August, 2012

Advice I Wish I Could Have Given Myself 5 Years Ago

Vinicius Vacanti

Since going down the startup path, I’ve made so many mistakes, struggled so many times, failed in almost every way you can. But, we turned the corner after a few years of hard work. We’re now 25 people ( we’re hiring !), raised $7.3 million, and just had our best month ever.

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Vision versus Hallucination – Founders and Pivots

Steve Blank

A founder’s skill is knowing how to recognize new patterns and to pivot on a dime. At times the pattern is noise, and the vision turns out to be a hallucination. Knowing how to sort between vision and hallucination can avoid chaos inside your startup.

Trending Sources

How Much Information Should you Give VCs for Due Diligence?

Both Sides of the Table

This is a hot topic I’ve been asked a lot about recently. You’re on a first date with a VC – how much should you tell them? You’re heading into a full partner meeting and you’ve been asked for a full data pack before – should you give it? When is it appropriate for a VC to call your customers?

Lockups and Insider Selling

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

There is a lot of sturm und drang out there in the worlds of social media, finacial media, and just plain media about all the lockups coming off and all the insider selling going on in some big internet stocks. As someone who has played this game a few times, I tought I'd post some thoughts about this. First and foremost, this post has nothing to do with what USV has done, might do, or is thinking about doing with specific stocks we might own or not.

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How Many Metrics Do You Need to Run Your Startup?

Instigator Blog

Answer: Only one. One of the concepts we’re pushing hard in the Lean Analytics book is the One Metric That Matters (OMTM). The idea is this: at any given time in your business there’s one key metric you should be focusing on. Not two, or three, or four. Just one.

More Trending

These 10 Key Elements Make a Business Plan Fundable

Gust

People ask me if they really need ANY business plan, unless they are looking for an outside investor. In fact, a business plan is needed more by you than investors, as the blueprint for your company, team communication, and progress metrics.

No Battle Plan Survives The First Enemy Fire

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I have been using this line a lot lately. It is a bastardized version of Field Marshall Helmuth von Moltke 's "No plan of operations extends with certainty beyond the first encounter with the enemy's main strength." " I always encourage entrepreneurs to get on with the business of putting their product in the market. All the planning and designing and strategizing and grand plans of taking over the world are no match for reality. The real world is messy.

10 Comments You Never Want to Hear in a Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

Some people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs. This is a good thing, or the business world would be chaos, with everyone trying to do their own thing. So what about you?

Trello versus Asana

Both Sides of the Table

For the past several years I’ve undertaken many initiatives to “get more organized,” which basically means to make another attempt at implementing and running a solid task list that I can share with others with whom I collaborate.

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An Amazing Rendition of Dark Side of the Moon

Feld Thoughts

Dark Side of the Moon is my favorite album of all time. When I was a sophomore in college, I had an early NAD CD player. I put Dark Side of the Moon on at the beginning of the fall semester, pressed repeat, then play, and listened.

When Microsoft Threatened to Sue Us Over the Letter “E”

Steve Blank

By 1997 E.piphany was a fast growing startup with customers, revenue and something approaching a repeatable business model. Somewhere that year we decided to professionalize our logo (you should have seen the first one.)

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Adding Slides Does Not Enhance Your Investor Pitch

Gust

As a member of the local Angel group selection committee, I’ve seen a lot of startup presentations to investors, and I’ve never seen one that was too short – maybe short on content, but not short on pages!

How Algorithms Rule The World

www.fastcompany.com

Skip navigation. Fast Company. Subscribe. Newsletter. Search. Stumbleupon. linkedin. Google+. Co.DESIGN. Co.CREATE. Co.EXIST. Co.LEAD. TECHNOLOGY. MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE. MAGAZINE. Fast Talk. How Algorithms Rule The World. By Arnie Cooper | August 29, 2012.

These 10 Key Elements Make a Business Plan Fundable

Startup Professionals Musings

People ask me if they really need ANY business plan, unless they are looking for an outside investor. In fact, a business plan is needed more by you than investors, as the blueprint for your company, team communication, and progress metrics.

Bitcoin Update

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

I wrote a post about Bitcoin last November wondering if it was over or if we were just in a down phase in the hype cycle ([link]. In the nine months since that post, Bitcoin has made a nice recovery. The price is up and volume of transactions is increasing. Bitcoin is still very much a fringe thing and is tiny as these things go. Compared the the volume of transactions Square will do with Starbucks, Bitcoin looks like a joke.

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All CEOs Should Be An Outside Director For One Company

Feld Thoughts

This week I had two meetings with CEOs of companies we’ve recently invested in where the question of “what is an ideal board meeting” came up. I’m writing an entire book on it called Startup Boards: Reinventing the Board of Directors to Better Support the Entrepreneur so it’s easy for me to define my ideal board meeting at this point since my head is pretty deep into it intellectually.

Massacre at IBM

Steve Blank

Long before there was the Lean Startup, Business Model Canvas or Customer Development there was a guy in Santa Barbara California who had already figured it out. Frank Robinson of SyncDev has been helping companies figure out their minimum viable product and pivots since 1984, long before I even knew what it meant. They’ve done it for more than 400 companies ranging in size from 200 hundred starts-ups, one of whom was Citrus Systems that became Citrix, to IBM.

Investors Know A Product Doesn’t Make a Business

Gust

Why is it that most of the business plans I see are really product plans? I define a product plan as a detailed description of your product or service, with a bit of business thrown in at the end.

Startups: Stop Trying To Hire Ninja-Rockstar Engineers

OnStartups

This is a guest post by Avi Flombaum. Avi is the Dean of The Flatiron School, an intensive program to learn Ruby on Rails in New York. He was formerly the co-founder and CTO at Designer Pages. You can follow him at @aviflombaum or @flatironschool.

The Best Entrepreneurs Ask The Dumbest Questions

Startup Professionals Musings

I’m a big fan of the old adage "There are no stupid questions, only stupid answers."

How do I raise prices?

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

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.

A Software Entrepreneur On The Madness Of Software Patents and Trolls

Feld Thoughts

I regularly get emails and have discussions with entrepreneurs who are on the receiving end of a software patent lawsuit. Many of these are young companies, often with little or no revenue. It’s total, completely madness. If you don’t believe me, read the latest rant from a young entrepreneur on the receiving end of a software patent lawsuit from a troll. My startup, all five employees and $0 revenue, is being sued by a patent troll. It is madness.

Is Silicon Valley Really Coming to an End?

Both Sides of the Table

By now you probably know that David Sacks , co-founder of PayPal and founder of both Geni & Yammer made some observations on Facebook that Silicon Valley “as we know it” was coming to an end. He says. “In order to create a successful new company, you have to find an idea that.

Doubling SaaS Revenue By Changing The Pricing Model

www.kalzumeus.com

Kalzumeus Software. Patrick McKenzie (patio11) blogs on software development, marketing, and general business topics. Greatest Hits. Standing Invitation. Start Here If You’re New. About. Doubling SaaS Revenue By Changing The Pricing Model. Posted on August 13, 2012. by Patrick. in ab-testing.

10 Things That Make a Business Plan NOT Fundable

Gust

I really like Martin Zwilling’s post here yesterday, 10 things that make a business plan fundable. That made me think about this list, the opposite, things that make a plan not fundable.

Your Next Startup Will Likely Be Run By a Boomer

Startup Professionals Musings

Contrary to what most of you might guess, the highest rate of entrepreneurial activity over the last few years is not Gen-Y young upstarts, but Baby Boomers in the 55-64 year age group.

Ten million users is the new one million users

Chris Dixon

Entrepreneurs and investors have been enamored with consumer internet startups for the last few years. But there are signs this is ending. Some observations: - Thousands of early-stage consumer web/mobile companies were started and funded in last 24 months. There are only a few dozen VCs who actively write consumer Series A checks, and those VCs will only do a few deals a year. Facebook’s market cap is about half of what most tech investors expected before the IPO. -

The Vomit Moment

Feld Thoughts

I’ve had my share of vomit moments – both in business and in life. It’s that moment where a specific thing happens that causes you to want to run into the bathroom and vomit, which you sometimes actually do. Some of my memorable vomit moments including the night that I asked my first wife if she was having an affair and she nonchalantly said “yes.”

Should You Really Sit on Other Boards When You’re a Startup Founder?

Both Sides of the Table

I recently read Brad Feld’s thought provoking piece encouraging founders to sit on the board of another startup company. I found it thought provoking because I’ve always believed startup founders need extreme focus on only their company to succeed.

You Should Probably Send More Email Than You Do

www.kalzumeus.com

Kalzumeus Software. Patrick McKenzie (patio11) blogs on software development, marketing, and general business topics. Greatest Hits. Standing Invitation. Start Here If You’re New. About. You Should Probably Send More Email Than You Do. Posted on May 31, 2012. by Patrick. in marketing.

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Networks And The Enterprise

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Many think that USV is a consumer web investor. We don't think of ourselves that way. We invest in networks and for most of our short history, that has meant investing in networks of individuals connecting with each other. Thus the consumer web investor moniker. But if you go back over the past four years and analyze the roughly thirty investments we have made in that time period, you will see that a good portion, maybe a third, have been in networks where enterprises participate.

Will the Real Crowd Funding Model Please Stand Up?

Startup Professionals Musings

The new hot topic for entrepreneurs these days is crowd funding, which is anticipated to at least supplement, if not replace, the slow and mysterious process of current Angel and venture capital investors.

What Are Your Immutable Laws?

Mike Michalowicz

The Rules Of Your Life. Immutable Laws are the rules of our lives. They define you. They define your business. Immutable Laws are a blend of ethics , core values and self-assigned law, all wrapped up into one.

The Power of Passion When Starting Your Company

Feld Thoughts

It was the second week of TechStars and I was doing office hours with each of the 11 teams going through the Boulder 2010 program. I was sitting across the table from Adam Wilson and Ian Bernstein who each looked tired and dejected. In front of them were three slides. I asked them what was wrong. They said they were having trouble deciding which of three different products to pursue.