Mon.Nov 07, 2011

Another Day, Another Patent Troll

Feld Thoughts

These days I’m regularly exposed to patent trolls. Sometimes I read about them, sometimes friends email me about them, and sometimes companies I’m an investor in gets sued by them. Whenever I read the claims in the lawsuits, I often think that the claim in question is “obvious.” ” For those of you out there who know how patents are supposed to work, for something to be patentable it needs to be “non-obvious” as well as “unique.”

How do I sell a general-purpose tool?

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

(Powered by LaunchBit ). This is part of an ongoing startup advice series where I answer (anonymized!) questions from readers, like a written version of Smart Bear Live. To get your question answered , email me at asmartbear -at- shortmail -dot- com.

Trending Sources

Using Veri to Understand Term Sheets

Feld Thoughts

For some time Jason and I have felt that VC’s have had an unfair advantage when it comes to understanding term sheets. So a few years back we wrote a whole series of blog posts (the Term Sheet series ) which became the basis for the book Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist. Our goal with all of this was to help put entrepreneurs on a more even footing in negotiating a deal with a VC.

Forget The MBA: How About a Masters In Startup Awesomeness?


This weekend marks the 6 year anniversary of (it was launched on November 5, 2005). The OnStartups community has grown -- a lot.

RSS 43

What I learned from a month of blogging and 250k visits

The Startup Toolkit

Roughly a month ago, I decided to give blogging another try, in earnest. I put out an article most days and up to 3 per day when I was experimenting with new channels. It has been fascinating. That being said, this is not a post about blogging tactics. It’s about what the experience has taught me about startups. There’s going to be a common theme with these “discoveries.” ” They are all examples of me finally getting advice I’ve heard a million times before.

More Trending

Do You Have A Closed Mind or Are You Really Interested?

Taffy Williams

Being anentrepreneur requires changing direction and activities regularly with the solepurpose of making things work. Thismeans trying to keep an open mind about how to get tasks accomplished. It is sometimes hard to remain open tosuggestions when you get too focused on how a project is to be completed. Process is always important, but not alwaysthem the only thing that is required to get an outcome that meets theobjectives.

The End of SEO as We Know It

Inc Startups

Meet Siri. She'll write your emails, check the weather, update your calendar--and potentially disrupt the way future customers find your business. One of my kids snags every new iPhone. He has a 4S and has been playing with Siri almost nonstop.

PPC 43

Is your business idea a teen crush or mature relationship?

Escape From Cubicle Nation

It was 1979 and I was thirteen. In seventh grade, I should have been focusing on getting a good grade in English and excelling at my first job washing dishes at Swensen’s Ice Cream Parlor, but I was too busy thinking about Mike Keller. Ah, Mike Keller.

What I learned from a month of blogging and 250k visits

The Startup Toolkit

Roughly a month ago, I decided to give blogging another try, in earnest. I put out an article most days and up to 3 per day when I was experimenting with new channels. It has been fascinating. That being said, this is not a post about blogging tactics. It’s about what the experience has taught me about startups. Find the customers first, then build for them. It took me a long time to understand YC’s motto that you should: Make something people want.

Sell Me Something Damn It

Duct Tape Marketing

Sell Me Something Damn It This content from: Duct Tape Marketing. Internet marketing types know that the only thing that matters is the sale – all that build up, spammy sounding long form sales copy, and gut wrenching emotional hot button pushing is about the sale and little else.

Are you the master of your domain?

Seth Levine's VC Adventure

The title of this post is meant to be taken literally, not metaphorically. Do you control your domain? Last Friday one of our portfolio companies briefly lost control of its domain.

Seriously, You Want to Launch Your Own Fund?

Babbling VC

A good friend wrote a mail this morning asking for a quick list of ideas regarding the launching of a first-time fund. Without really thinking it through extensively, below are 10 things I think are relevant if a team is about to go and raise their first fund. These are in no particular order and I'm sure I'm missing stuff but I thought I'd just share the list here too. It's shooting from the hip: 1. MUST GET ALONG. Just like every start-up needs a coherent team, so too does a VC firm.

LP 19

Pay for Publicity with Equity

Inc Startups

Wahooly aims to match your start-up with influencers who can propel your company's name into the social media stratosphere. The price: A little equity. Need help getting the word out about your start-up and its products or services? A start-up called Wahooly thinks it can help.

The Other Side of Dropping Out to Pursue Entrepreneurial Career

The Entrepreneurial Mind

In May of this year, Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, awarded 24 young, aspiring entrepreneurs $100,000 to "drop out of school and become world-changing visionaries." Now that the publicity has settled down, I thought it would be a good time to offer the perspective of three entrepreneurs who dropped out of Belmont's entrepreneurship program. None of them was part of Thiel's program, but each dropped out to chase his entrepreneurial dreams.

Customer Centric Trumps Customer Service Every Time

Startup Professionals Musings

New product startups rightfully begin with a heads-down focus on creating the ultimate product – whether it’s a new technology, a new look and ease of use, or a new low-cost delivery approach.

The Charles Darwin School of Business

Inc Startups

According to Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, only the fittest survive. Here's how it works in the business world. Charles Darwin would have built a killer company.

Flash 22

The Startup Name Game

Nick O'Neill

I’ve been asked by a number of people about naming startups since launching, a name which to say the least, did not come cheaply. People have asked me everything from how to name a startup, to how much you should spend, to how important the name is. Ultimately, we each have our own theories on the topic, but I’ll take this opportunity to outline all of my own opinions on the subject. The Importance Of A Name.

The end or the beginning? Thoughts on the current startup environment

This is going to be BIG.

Just as an additional disclosure, these are my thoughts, not that of First Round Capital, my employer. The other day, Adeo Ressi wrote in TechCrunch about how we need more venture funds, because. Every investor and entrepreneur knows there is something scary about the current startup economy. There is an enormous amount of angel capital available, while at the same time there is a small amount of Series A and a large and concentrated amount of late stage capital.

Counteroffers and Threats

Texas Startup Blog

Companies like ShopSavvy are in hiring mode. They are looking for the best and brightest in their fields to come join their teams. Often the ‘best and brightest’ are working for other companies and aren’t actively seeking new employment.

RTP: The first 60 days

Passionate Intensity

Tweet RTP VENTURES announced its existence on September 6, 2011 on this blog. I did not want to do a press release, talk about nebulous market trends, or brag about our fund’s raised capital as is often done by venture firms looking to make a big splash.

Hey MongoDB Haters: The Problem Isn’t Mongo, It’s You

Nick O'Neill

I spent the weekend reading over all the conversations on Hacker News (effectively summarized in this post ) about how MongoDB had failed this one company, and all the follow-on conversation about why or why not to use Mongo as a database solution. Fortunately there are often some very rational people in the comments on Hacker News, but I feel like there is one key takeaway: developers and engineers will always be overcoming challenges no matter what system they select.

Unconventional Comparables

Recent Buzzes - VC Experts, Inc.

There is one often reliable, and almost never discussed, way to price early stage valuations and that is assessing comparable transactions. And, let me distinguish the method I suggest from the conventional 'Comparable Transactions' methods. let's call my suggestion the "Unorthodox" or "Maverick" Comparable methodology. With conventional comparables, the idea is relatively simple: Find a bunch of transactions involving companies which look like yours and draw obvious comparisons

Are you the master of your domain?

Seth Levine's VC Adventure

The title of this post is meant to be taken literally, not metaphorically. Do you control your domain? Last Friday one of our portfolio companies briefly lost control of its domain.

A Pat on the Back

Growthink Blog

Whatever one's politics, those interested in seeing entrepreneurs prosper in America have to be heartened by the sea of change in “regulatory attitude” emanating from Washington. Across the ideological spectrum, I hear near universal agreement that “ cutting the red tape ” is the fastest way to re-ignite the nation’s economy and best position the country for 21st century global competitiveness. Let’s have an amen for that!

Million Dollar Report 2, Startup Remarkable | Startup Remarkable

Startup Remarkable

Social Media is a Boon to Startups Who Do It Right


If your startup can’t be bothered with social media, or has no plan to take advantage of it, then you are definitely at risk these days. But simply jumping in is not enough. Before you start spending money and time being a user, you need to understand how it can help you and your business.

Blogtrepreneur Interview: Shahed Khan of

Blogtrepreneur | Entrepreneur Blog

He’s impressive by just about any measure, but for a teen working on his first startup, Shahed Khan is worth taking a closer look at. Shahed is the founder of Viatask, an application that’s launching 11/22/2011 and has been called Craigslist for chores. There’s no doubt in my mind that his is a name we’ll

Principles of effective blog design


People judge books by the cover and other people by their looks. Take a look at these 2 men: Now answer these questions (you can’t choose “neither”): Which one would you rather ask investment advice from? Which one would you rather have babysit your children?

[Event] Global Entrepreneurship Week 2011 To Hit Record 123 Countries


The entrepreneurship movement around the world is growing from strength to strength, and much of that momentum can be attributed to the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Quiz: Will Customers Say Yes?

Inc Startups

Turns out, your customers are more predictable than you think. With these two checklists, you'll never have to guess again. For sales pros, no sound is sweeter than a customer saying "YES!" However, many sales pros avoid asking for the business, because they’re afraid of hearing "No."

Founder Re-org: Possible Outcomes

Peter Levine

Below are the possible outcomes to the hypothetical situation I posed in my previous blog post, “Founder Re-org” When I arrived as the CEO of XenSource in February 2006, I faced a similar (though not exact) situation to what SpiderNet is facing. At XenSource, we had an incredibly talented founding team, located in Cambridge, UK. There was another group of talented engineers in Palo Alto. The problem was that the Cambridge and Palo Alto groups pretty much hated each other.

Traditional (“Big”) VC is alive and well…


After accounting restatements and other mishaps and still burning crazy $, Groupon is finally public. This juggernaut of a company is only three years old and raised over $1.1B before entering the public markets. That is a crazy ride! On paper, Groupon’s investors (14 venture funds) generated a 3.3X return. PE Hub dug deeper and unearthed paper returns for each VC Fund. Some highlights: - Andreessen Horowitz : Invested $40M, now worth $132M in less than one year.

Affiliate Marketing Update: 250 Leads in 1 Day An Internet Entrepreneur's Journey

I gave an update on my recent resurgence into affiliate marketing a couple of weeks ago. In the post, I disclose how I found a lot of losing campaigns… in fact, the vast majority of them were losers.

Startup Lancaster

In May a number of us in the Lancaster tech community organized a monthly meeting of tech founders to see what else is out there; a list of disconnected people does not an ecosystem make. Tonight we're holding the 5th of these. The pattern that's evolved is that we "network" (I really don't like that word--better one?), then go around the table and check in with our progress since the last meeting, then the challenges we're facing.