Google executive, Miami native offers advice for startups

Max Henderson

Max Henderson, a Miami native and the head of growth at Google’s mobile app development platform Firebase, sat down with StartUP FIU Feb. 22 to discuss growing a startup and the implications of ever-evolving technology on business.

During the Q&A session with FIU and local community members, Henderson offered this advice to budding entrepreneurs:

Think about growth from the beginning.

“From a business perspective, you want to fail as fast as you can,” Henderson said. “Today, markets are becoming increasingly winner-take-all. So finding the next successful idea is about being able to come to market quickly. Test your ideas, and quickly move on from one to another until you find the idea that really has product-market fit. Once you have that, we have really strong systems in place, both social and technology, to scale [your business] really quickly.”

Have tech savvy.

“It’s clear that technology is going to pervade our lives, so everyone in their own way, shape or form has an imperative to be technical. It doesn’t mean we all have to be software engineers, but being here and being interested in the space is very important,” Henderson said.

Learn continuously.

“The key is to just learn to learn,” Henderson said. “Most of the jobs that exist now didn’t exist 20 years ago. To me, it’s finding the right things to keep you challenged and motivated. The best way to discover what you’re passionate about is to try lots of stuff. Start broad, and pick things that are as different from each other as possible so you can compare notes on the aspects of things you liked and what you didn’t. Find something that is challenging and that you’re good at. That’s what gives you the drive to continuously learn.”

Sacrificing work-life balance is a necessary evil.

“At some point, especially in the startup community, it’s important to know you are intentionally trading some of your work-life balance to execute an idea, and sometimes that’s the right decision to make,” said Henderson. “You put in 10 years of work in three, and you come out the other side with a big financial success.”

To view Henderson’s full Q&A, click here.