for startups. In this lesson, you’ll find out how to hire the right team members and what matters most when creating a company culture. Several founders will explain:
Example contractor agreement; example NDA; 1 action item; 8 resources for further study on hiring; 3 resources for further study on full-time vs. freelance; 6 resources for further study on workplace diversity; 5 resources for further study on remote teams; 3 hiring and team management tools; 4 recruiting tools; 4 productivity tools for teams
- How to find great candidates
- “Culture fit” vs. “culture add”
- Team diversity
- Choosing between full-time vs. freelance
- Remote teams
- 16Fundraising and venture capitalLearn to connect with investors and win them over.This lesson breaks down the basics of raising capital, how investors do their jobs, and what you can expect from the process as a founder. One experienced venture capitalist will teach you about:
Example cap table; convertible note; term sheet; Sequoia pitch deck template; 1 action item; various resources for further study on fundraising, pitches, and venture deals
- The fundamentals of fundraising
- What investors look for in your company
- What you should look for in a lead investor
- Incubators and accelerators
- How to meet investors
- 17Self-careLearn to navigate the personal challenges of being a founder.In this lesson, several startup founders will teach you why self-care is crucial in this business. They’ll explain why “hustle porn” is toxic and that it’s okay to be vulnerable. As a startup founder, you won’t have free time, but you shouldn’t forget to take care of yourself. You’ll learn tactics to handle the stress of work, including:
1 action item; 5 resources for further study; 4 links to self-care tools
- Striving for work-life balance
- Talking about your concerns
- Setting small goals
- 18The road aheadReflections on the founder’s journey from Alexis Ohanian.This lesson leaves you with a few final thoughts on entrepreneurship from the co-founder of Reddit. He’ll provide you with details about furthering your education through this course and how to get in touch before saying goodbye with some words of inspiration and encouragement for your startup journey!