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Our Top 10 Essays of All Time
The NFX Team ·@NFX
Nov 2020
Top 10 Essays of all time

Time is your most precious, non-renewable resource. So today we’re making public our Top 10 most popular NFX essays, for the benefit of Founders everywhere.

Below is a brief selection of what we learned as Founder/CEOs of 10+ venture-backed companies. Also included are 2 of our most listened-to podcasts featuring our friends Keith Rabois “How Contrarians Think” & Rahul Vohra “The Product Frameworks Behind Superhuman”.

NFX Top 10 List:

1. Your Life Is Driven By Network Effects

This NFX podcast and essay outlines how network effects impact nearly every aspect of your life. This is a rarely seen perspective on how to use the math underlying all of us to make the 7 most important decisions of your life.

2. Why Startup Timing Is Everything

To offer a clearer understanding of startup timing, we shared a framework we call “The Critical Mass Theory of Startups”. It’s the tipping point for when a product or market undergoes rapid transformation seemingly overnight – and demystifies how timing works in company building.

3. The Network Effects Manual: 13 Different Network Effects (now 15)

Many people talk about network effects, but few understand the critical nuances: what they really are, how they work, the many different types, and how to build and maintain them. This manual is the most comprehensive network effects resource that we know of.

4. The Next 10 Years Will Be About “Market Networks”

Market networks combine the main elements of both networks and marketplaces. They will produce a new class of unicorn companies and impact how millions of service professionals will work and earn their living. This post details “7 Attributes Of A Successful Market Network.”

5. 28 Moves to Survive (& Thrive) in a Downturn

A crisis can be your biggest downfall…or your biggest opportunity. This essay surfaces frameworks for leading through a crisis — including 28 moves for managing losses, gaining ground, and a list of insights for managing psychology.

6. The Product Frameworks Behind Superhuman

When others talk about automation and breakneck scale, Superhuman talks about spending time with customers and launching small. It’s a counterintuitive approach to building product that works. This essay dives deep into Superhuman’s lessons for: Customer Onboarding, Product Development, Positioning & Pricing.

7. How CEOs Think: 5 Mental Models to Shift from Founder to CEO

If you’re a Founder of a company that reaches scale, there are two distinct phases you go through. This essay shares NFX partner Pete Flint’s insights on transforming from Founder to CEO, based on his experience leading Trulia from idea to IPO to $3.5B merger with Zillow.

8. How VCs Negotiate: 8 Skills Top Founders Master for Startup Fundraising

Fundraising is a learned skill – and VCs almost always have the upper hand because they deal with it all day, every day. Before you start communicating with VCs, take the time to learn how to detect and manage these 8 little-known fundraising dynamics.

9. The New Mindset for Product-Market Fit

It’s well known that product-market fit is the prerequisite to sustainable growth. But less known is an earlier and equally critical step that can save you months (and millions). And it doesn’t require a single line of code.

10. How Contrarians Think: The Early Days of Square, Yelp & PayPal with Keith Rabois

Silicon Valley loves patterns and playbooks for executing on market disruptions. But what rarely comes to light is that the great Founders do not study rules so they can follow them. They master the rules so they can break them. Underlying their vision are mental models that get at the key question: Which patterns do you violate, and why?

Additional NFX Resources:

You can access our essay library here, subscribe and listen to the NFX podcast, and subscribe and watch video versions of everything on our site.

And if you are fundraising or angel/scout investing, we’ve also built software to speed up the process.

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As Founders ourselves, we respect your time. That’s why we built BriefLink, a new software tool that minimizes the upfront time of getting the VC meeting. Simply tell us about your company in 9 easy questions, and you’ll hear from us if it’s a fit.

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