30 September 2013

America's Cup, VCs, Kiwis

Nine New Zealand companies seeking U.S. capital during America's Cup - SiliconValley.com: " . . . the competition wasn't on the water, where Emirates Team New Zealand (dominated) Oracle (ORCL) Team USA in the finals of the 34th America's Cup. . . . nine Kiwi companies Wednesday hoped to duplicate their countrymen's sailing success in the venture capital world to bring home millions of dollars in U.S. funding. The nine were selected after a competition organized by the New Zealand government to win the right to pitch 130 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs at Emirates Team New Zealand's base at Pier 32. They represent the tip of a New Zealand tech industry that saw its 200 largest technology companies grow 2.2 percent between 2011 and 2012 to $7.2 billion in sales, according to a New Zealand government study. Forbes last year named New Zealand the "Best Country for Business" and technology represents New Zealand's fastest-growing, highest per-capita earning industry...."

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27 September 2013

S&P 500 turnover accelerating

Why Hewlett-Packard is off the Dow Jones Index | MIT Technology Review: " . . . What Foster found is that the rate at which companies get bumped off the S&P 500 has been accelerating. Back in 1958, a company could expect to stay on the list for 61 years. These days, the average is just 18 years. Companies can fall off the S&P 500 when they get too small, or get acquired. No one really knows why the rate of turnover is speeding up, but technological disruption could be one big reason. Since 2002, Google, Amazon, and Netflix have joined the S&P 500, while Kodak, the New York Times, Palm and Compaq have all been forced off, essentially by changing technology. Today’s S&P 500 includes many familiar firms, like Apple, AT&T, Corning, Ford, Intel, and Yahoo (and Hewlett-Packard, too). Yet at today’s fast rate of turnover, three out of four names on the list will be banished into obscurity within the next fifteen years. . . ."

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25 September 2013

Vinod Khosla Says Most VCs Add Negative Value To Startups

An unspoken (until now) truth:

Vinod Khosla: 70-80% Of VCs Add Negative Value To Startups | TechCrunch: " . . .“I would be offending too many people,” Khosla retorted. “Maybe some percentage that’s substantially larger than 95 percent of VCs add zero value. I would bet that 70-80 percent add negative value to a startup in their advising.”. . . ." (read more at link above)

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23 September 2013

Google-backed incubator, Latinos, startups

Google-backed incubator hopes to inspire Latinos to launch startups - San Jose Mercury News: "Unlike startups chosen for more established incubators like Y Combinator, Avila's fledglings won't receive funding . . . In exchange for a 4 percent piece of their companies, entrepreneurs in the program will gain access to mentors from Stanford, Apple (AAPL) and WalmartLabs, among others. The program will culminate in a November "demo day" at Google, where the entrepreneurs will strut their stuff for venture capitalists and angel investors. Francisco Nieto, an Oakland schoolteacher who's one of the founders of a participating startup called sleek-geek, said he's eager for introductions to the program's mentors and prospective funders. "We liked their mission and focus," he said of Manos."

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20 September 2013

Internet startups, porn industry, parallels

Lessons from the porn industry | PandoDaily: "Another parallel is the fact that both industries require no formal qualifications. It’s obvious why this is the case in the porn industry, while the Internet startup space has championed the “no college” mantra and made things so cheap to start that anyone can give it a shot. The result of this, just like in porn, is a flood of people jumping into the industry and increasing competition." (read more at link above)

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18 September 2013

Working at Facebook? It's Still Just Working

The entrepreneur as employee dilemma --

The worst things about working at Facebook - Business Insider: "Just because you're working for a cool company still means you're working. In this case, you're working to fulfill someone else's dream."

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16 September 2013

Government, Entrepreneurs, Economy

The Government and the Entrepreneurs - NYTimes.com: " . . . . Government is responsible for the overall infrastructure in a country, and this includes access to education, decent roads and other transportation links. There is also a case for supporting basic technology development, like at the university level, for example, because of the spillovers or externalities throughout the economy. (I work at M.I.T., which benefits greatly from such support and which has had a major impact on new business creation.) In innovation-based economies (as the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor classifies them), what governments really need to do is to encourage people – entrepreneurs and the equity investors who back them – to take risk and ensure that failure is seen in a positive light, rather than as some kind of stigma. The message should be: Go out and start a business, based on your best idea. Find a technology with a new application or develop a different way to make customers happy. If it doesn’t work out, you have still developed important skills and made a major contribution to society."

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11 September 2013

VCs, Founders, Conceit

The VC’s conceit | rohit: " . . . the only things we need to be moved by is:

Is the idea big enough that it will change how adjacent technologies/products/markets behave?
Is the market big enough that it will contort itself to pay for it?
Is the founder’s conviction big enough that they must do this or the idea will die, and  that they can and will recruit the very best team possible to deliver on the idea?
Beyond these realizations, we can argue financial projections, models, and hiring plans forever and will not get a shred of certainty. Yet we ask for it…. and more. And most founders partake in this ritual habitual by supplying ‘data’ riding on powerpoint in response. This is the founder’s conceit...."

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09 September 2013

Odds, Hollywood Movies, Startups

Of 10 start-ups, only three or four fail completely. Another three or four return the original investment, and one or two produce substantial returns. The National Venture Capital Association estimates that 25% to 30% of venture-backed businesses fail.(source infra)

The Odds of a Hollywood Movie Being Made Are the Same as a Startup Making It: "Out of every ten movie projects launched by a studio - by buying a script, acquiring the movie rights to a novel or comic book, or starting work on an internal idea - only one will actually be made and released. The other nine will be victims of “development hell,” the years spent working up from a script or concept through script changes, casting, and so on. The potential for the film to be pulled or frozen in development indefinitely is a constant threat. Without even looking at performance in terms of profit or return on investment, the odds of a Hollywood movie making it into theaters are the same as Silicon Valley’s 9 out of 10 figure and much longer than startups’ actual failure rate."

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06 September 2013

Startups, Funding Options, Seed Cash

Startups have new options for millions of dollars in 'seed' cash - SiliconValley.com: "Joining the Crowd - While AngelList and similar services like FundersClub require their members to be accredited -- which, in the parlance of the Securities and Exchange Commission, means having substantial financial resources and an investing track record -- anybody with a credit card can invest as little as $1 in fledgling businesses through sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Massolution, a research firm in Los Angeles, reports there are now hundreds of crowdfunding platforms. Last year, they collectively channeled $2.7 billion to entrepreneurs, nearly double the previous year's tally. Massolution CEO Carl Esposti cites the example of Pebble Technology...."

Note: Current SEC rules restrict crowdfunding sites in the United States to investing in specific projects, such as the Pebble watch, rather than buying a piece of the company itself. But that's expected to change late this year when federal officials hammer out new rules as part of sweeping legislation called the JOBS Act (short for Jumpstart Our Business Startups).

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04 September 2013

Product Focus, Why Founders Fail

Why Founders Fail: The Product CEO Paradox | TechCrunch: "This happens all the time. A founder develops a breakthrough idea and starts a company to build it. As originator of the idea, she works tirelessly to bring it to life by involving herself in every detail of the product to ensure that the execution meets the vision. The product succeeds and the company grows. Then somewhere along the line, employees start complaining that the CEO is paying too much attention to what the employees can do better without her and not enough attention to the rest of the company. The board or CEO Coach then advises the founder to “trust her people and delegate.” And then the product loses focus and starts to look like a camel (a horse built by committee). In the meanwhile, it turns out that the CEO was only world-class at the product, so she effectively transformed herself from an excellent, product-oriented CEO into a crappy, general-purpose CEO. Looks like we need a new CEO."

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02 September 2013

Entrepreneurs, University, Partnership

Entrepreneurs, university form partnership - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com: "Entrepreneurs’ Organization South Florida has launched a new relationship with Nova Southeastern University H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship to foster entrepreneurial inspiration and success for students and the business community. EO-SOFLO and NSU will collaborate to host speakers and present seminars and joint activities such as the EO Accelerator that will feature educational content in four key issues faced by start-ups and first-stage entrepreneurs: strategic planning, sales and marketing, human resources and finance."

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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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