Matei PavelCo-founder at

Developer since I was 15, turned entrepreneur at 22. Sold my first bootstrapped business for over $300K at 24. A big fan of SaaS, aggregation and search (all of which businesses I am currently running). I believe success comes from within and there's no excuse for not making it big if you really want it.

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There's only one answer to this question and it might sound pretentious: experience.

As you go along, you might find some of your experiences remind you of certain stuff other entrepreneurs have said but you will very often find yourself going your own way even if they advise against it. You may be wrong but then again, they might be wrong also.

The worst thing you could do is read or listen to too much of what others have done, in their own way, and try to mimic them, believing that the same things will work for your business as well.

Take the issue of time, for example. Depending on the stage of their entrepreneurial life, some will argue you should always find time for the gym and disconnect at least a day a week. Ask a 22 year old guy who's pulling in 20K/month, in his pocket, after 2 years of absolute dedication to work and he'll say disconnecting just for the sake of disconnecting is wasted time. Then again, someone who's a master of automating his business may tell you 2 hours / day will get you to the right place in no time.

Another example is sales. The world changes at a very fast pace these days. Better communication tools, better CRMs, globalization - the "rules" of who to sell to, where and how to pitch, the very traits that make your product worthy or not, they're constantly evolving. Whatever worked 2 years ago might still work today, but there could be a completely different way to sell that is faster, more cost effective and more in tune to your communication style. Waste too much time being taught about sales when doing a start-up and you'll be blind to your own instincts that may very well be revolutionary :)

My advise is to develop and nurture a mindset that allows you to adapt rather than imitate.

Of course, if you fell what I said is dumb and would rather be taught entrepreneurship, then that's what you should do. I don't mean that in a bad way. I really think you should follow your gut on what makes a great entrepreneur. Being successful by trying to be someone you're not will be less fun :)

Here's an article I wrote about a similar topic, "how startup news is killing your startup":

Good luck!

A few years back, a blog written by hackers emerged on the Romanian market. Back then, I was working as a web developer for the biggest jobs site on our market (>3M revenue).

One morning, we got an email from the guy who started the hacker blog. It was a simple SQL injection that revealed a lot of sensitive data like user emails and contact data. We were instructed to fix this in 24 hours or he would go public and expose our error to the public. Nice guy, he gave us the benefit of the doubt. If we were a serious business, interested in the security of our users' data, we'd jump and fix things. If not, we deserved to be exposed.

We spent the entire day going through every single script on the site and tried to secure everything we could think of. The coding had been done years before by a different team and we found a lot of security holes.

The second day I went to my boss and told him the only way we're going to get them all is to hire the hackers to mess us up as badly as they could.

It was a win-win for everybody.

So, what I'd suggest is this:

1. Don't target startups. They have so many on their plate and so little resources, a small-to-medium security flaw won't be a huge priority. Making payday and turning a profit is top on their list.

2.Target companies with a lot to lose due to security. Go for the big guys.

3. Find one error, report it to the highest management level you can find contact details for, explain the risks and pitch your service.

I'm currently running a SaaS where data security matters. We already did a crowdsourced vulnerability test and it was a pain to set up. I'm really happy to have found out about you guys!

If you'd like to brainstorm a few more sales ideas, let me know, give me a few days to do some research and book a call.

Either way, let's keep in touch!


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