November, 2011

You’ll Be Dead Soon – Carpe Diem

Steve Blank

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Steve Jobs. Watching an entrepreneur fail is sad, but watching but watching them fail from a lack of nerve is tragic. Excitement.

Small Features

Instigator Blog

(Powered by LaunchBit ) We often measure the “size” of a feature based on how hard it is to build (development time) and how hard it is to use (for end users.) So a “small feature” is one that’s easy to code and easy to use.

Trending Sources

Want To Be A VC? Start A Company.

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Steve Blank has a great post up on his blog suggesting that VCs should require startup CEO experience in their partners' resumes. He quotes from me in that post but I'm not going to state which one came from me. You can guess if you want. You might be surprised to know that I agree with Steve. I have never run a startup company. By Steve's measure, that is a weakness in my background and experience. And I agree that it is.

The Real Cost of Patent Trolls

Feld Thoughts

James Bessen, Jennifer Ford, and Michael Meurer of BU School of Law have written a phenomenal paper titled The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls. Rather than be politically correct and refer to NPE’s simply as “non-practicing entities”, they cut through all the noise, define what a patent troll is, and go through a detailed and rigorous analysis of the private and social costs of patent trolls.

Cost 116

How cold calling (properly) works better than AdWords

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

(Powered by LaunchBit ). Tweet. --> This is a guest post from Robert Graham — a solo bootstrapper who blogs about the experience. Robert has been working in software since 2005. He is a Ph.D. dropout who spent time working for Google. Someday he’d like to work for himself.

Brazil 149

More Trending

Continuous Feedback

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

We have a portfolio company that will remain nameless that does something I want to call out as super awesome. Every board meeting, as homework after the meeting, they ask each board member to fill out a simple Google Form with two questions; three things we are doing well and three things we need to do better. They've been doing that every board meeting that I've been to.

Don’t Forget To Bootstrap

Feld Thoughts

I recently spent some time with a long time friend and entrepreneur who I’ve funded in the past. He’s working on a new company which I think is really neat and I’m already a user of. He called me for feedback on his fundraising strategy as well as to see if it’s something that we’d be interested in investing in. It’s outside our themes and different than the type of business we invest in.

10 Preparation Steps to Win an Angel Investment

Startup Professionals Musings

Every new startup I know dreams of being funded by an angel investor. Yet according to the latest data from Gust (formerly AngelSoft), only about 3 out of 100 companies who initiate the formal request process actually get funded.

If You Don’t Have a Discrete Hypothesis You Are Incapable of Failing

Both Sides of the Table

There are very few people in Silicon Valley who have such a precise grasp on what defines success of early-stage startup companies than Eric Ries. And there are very few people who so consistently exceed my expectations when I hear them speak.

Lean 109

Your startup needs a pre-launch signup landing page

47 Hats

[After last week's post on A prelaunch page for your startup , Josh Ledgard of KickoffLabs reached out to point out his alternative. Here's more info from Josh.]. by Josh Ledgard. Co-founder, KickoffLabs. You need to start marketing your next great idea today.

API 82

The Curse of Knowledge in Product Design

Instigator Blog

(Powered by LaunchBit ) You know your product best. You know every feature, how it all works, the bugs, nuances and hiccups too. You know what’s coming next in the product roadmap. You definitely know more than your customers, right? Yup, you have the Curse of Knowledge. The Curse of Knowledge is described in Dan and and Chip Heath’s book, Made to Stick.

What Exactly Is A Lead Investor?

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

The term "lead investor" is often misunderstood. I have seen VCs negotiate to be called a co-lead or a lead in the term sheet. But you don't get given that designation. You earn it. Glenn Kelman (a long time AVC regular) has a great blog post on this featuring former Sequoia partner, now Khosla partner, Pierre Lamond in the lead investor role: Then Pierre Lamond, the Sequoia partner on the deal, began working out of our office, acting as the virtual CEO.

15 Years Of Technology Progress

Feld Thoughts

Next week at Defrag I’ll be giving a talk titled “Resistance is Futile” I’ll be talking about my premise that the machines have already taken over. A few days ago a friend of mine emailed me a perfect image to summarize where we are today. Ponder and enjoy. Technology humor machines

Scientists Unleashed

Steve Blank

Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not. George Bernard Shaw. We’re in the middle of our National Science Foundation Innovation Corps class – taking the most promising research projects in American university laboratories and teaching these scientists the basics of entrepreneurship. Our goal is to accelerate the commercialization of their inventions.


Startup Lessons Learned

The following is a rather unusual guest post. One of the more surreal parts of speaking publicly and putting ideas out into the ether is to watch other people run with them. I can't seem to help tuning into comment threads on blogs, news aggregators, etc.

An Extensive Guide To Web Form Usability

Magazine. Network. Job Board. Smashing Directory. Coding. UXDesign. Wordpress. Designinformer. Facebook. Twitter. Newsletter. All categories. Coding. Design. Graphics. Inspiration. Freebies. HTML5. JavaScript. Photoshop. Typography. Usability. Wallpapers. WordPress. Smashing Magazine.

Web 62

The Specification is Dead; Long Live the Specification

Instigator Blog

In the olden days, most people followed a waterfall method. It involved writing “complete” specifications on exactly what had to be built, how it would be built, how it would work, look, etc. You’d have the “complete” package of documentation up-front and then you’d start coding.

Agile 76


A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

A few weeks ago, I met with a VC who has been investing in healthcare for over 30 years. He asked if we invested in healthcare and I told him that we'd like to but we don't really know how to fit it into our investment thesis which is focused on large networks of engaged users disrupting large markets. Clearly healthcare is a large market, possibly the largest measured as a percent of GDP. But we haven't seen many large networks of engaged users emerging in healthcare.

Racism in Tech

Feld Thoughts

There was a huge kerfluffle over the weekend about racism in Silicon Valley which tried to end when Michael Arrington wrote a post titled Oh Shit, I’m A Racist. But it didn’t end – on Monday there were stories by CNN reporter Soledad O’Brien defending herself with an article titled Michael Arrington is right (about one thing) and then a well reasoned post by Mitch Kapor titled Beyond Arrington and CNN, Let’s Look at the Real Issues.

Why MANY smart people are not social?

Life Beyond Code

You and I both have met enough smart people who are not social.

Jedi Mind Tricks: 17 Lesser Known Ways to Persuade People


You want to be persuasive. The power to influence people to get what you want is sometimes all it takes to be successful. These are some tactics, discovered through psychological research, that you have probably not yet heard about, but have the potential to increase your persuasive abilities.

That old-time startup religion

Startup Lessons Learned

Warning: the video below may be offensive to some readers. It contains irreverent use of religious language. Viewer discretion is advised. So there I was, on stage in front of a large crowd, when Jason says "Has anyone seen the movie Apostle ?"

Sleeping Under Your Desk

Instigator Blog

(Powered by LaunchBit ) I’ve slept under my desk before. A few times in fact. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was more comfortable than sleeping on my chair or on top of my desk (I’ve tried both.)

Raise Cache

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

On the evening of November 17th, the NY tech community is going to throw a party to raise $100k for HackNY. It is called Raise Cache and it should be a lot of fun. At 8:30pm there is going to be a fashion show featuring members of the tech industry on the runway.

PBS Newshour on Accelerators

Feld Thoughts

PBS Newshour has a neat eight minute segment on accelerators. TechStars is featured, along with several others. This makes me happy as part of our goal when we started TechStars was to “open-source” the mentor driven accelerator process.

Blind spots that smart people should be aware of

Life Beyond Code

Blind spots are a problem for everyone – not just for smart people. Sometimes one can’t see the blind spots and sometimes one suffers because they are treading the blind spot of someone else.

Launchpad LA Receives VC Funding: $50,000 Per Startup

Both Sides of the Table

Launchpad LA today announces it will accept applications for its third class of Los Angeles-based tech startups. We have significant VC commitments (listed below) – every entering company will get $50,000 in funding, mentorship from top VCs and successful entrepreneurs plus free office space.

Benchmarking Cassandra Scalability on AWS - Over a million writes per second

Wednesday, November 2, 2011. Benchmarking Cassandra Scalability on AWS - Over a million writes per second. by Adrian Cockcroft and Denis Sheahan Netflix has been rolling out the Apache Cassandra NoSQL data store for production use over the last six months.

EC2 58

Be Selective in Early Beta Programs to Find the Ideal Customers and Use Cases

Instigator Blog

The goal of a startup is to find a sustainable, repeatable and scalable business model. And so much of a startup’s success is dependent on the early “beta period” where you provide access (to your product) to a limited group of prospects. If the beta period is a complete flop (no one uses the product, feedback is poor, etc.) it doesn’t mean the startup is a failure, but the company has to be in a position to learn from those setbacks, adjust and try again.

NYU Poly Speech

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

A few weeks ago I hopped on the subway and headed out to downtown Brooklyn to NYU Poly, the engineering school that recently merged with NYU. I got there a bit early, went to Starbucks and wrote down some thoughts.

Books On Entrepreneurship

Feld Thoughts

I love books. I love to read. I realize I’ve had a dry spell – I’ve hardly been reading books at all this fall. That hasn’t stopped them from piling up as my infinite pile of books to read remains – well – infinite. I gobbled down some entrepreneurship books in the last week. There are a number of great ones coming that seem to have been kicked off by Eric Ries’ dynamite The Lean Startup.

Steel In Their Eyes – Why VC’s Should Be Startup CEO’s

Steve Blank

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. Mark Twain. Venture Capitalists who are serious about turning their firms into more than one-fund wonders may want to have their associates actually start and run a company for a year. Running a company is distinctly different from simply having operating experience – (working in bus dev, sales or marketing.)

The CEO Should Be The Chief Experience Officer


Earlier this week, I was chatting with my friend, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot , Brian Halligan. We were doing one of our ad-hod strategy sessions about the business, and working through some things. After that conversation, as I was driving to a dinner meeting, an idea occurred to me.

Lean Startup vs. Visionary Entrepreneur

Grasshopper Herder

There is an ongoing misconception that creating a company under a lean startup approach is incompatible with a big entrepreneurial vision. Customer Development Entrepreneurship Lean startup startup vision

Lean 54