October, 2011

Protecting The Safe Harbors Of The DMCA And Protecting Jobs

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

My partner Brad and I spent Thursday in DC along with a bunch of entrepreneurs and VCs. We talked to dozens of our elected officials about an issue that is very concerning to us, protecting the safe harbors of the DMCA.    The DMCA is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. It received unanimous support in the Senate and was signed into law by President Clinton in 1998. It is a complex piece of legislation but it contains four "safe harbors" for "network service providers.

IP 117

Lead, Follow or Get the Fuck Out of the Way

Both Sides of the Table

Today’s post courtesy of the Dave McClure school of vocabulary. About a month ago I was meeting with a seasoned entrepreneur. After 10 minutes I felt like we were old buddies because we had both been through the trenches of startup tech land and had had similar experiences.

Trending Sources

Registration Form Design with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Authentication

SoCal CTO

I continually face the challenge of designing and building registration / sign-up pages on a wide variety of different web sites and mobile applications.

Design 102

The full story of “the one important thing” for startups

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Get more involved in the Bay Area startup community: Join the WebWallflower mailing list to get a calendar of upcoming startup events and exclusive discounts sent right to you every two weeks. Powered by LaunchBit ).

The Helsinki Spring

Steve Blank

I spent the month of September lecturing, and interacting with (literally) thousands of entrepreneurs in two emerging startup markets, Finland and Russia. This is the first of two posts about Finland and entrepreneurship.

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Great Startups Can Hook an Investor in 60 Seconds

Gust

An “ elevator pitch ” is a concise, well-practiced description of your startup and your plan, delivered with conviction and enthusiasm, that your mother should be able to understand in the time it would take to ride up an elevator. Everybody knows about these, but few people seem to deliver a good one. A good elevator pitch is not just for an elevator discussion. Use it in every networking situation and business conference introduction.

Deep dive: Cancellation rate in SaaS business models

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

I wanted to expand on the practical and mathematical implementations of the cancellation rate I referred to in last week’s post. Why cancellation rate is so important. As a preamble to the metrics, it’s useful to know what you’re measuring and why it’s vital.

Pricing experiments you might not know, but can learn from

conversionxl.com

Extra Lucrative Conversion Advice. Services. About & Contact. Guest Post Guidelines. RSS |. Oct 31, 2011. Pricing experiments you might not know, but can learn from. Lots of entrepreneurs struggle with pricing. How much to charge?

BE ON FIRE

Feld Thoughts

A few weeks ago a guest post titled Minimum Viable Personality appeared on Fred Wilson’s blog. The author was a Giant Robot Dinosaur who has been dishing out wisdom in all caps in the comments on Fred’s blog for a long time. I’m a huge fan of FAKEGRIMLOCK, occasionally commenting on his comments, but often laughing out loud or smiling with recognition of their brilliance when I saw them. And, I grinned with relief when I finally made his #NOEATFRIDAY list.

OccupyAppStore

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

It was tne Nth time I've had this conversation in a board meeting, "We can't figure out how to get on the leaderboards. The app stores aren't working for us as a distribution channel." " To which I replied "All the app stores use a leaderboard model which makes the rich richer and everyone else poorer. We are in the 99%, wishing we were in the 1%. It makes me want to find a park inside the iTunes store and camp out there in protest."

Understanding How Dilution Affects You at a Startup

Both Sides of the Table

This post originally appeared on TechCrunch. Dilution. Or as industry insiders call it, “taking a haircut.” ” Everybody knows that when you raise money at a startup your ownership percentage of the company goes down.

Valuations 101: Scorecard Valuation Methodology

Gust

Individual accredited investors in typical angel deals put personal capital at risk for an equity share of growth-oriented, start-up companies. These angel investors generally invest $25,000 to $100,000 in a round totaling $250,000 to $1,000,000. In 2011, the valuation of pre-revenue, start-up companies is typically in the range of $1.5–$2.5 million and is established by negotiations between the entrepreneur and the angel investors.

How do I get my first few customers?

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

(Powered by LaunchBit ). Tweet. --> It’s one of the hardest steps in a startup, getting that first rube to part with their money over your barely-minimum barely-viable product.

My dad taught me cashflow with a soda machine

The Startup Toolkit

After a brief, failed experiment paying me to do chores, my dad tried something really neat. It clearly took a bit of legwork, but maybe there are some transferrable lessons for parents who want to lay an entrepreneurial foundation. He gave me a vending machine.

Stock 62

Steve Jobs – Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

Feld Thoughts

Last night, during dinner with the Return Path board, Fred Wilson interrupted the discussion we were having to tell us that Steve Jobs had just passed away. All of us were stunned silent for a minute as we reflected on the amazing impact that Steve has had on our lives.

PR 96

Building A Company vs Building A Business

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Matt Blumberg , CEO of our portfolio company Return Path , wrote an interesting post last week about the differences between building a company and building a business. I've been an investor and board member of Return Path for over a decade and I've witnessed the company fail with its first product/business and then through a series of acquisitions build a very strong business and company. Matt and his team built the company first then the business, which is backwards , but it worked.

We Have Only Scratched the Surface of the True Value of Twitter. Here’s What You’re Missing

Both Sides of the Table

I have written extensively about Twitter in the past. I still find that many people don’t understand the basics. If you consider yourself a newbie, please check out a group of posts that I’ve done in the past that might make you feel more comfortable with what is unique about Twitter.

How early product failures led to huge successes

Don Dodge on The Next Big Thing

Failure is not an option.it is a requirement.to future success. Failure gets a bad rap. It is actually an important element of success. When I speak at conferences around the world I say "In America we don't use the word failure.we call it experience".

Case Study: The Nordstrom Innovation Lab

Startup Lessons Learned

Today's case study answers a bunch of questions all at once about Lean Startup principles: can they be used inside a Fortune 500 company? can they be used to sell physical low-tech products? can they be used in a retail store?

Lean 62

How To Build A Site That Looks Great On Every Screen

www.readwriteweb.com

The responsive design revolution is upon us. With tablet and smartphone use soaring and changing our media habits , Web publishers no longer have a choice but to build designs that work properly on any device or screen size.

Best Social Media Metrics: Conversation, Amplification, Applause, Economic Value

Occam's Razor

I am going to break one of my unspoken cardinal rules: Only write about real problems and measurement that is actually possible in the real world. I am going to break the second part of the rule.

Sound

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I met Alex Ljung , founder/CEO of SoundCloud a number of times and each time he pitched me on his business. Each time I said no. Then in the summer of last year, we met at Soho House London and he showed me one slide.

Video 102

Why Aren’t There More Female Entrepreneurs?

Both Sides of the Table

I’m often asked the question about why there aren’t more women who are entrepreneurs. On my blog I’ve been hesitant to take the topic head on. Somehow it seems kind of strange for a man to answer this question that obviously comes from a man’s point of view.

7 Reasons for the Rise of Mediocrity

Life Beyond Code

We all are familiar with mediocrity. It’s everywhere and growing rapidly. Here are seven reasons that are contributing to the alarming rise of mediocrity. Amplify without Accomplishment. Logically, you should accomplish first and then amplify it. It makes sense that way.

Viral 60

How To Compute The Valuation of Your Startup

FairSoftware's Blog

Startup valuation is a misunderstood and complex topic. You can spend a lot of hours trying to understand the mathematical models that attempt to give you an answer. But that’s not the right approach to understand how valuation works for your startup. It’s really not that complicated.

The $250,000 Funding Trap

Instigator Blog

$250,000 is a lot of money. Venture investors might not think so, but for most of us it’s a lot of moolah. And for early stage startups it’s often the amount they ask for coming out of the gate (or $500,000 – which seems to be pretty standard as a first, seed ask). The problem is that $250,000 is a dangerous amount of money to invest in an early stage startup. For first-time entrepreneurs, $250,000 sounds like a million dollars. Maybe more.

Data Analysis 101: Seven Simple Mistakes That Limit Your Salary

Occam's Razor

Data analysis is not easy. It takes years to get good at it, and once you get good at it you realize how much more there is to learn. That is part of the joy. You are always learning. You are always growing. This blogpost is a collection of tips I share with my friends who are just starting out.

What We've Lost And What We've Gained

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I shed my tears when Steve Jobs stepped down less than six weeks ago. That's when I knew it was over. The news came to me last night during a board dinner. My 18 year old daughter kik'd me. I asked her if she was sure. She said "it's all over twitter" I interrupted the lively dinner conversation. "I've "I've got some important news. Steve Jobs has passed away" Six entrepreneurs and VCs in that room. Among the best I've ever worked with.

The Controversial First Role to Hire After Your “A Round”

Both Sides of the Table

I’ve thought a lot about team construction of early stage companies. I was once asked on Quora what my idea startup team would be. I wrote the following : “I like to invest at the seed or A round. My ideal team is simple: Assuming 6 people. 5 engineers.

Hiring 106

Ten Tips on How to Get the Entrepreneur X-Factor

Startup Professionals Musings

To be successful as an entrepreneur, you don’t have to be a fabulous person, but it helps. Some people, and some entrepreneurs, have that something extra, like Simon Cowell is searching for on the X-Factor , that you can’t quite put your finger on.

UK-Israel High-Tech Council will bring together the key figures in tech on both sides

VC Cafe

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and representatives from the UK digital sector will officially launch the British Embassy High-Tech Hub in Israel, in a 300 people event planned for Thursday this week and followed by an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Being Responsive is Critical for Successful Customer Development

Instigator Blog

Most customers tolerate bugs. Most customers tolerate products with missing features that they need (or think they need!) Most customers tolerate the quirks and hiccups that come with new technology and software. This is true of early adopters, but it’s even true to some degree, of late adopters. Customers can be quite forgiving. But what they won’t tolerate is being ignored.

Execution Is An Order Of Magnitude Easier Than Opportunity

Feld Thoughts

I heard a fascinating one-liner the other day that I had knee jerk negative reaction to but when I thought about it more thought was deeply insightful, especially in the context of big established companies vs. new entrepreneurial companies. A CEO of a very large, successful company said “execution is an order of magnitude easier than opportunity.” ” In the context of young startups, I often feel exactly the opposite. Opportunity is everywhere, but execution in a bitch.

The Second Year

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

NYC's Mayor Mike Bloomberg visited TechStars NYC on Demo Day this week. He gave a funny and inspiring talk about being an entrepreneur. This is the Mike Bloomberg the NYC tech community needs. He's the most successful tech entrepreneur in NYC and he's also our mayor. It made me so happy to see him do that.