April, 2011

Hiring a CTO for Your Startup


Several people have recently come to me to help them source and/or hire full-time CTOs for their startup having found me through my post that looks at: Startup CTO Salary and Equity Data.

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How to Know If Your Startup Idea is the Next Big Thing

Vinicius Vacanti

How do you know if your startup idea is the next next big thing? It’s easy. It isn’t. Most Great Companies Started With Bad Ideas. Most great companies started off with very different ideas that were either not very good or impractical.

Trending Sources

Finding And Buying A Domain Name

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I believe that a good domain name is an important success factor in building and launching consumer web services. It's not in my top ten but it could be. It's certainly something we think about a lot when making investments and working with companies post investment. A number of our portfolio companies have acquired their domain names in connection with or shortly after our investment. Del.icio.us purchased Delicious.com with some of the proceeds of our investment.

The Future of Advertising will be Integrated

Both Sides of the Table

This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. Banner Ads. They first started in 1994 and are therefore almost as old as the Web itself. They were very effective back then, with the original ad garnering a 78% click-through rate (CTR) ! I guess from there we had nowhere to go but down.

Mentors, Coaches and Teachers

Steve Blank

When the student is ready, the master appears. Buddhist Proverb. Lots of entrepreneurs believe they want a mentor. In fact, they’re actually asking for a teacher or a coach. A mentor relationship is a two-way street. To make it work, you have to bring something to the party.

More Trending

A Message To Graduating MBA’s

Feld Thoughts

I gave a talk yesterday to a class of soon-to-graduate MBA students at CU Boulder yesterday. It was their last class in the course that had been filled with a bunch of interesting VC and entrepreneurial guest lecturers. We did Q&A for several hours, covered a lot of ground, and had plenty of fun (or at least I did.) At the end, the professor asked if I had any final words of advice to the room full of MBA’s who were about to graduate.

How Startups Can Use Metrics to Drive Success

Both Sides of the Table

You Manage What you Measure. One of the things I discuss the most with the portfolio companies I’m involved with is that “you manage what you measure.”. It’s a very important concept for me because in a startup you are constantly under pressure and have way too many distractions.

Entrepreneurs Are Artists

Steve Blank

I wrote about entrepreneurs as artists in a previous post. The FounderLy team interviewed me and got me to give a better explanation of what I was trying to say in this 2 minute video clip. If you can’t see the video click here.

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How to Have Startup Swagger Without Being a Complete Asshole

Instigator Blog

Tweet. You need a sizeable ego to succeed in the world of startups and venture capital. Without that ego propelling you forward it’s going to be hard to wake up every morning, take the risks you need to take, and aggressively go after what you want. You won’t be able to negotiate from a position of weakness but make it seem like a position of power. You won’t be able to motivate others around you when things are crumbling.

You Don't Know JavaScript

Web 2.0 Development and Business Lessons

Over the last year or so I've noticed an irritating phenomenon developing. I've seen a repetitive pattern of programmers dressing their resumes with technologies that they don't really know, but have merely touched on

The investment that didn’t happen

K9 Ventures

Note: All information contained in this post is based on my best understanding and perception of what transpired. I have confirmed with the founders that none of the information contained herein is deemed confidential and is therefore fair game for me to share in this post.

Attacking your sucky excuses for not blogging

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

You already know that nowadays you’re invisible without some sort of social media presence. You already know the (alleged) benefits of having a personal or business blog. But you still don’t blog, and for good reason, right? Blogging is work, and ten other things are more important.

Here are 10 Tips from BuzzFeed to Make Your Content Go Viral

Both Sides of the Table

I recently had the pleasure of spending an hour with Jon Steinberg, president of Buzzfeed , a company who focuses on helping media companies make their content go viral. His words, “we find things on Sunday morning that will be on the Today show on Tuesday morning.&#

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Recycling Capital

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

The Gotham Gal and I have been fortunate to accumulate signficant capital over the past fifteen years. And the vast majority of it is invested in startups. We get distributions from a sale of one company and within months that capital (after taxes) is invested in more startups (including non profit startups). This has caused a few liquidity issues over the years. The Gotham Gal is always saying that we'll set aside a bunch of cash next time and then we go and do the same thing.

Insight From Dropbox: Failure Is Not The Worst Outcome, Mediocrity Is


Big news from Dropbox today. They announced hitting 25 million users. I'm a big, big fan of Drew Houston (founder/CEO of Dropbox). Have known him for many years (well before he started Dropbox) and am honored to call him a friend.

The Apprentice – Entrepreneur Version

Steve Blank

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master. Ernest Hemingway. Silicon Valley is built on simple myths – one of the most pervasive is that all winning startups are founded straight out of school by 20 year olds from Stanford or Harvard.

Some Startups Forget to Validate a Business Model

Startup Professionals Musings

Many entrepreneurs work hard on the proof of concept (technical), but skip any proof of the business model (revenue flow). In other words, once they are convinced that the product works, they assume their price, sales channel, and marketing will bring in the customers.

Don’t Miss the International Startup Festival in Montreal

Instigator Blog

Tweet. The International Startup Festival is happening in Montreal from July 13-15th. Mid-summer is a great time to visit Montreal, and now entrepreneurs, investors, and anyone interested in tech startups has the perfect to visit.

What Should You Do with Your Crappy Little Services Business?

Both Sides of the Table

This post originally appeared on TechCrunch. There’s a line of thinking in Silicon Valley that you should build product businesses rather than services businesses.

The Word Bubble

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

In all the posts over the past year or so outlining my thoughts on the financing and valuation environment in the internet sector, I've avoided using the word Bubble. It is intentional. For me Bubble will always be inexorably linked to what went down in 1999 and 2000 in the internet sector. And I agree with Mike Arrington that what is going on now is different. I do not think we are in a Bubble per se. That is why I don't use the word.

The Freeconomics of Dropbox - Projecting Freemium

Web 2.0 Development and Business Lessons

In a previous post I covered a set of quick calculations to gauge the profit potential of Dropbox. These calculations were intended not only to gain some insight into Dropbox's financials, but also to provide a simple guide for gauging

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Risk and Culture in Silicon Valley

Steve Blank

Om Malik runs Gigaom , probably the most interesting and accurate site on the blogosphere. Om was kind enough to have me in for an interview. We covered a wide range of topics. This talk on Risk and Culture in Silicon Valley is a small 1 minute snippet of a longer interview on his blog.

Social Entrepreneurs Don’t Need Profit For Success

Startup Professionals Musings

A term I’m hearing more and more these days is “social entrepreneur.” In the simplest of terms, these are people who seek to generate “social value”, rather than profits, and use traditional business principles to create and manage a venture to make social change.

Rethinking My Social Graph

Feld Thoughts

I’ve had a number of interesting conversions about the intersection of the virtual and the physical world since I wrote the post Did Someone Ruin Foursquare For Me Yesterday?

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Regulate and Tax Online Poker, Don’t Send it Underground

Texas Startup Blog

Today the Obama administration effectively shut down Internet poker in the United States by indicting 11 people including the founders of three of the largest sites. The crackdown makes almost no sense.

How To Allocate Founder and Employee Equity

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Joel Spolsky , c0-founder and CEO of our portfolio company Stack Exchange , posted an excellent answer to the question in the title of this post on the Stack site OnStartups. I'm not going to reblog the entire answer here. I'd encourage you to go read Joel's answer. However, I am going to highlight some of the most important points from Joel's post: Fairness, and the perception of fairness, is much more valuable than owning a large stake.

The Economics of Dropbox

Web 2.0 Development and Business Lessons

Dropbox's recent 25 million user milestone got me thinking about the economics behind the company and what it would take for them to be profitable. Given that Dropbox uses Amazon Web Services as their hosting platform, along with S3 for

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8 Startup Lessons You Could Learn from Gotham Gal

Both Sides of the Table

It’s easy to think that the wife of a well-known & successful VC ( Fred Wilson ) would have had an easy and storied life of wealth and privilege. I had previously had the opportunity to spend time with Joanne Wilson , Fred’s wife, and knew otherwise.

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Five Ways a Business Mentor is More Than a Friend

Startup Professionals Musings

Friends tell you what you want to hear. Mentors tell you what you need to hear. When the message is the same from both, you don’t need the mentor anymore. In that sense, you should think of a mentor more like your advisor who has done all he can. You always need the friend.

I Encourage Entrepreneurs To Ignore The Word “Bubble”

Feld Thoughts

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.&# – Macbeth. Every time I hear the word “bubble&# I think of that quote from Macbeth. I also think of Tulip Mania and the South Sea Company which purportedly was the source of the concept of an economic bubble. And then I remember Charles Mackay’s classic book “ Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds.&#.

Passive versus Active Check-ins

Texas Startup Blog

ReadWriteWeb has a post titled, “ 2011: The Year the Check-in Dead ” that basically argues the check-ins for check-ins sake are dead. I would tend to agree. There was a time a year ago when check-in apps were hot and we began to talk about ShopSavvy as a retail check-in application.

Mission Based Businesses

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I've talked a fair bit here about the passion for the problem being an important part of entrepreneurial success. I was reminded of that when I read Max Chafkin's profile of Rob Kalin and Etsy this morning. If you click on that link and read the entire piece, you'll come away wondering how Etsy can be a successful business. Rob does not come across as a business oriented person. And Etsy comes across like a big chaotic flea market. Both are sort of true.

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There are two kinds of people in the world

Chris Dixon

You’ve either started a company or you haven’t. &# Started&# doesn’t mean joining as an early employee, or investing or advising or helping out. It means starting with no money, no help, no one who believes in you (except perhaps your closest friends and family), and building an organization from a borrowed cubicle with credit card debt and nowhere to sleep except the office.

13 Ways To Pull Off A Killer Demo Day Presentation


There are over a hundred seed accelerators in the world and many more are popping up every year. In New York City, there are going to be 6 more this summer on top of TechStars NYC.