Anyone who has started a business has his or her own rules and guidelines, so I thought I would add to the memo with my own. My "rules" below aren't just for those founding the companies, but for those who are considering going to work for them, as well.
Don't start a company unless it's an obsession and something you love.
If you have an exit strategy, it's not an obsession.
Hire people who you think will love working there.
Sales Cure All. Know how your company will make money and how you will actually make sales.
Know your core competencies and focus on being great at them. Pay up for people in your core competencies. Get the best. Outside the core competencies, hire people that fit your culture but aren't as expensive to pay.
As far as technology, go with what you know. That is always the most inexpensive way. If you know Apple, use it. If you know Vista, ask yourself why, then use it. It's a startup so there are just a few employees. Let people use what they know.
Keep the organization flat. If you have managers reporting to managers in a startup, you will fail. Once you get beyond startup, if you have managers reporting to managers, you will create politics.
Never hire a PR firm. A public relations firm will call or email people in the publications you already read, on the shows you already watch and at the websites you already surf. Those people publish their emails. Whenever you consume any information related to your field, get the email of the person publishing it and send them a message introducing yourself and the company. Their job is to find new stuff. They will welcome hearing from the founder instead of some PR flack. Once you establish communication with that person, make yourself available to answer their questions about the industry and be a source for them. If you are smart, they will use you.
Related: Is Any Publicity Good Publicity?
Make the job fun for employees. Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople. At Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions, we had a company shot. The Kamikaze. We would take people to a bar every now and then and buy one or ten for everyone. At MicroSolutions, more often than not we had vendors cover the tab. Vendors always love a good party.