31 May 2013

Customer Outreach Startup Intercom

“In the past … companies tried to minimize customer interaction,” Adams said. “They didn’t want customers to talk back to them — that was overhead. Minimizing customer interaction is a very outdated model from a pre-social web world. Intercom is very much about intimacy, very much about being personable.” (source infra)

Facebook’s Head Of Brand Design Paul Adams Joins Customer Outreach Startup Intercom | TechCrunch: " . . . . The startup, which is backed by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, 500 Startups and others, offers tools for online businesses to track every interaction with a customer and to use that data to deliver personalized messages and offers. . . ."

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30 May 2013

Biggest pivot in YC history

The biggest pivot in YC history. This post outlines our story up to now and encourages all startups to never die. . . .(source infra)

Soylent: " . . . The original project phased out in November. Our roommates were part of Imagine K12 and ran out of money around the same time. One of our co-founders went back to finish his degree and another of our roommates went off to grad school. We were able to recruit the other roommate (John) to join Rob and me on hacking up anything and everything. To cut our burn rate, the three of us moved from a five bed house in Sunnyvale to a cheaper apartment in San Francisco. John, our new recruit, sleeps in the living room of our two bedroom Tenderloin apartment. By the start of 2013, we were working on a handful of projects. Sometimes collectively, sometimes independently. One day, Rob said, “There must be a more efficient way to eat.” He researched the human nutritional needs and was frustrated to find that nutrition is not quite a hard science right now. Regardless, he identified the essential ingredients the body needs to thrive and, a few days later, began constructing his alternative diet using supplements purchased on Amazon. Pleased with initial testing, he committed to his newly invented diet for 30 days. . . ."

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29 May 2013

Promising Path for Start-Ups in Brazil

Investors and entrepreneurs say that economic conditions in Brazil are difficult, but that long-term prospects remain highly favorable.

Despite Stumbles, a Promising Path for Start-Ups in Brazil - NYTimes.com: "“Silicon Valley’s expectations were higher than they should have been in terms of the reality of the opportunity down there,” said Jeff Brody, a founding partner of Redpoint Ventures. Yet he expects to maintain the same pace of investing this year, citing improved deal-flow and noting that “one of the things we have learned is that you need to invest steadily through the cycles.” Together with San Francisco-based e.ventures, the firm raised a $130 million fund Last year run out of São Paulo. Even those critical of the sector are not yet replacing Brazil with other markets. At the Founders Forum, an annual gathering here in March, few investors spoke of shifting their investments to other Latin American markets like Mexico, Latin America’s second-largest economy after Brazil. “People realize that Mexico is less developed in the Internet space and that raising follow-on capital is even harder,” said Jose Marin, a partner at the IG Expansion investment firm in Madrid and a host of the Founders Forum meeting." more at link above

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28 May 2013

A must read for anyone doing a startup

Here's an excerpt (go to the link for full article)--

The One-Person Product – Marco.org: " . . . . We tried to hold out as just two (and then just three) people as long as possible. We were scared of growing the staff, so we just put it off — for too long, in retrospect. Eventually, David knew that we’d need to expand to handle the load, but his job never changed: rather than become a businessperson, he just hired one. Then Tumblr began its most challenging growth: David needed to become a product manager, start overseeing a lot more people, and delegate some of the duties he really wanted to keep doing himself. . . . ."

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27 May 2013

Millennials - entrepreneur is the path to work life balance

Millennials think being an entrepreneur is the path to work life balance | The Work/Life Balancing Act: " . . . . left a job with stability and benefits to work for a Boca Raton start-up, an ecommerce optimization software company where he was given equity. He says he has seen an advantage in working first for other employers — mostly figuring out what mistakes not to make and where his strengths lie. “I would love to be on the beachfront running my company, but I know it’s a long road to get to that point. My plan is to see this company through to end, walk away with money and a means to start my own company.” The Millennials’ bend toward entrepreneurship isn’t completely by choice. Unemployment is high for this age group and those that do have jobs aren’t loving them. Millennials report low levels of satisfaction with their careers at the stage they are at and are expected to have 10 jobs by the time they are 40, according to Schawbel’s Millennial Branding. . . ." more at link above
Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/worklifebalancingact/#storylink=cpy

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24 May 2013

Letting go of what has worked for you in the past

WHEN YOU COME TO THE FORK IN THE ROAD, TAKE IT | Built In Chicago: " What if past experience wasn’t your best friend, but your worst enemy because it was no longer predictive of virtually anything and, worse yet, because it was actually an impediment to the kinds of disruptive change and innovation that we need today to remain competitive and ultimately to lead the global pack? Letting go of what has worked for you in the past isn’t ever easy, but it’s ever more critical that these kinds of questions be a significant part of the decision set." (read more at link above)

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22 May 2013

Delaware not a Business-Friendly State

Once A Friendly Locale To Business, The Modern State Of Delaware Is A Bully - Forbes: " . . . . If Delaware doesn’t reform this broken system, it may very well be replaced by up-and-coming states that value business.  For example, states like Nevada are erecting highly business friendly regimes across the board, based on low taxation and strong corporate liability rules.  Nevada in particular is examining changes like a business-to-business exemption that would dramatically improve unclaimed property administration.  Ultimately, Delaware must decide whether it cherishes its hard-earned reputation as the state for incorporation – because once supplanted, it will be hard to get that reputation back. - Douglas L. Lindholm is President & Executive Director of the Council On State Taxation (COST)" (read more at link above)

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20 May 2013

Most Innovative Employees at Google

The Most Innovative Employees at Google Aren't Stanford/MIT grads with Perfect SATs : iDoneThis blog: " . . . . based on extensive surveys of its work force and performance data, Google discovered that its most innovative workers “are those who have a strong sense of mission about their work and who also feel that they have much personal autonomy.”Google’s findings have a strong congruence with bestselling author Dan Pink’s work, that the source of human motivation and our best work comes from the drive towards autonomy, mastery and purpose. This can clash with high-prestige and credentialed individuals who are driven by external recognition and rewards, not curiosity and craft."

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17 May 2013

VC Industry Contracting and Consolidating

contracting and consolidating--

Thomson Reuters | VCF raised $4.1 Billion during first quarter 2013: "“The first quarter venture fundraising activity represents more than just a „slow start‟ to the year and really demonstrates the contracting and consolidating nature of our asset class,” said John Taylor, head of research for NVCA. “The lack of a strong exit market is keeping many funds that would like to be raising money away from investors until they can demonstrate a track record. This dynamic is keeping the number of funds raised low. Many of the larger funds closed last year and won‟t be back in the market until 2014 and beyond, keeping total dollar levels lower this year. We should be prepared for fewer funds in 2013, which will ultimately decrease investment levels from traditional firms.”"

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15 May 2013

Eating Rejection For Breakfast

Meet The Entrepreneur Who Eats Rejection For Breakfast - Forbes: "There isn’t much Jia Jiang won’t do on a dare. The Austin-based entrepreneur is weeks into a challenge he calls 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. If that sounds familiar, you may have seen the viral video – five million hits and counting - in which Jiang requests that a Krispy Kreme employee fuse five donuts together into the shape of the Olympic rings. His concept is simple – tackle one task or make one request a day with the expectation of being rejected. . . ." read more at link above

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13 May 2013

You don’t need logos at Startups

A startup doesn't need to waste time collecting "logos" or "names" if they are not heavily invested in your venture--

The Problem with Collecting Logos at Startups: "You don’t need logos. Logos are for insecure people. Just like they were in high school when the cool kids had to wear the right logos on their shirts, shorts and handbags. Show strength & conviction. Make the tough decisions and choose the investors with whom you feel the closest fit. Make sure they own enough to be motivated to work with you in good times & bad." (read more at link above)

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10 May 2013

Early-Stage VC nixes Demo Days

I like to hear their passion for the idea. I love complexity. And non-conventional ideas. I love when other investors “don’t get it.” I love businesses that don’t lend themselves well to VC Panels at conferences or Demo Days. (source infra)

The Importance of Proprietary Deal Flow in Early-Stage VC: "So I stand by my well-read Quora post of why I don’t attend demo days. I reiterate as I did back then – it’s not a Y Combinator thing. It’s a Demo Day thing. I don’t think they serve investors well. I feel like I’m attending theater rather than looking for deals. They are terrible predictors of success for investors. We are judging how well you are coached on stage. Do you have good quips? Good vocal variety? Or as the article on Y Combinator suggests, “is your accent too heavy?”" (read more at link above)

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08 May 2013

Tools for Entrepreneurs: Fast + Lean UX Research (video)

Tools for Entrepreneurs: Fast + Lean UX Research video

Google for Entrepreneurs and General Assembly have partnered up to create "Tools for Entrepreneurs," video classes for entrepreneurs to grow their skills and grow their businesses. - Startup founders, first employees, and entrepreneurs want to learn from their customers about their needs and abilities. They need to implement lean User Experience (UX) research techniques to come up with sustainable businesses. This class will open with the heart and soul of good research: focused research questions. Later, we'll learn about three key research questions that every entrepreneur wants to answer with UX research. The class also covers experience sampling, card sorting, and usability testing.

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06 May 2013

Charles Munger Quotes

Charles T. Munger Quotes (Author of Poor Charlie's Almanack): "“We both (Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett) insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think.”
― Charles T. Munger

“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.”
― Charles T. Munger"

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03 May 2013

VC World Returns to Operating Roots

The VC World Returns to Its Operating Roots | TechCrunch: " . . . .Every investor I spoke to believes that we’re headed towards a world where nearly all VCs will have built companies. . . . Reflecting on his own days as an operator, Horowitz tells me that when entrepreneurs “get one out of five things right in a given day”, it’s hard to talk to an investor who simply doesn’t empathize with the complexities of the role. In a way, Horowitz explains, the VC world is going back to its roots in the seventies. Sequoia Capital founder Don Valentine previously founded National Semiconductor, and was an executive at Fairchild Semiconductor. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ founder Eugene Kleiner was a founder of Fairchild, while Tom Perkins was an early HP executive. They drew on their operating experience to cultivate and invest in a new generation of entrepreneurs . . . "
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01 May 2013

Venture capitalists rethink China

Venture capitalists rethink big bets on China amid dismal IPO picture - SiliconValley.com: "Two years ago, it was one of the hottest areas in tech investing. Venture capitalists were lining up to throw money at it. But now, after disappointing IPOs, investors are fleeing. Social networking? Nope. China. In the past few years, virtually every venture shop worth its salt set up operations in the Middle Kingdom, home to one of the world's fastest-growing economies and a billion-strong consumer marketplace. Defying the decades-old maxim that venture capitalists wouldn't invest outside a 30-minute drive of Menlo Park's Sand Hill Road, firms here and elsewhere rushed to join Chinese venture houses or send homegrown partners to China. But last year, venture capitalists largely abandoned China, in large part because of underwhelming stock offerings by Chinese firms on both domestic and U.S. exchanges."

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Mediocre Entrepreneurs | TechCrunch: " . . . . persistence is not the self-help cliche “Keep going until you hit the finish line!”. The key slogan is, “Keep failing until you accidentally no longer fail.” That’s persistence." - James Altucher

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