September, 2012

The Lean LaunchPad Online

Steve Blank

You may have read my previous posts about the Lean LaunchPad class taught at Stanford , Berkeley, Columbia , Caltech and for the National Science Foundation. Now you too can take this course.

Lean 154

The Truth About Convertible Debt at Startups and The Hidden Terms You Didn’t Understand

Both Sides of the Table

This article initially appeared on TechCrunch - with a minor update highlighted in red below. We’re back to discussing convertible debt again. This time by the efforts of Adeo Ressi to introduce a new kind of structure called “ convertible equity.”

Trending Sources

“Stealth mode” and other f’ing brilliant strategies

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Here’s some of my super-secret winning strategies from fifteen years of building startups. Stay in stealth mode until the last minute. The last thing any startup needs is people finding out about it. You can get attention later — that’s not difficult.

Screw the Black Swans: Ichiro is our role model, not Barry Bonds.

500 Hats

There are probably better things for me to do today, however i feel compelled to respond to the Black Swan Farming post by Paul Graham, founding partner of Y Combinator.


A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Paul Graham has penned a longish and excellent essay in which he postulates that growth is the single defining characteristic of startups and the thing that all entrepreneurs must focus on. Paul is slowly but surely building a body of writing on startups that is as good as anything that has ever been written on the topic. And this essay on growth is one of the gems. This is another gem. There are quite a few of them.

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Entrepreneurship Is All About Taking Smart Risks


Most entrepreneurs think that risk is just an “occupational hazard” that can be minimized or eliminated by a smart businessman. That way of thinking is simplistic and wrong.

Roulette, Startups, and the paradox of the infinite bankroll

A Smart Bear: Startups and Marketing for Geeks

Pin It There’s a well-known way to win in Vegas, and famously some people have done it systematically. Maybe it works for startups too? Suppose you’re betting on “red” in a game of Roulette.


A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

The first great investment we made at USV was Indeed in the summer of 2005. Brad had been looking for a search engine for jobs and I saw this post on John Battelle's blog in late 2004. I forwarded it to Brad and he reached out to Paul and Rony. It took two tries before we could convince them to take our money. They had bootstrapped the company, launched the service, and were well on their way. They didn't need our money.

Introduction to Growth Hacking for Startups

VC Cafe

Paul Graham’s Startup Curve – avoid the “through of sorrow”! Pintrest, Facebook, Zynga, Dropbox, AirBnb… What do they all have in common? They’ve all used growth hacking techniques to grow their user base from zero to millions (and sometimes hundreds of millions).

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Why Too Many Startups (er) Suck

Steve Blank

This is a guest post by my Startup Owner’s Manual co-author Bob Dorf. ——————-. While statistics are weak on startup success rates, the worst one I’ve seen suggests that 2 in 1000 venture backed startups will ever achieve $100-million or more in valuation. Another stat puts that number at 2% rather than 0.2%. Either way, the “hurdle” for successful, scalable startups is high, and it gets higher every day as customer acquisition challenges continue to increase.

What Makes a Successful Startup Community? Is it Possible to Build One Where You Live?

Both Sides of the Table

This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. Recently I wrote a post arguing to make the definition of a Startup more inclusive than that to which Silicon Valley, fueled by Venture Capital return profiles, would sometimes like to attach to the word.

What is the “maximum” amount (%) of a startup an investor should have?


It’s generally not a good idea for an initial investor to own more than 50% of a company (although there are always special exceptions), because the odds are that by the time the company is fully funded (and hopefully successful), the entrepreneur/founder’s equity will be reduced to such an extent that it will have effectively eliminated an incentive for him/her to continue building the company’s value.

The State Of E-Commerce Checkout Design 2012

- select -. Books. eBooks. Job Board. Books. eBooks. Job Board. Facebook. Twitter. Newsletter. Search Go! select -. Books. eBooks. Job Board. Coding. Design. Mobile. Graphics. UX Design. WordPress. Coding. JavaScript. Techniques. Design. Web Design. Typography. Inspiration. Business. Mobile.

Convertible Debt

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Back in the summer of 2010, I wrote a post outlining why I don't like convertible debt investments. USV does a fair bit of seed investing and we have never done a convertible debt deal (although we have done bridge loans for our existing portfolio companies). My wife, aka Gotham Gal , does a fair bit of seed investing and she has done her share of convertible debt investments, always with a reasonable cap, but she also prefers a priced equity round.

Don’t Use Automatic Image Sliders or Carousels, Ignore the Fad


I’m sure you’ve come across dozens, if not hundreds of image sliders or carousels (also called ‘rotating offers’). You might even like them. But the truth is that they’re conversion killers. So if they’re not effective, why do people use them?

Don’t Let Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Be a Dying Breed

Startup Professionals Musings

Until the recent recession, market research indicated that as many as 90 percent of the roughly 20 million American small business owners were motivated more by lifestyle than growth and money.

Is Going for Rapid Growth Always Good? Aren’t Startups So Much More?

Both Sides of the Table

I think I’ve read Paul Graham’s post on “ Startup = Growth ” three or four times now. And of course on Twitter I’ve seen the Tweets, ReTweets and superlatives on what a great post it is. Viewing the article through the lens of a venture capitalist there’s much to agree with under the mantra of “growth!” ” And when you read the article carefully it allows for a period of discovery in your business. For example.

7 Tips for Writing Tweets that Instantly Lead to More Blog Traffic

Blogtrepreneur | Entrepreneur Blog

Tweets can get you the traffic that you desperately need, but composing that perfect tweet can be tricky – especially today when the Twitterverse is bigger than ever, with millions of people posting billions of tweets every day. How can you set yourself apart?

Convertible Equity, A Better Alternative To Convertible Debt?

Startups. Mobile. Gadgets. Europe. Video. Enterprise. Venture. Social. GreenTech. Gaming. Opinion. Drama. Guides. Smartphones. Tablets. Digital Cameras. Laptops. Headphones. Events. CrunchBase. Hot topics. Apple. Facebook. Twitter. Google. Android. Disrupt SF. Hackathon. Comment.

Does Open Conflict With Making Money?

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

We had a good chat hanging around Zander 's desk yesterday about this line from Matthew Ingram's post on his love/hate relationship with Twitter : Lastly, I hate that Twitter’s metamorphosis seems to reinforce the idea that being an open network — one that allows the easy distribution of content across different platforms, the way that blogging and email networks do – isn’t possible, or at least can’t become a worthwhile business.

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Social Networks Implode Quickly

Diego Basch

Friendster, Myspace, Bebo. They were huge not long ago. Do social networking sites tend do die faster than other types? My guess is that they do, for two main reasons: 1) Metcalfe’s law. A social network increases its value faster than linearly as the number of users grow.

10 Marketing Rules to Command Customer Attention

Startup Professionals Musings

Viral marketing and word-of-mouth are not enough these days to make your product and brand visible in the relentless onslaught of new promotional media out there today. Innovation in marketing is perhaps more important than product innovation.

Should Investors in the Same Round of Financing Ever Get Different Prices?

Both Sides of the Table

If you were on Twitter on Saturday you might have noticed a lively discussion with Dave McClure, Fred Wilson, Chris Dixon and myself. And a few others. Luckily there are tools like Storify – so you can actually see a synopsis here.

Facebook Advertising / Marketing: Best Metrics, ROI, Business Value

Occam's Razor

Facebook has an incredible audience, 950 million strong and counting. This audience is immensely attractive to Brands and Marketers around the world. We've seen explosive growth in brand pages, types of advertising and other fun ways to monetize this audience.

How to Divide Equity to Startup Founders, Advisors, and Employees

Call Us: +1-855-629-6200. About. Mission Statement. Locations. Our Team. Press. Community. Careers. Member Coordinator. Bookkeeper. Marketing Intern. Services. Office Space. Coworking. Virtual Office. Meeting Rooms. Virtual Receptionist. Registered Agent. Contact. Event Calendar.

Two Must Read Books For The AVC Community

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

There are many themes that grace this page from time to time. Two of the most common are the rise of startup communities and the role that the Internet can play in allowing society to governing itself. And there are two books out this week that are must reads on these two topics.

The 7 Deadly Sins of Startups


Not all of these are quite "deadly sins", but the "47 common mistakes of entrepreneurs" didn't quite have the same ring to it. Enjoy. The 7 Deadly Sins of Startups. 1) Lust : Be not easily lured by the fun, sexy market. tweet]. 2) Gluttony : Many ideas makes mayhem.

8 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Master the Creative Mind

Startup Professionals Musings

An entrepreneur is literally “one who creates a new business.” The best new businesses are ones that have never been done before, so mastering creativity and recognizing creativity are key skills and mind-sets. But how does one recognize and nurture creativity in a person or team?

Convertible Debt: Worst Form Of Seed Financing — Except For All The Others


How to finance a new seed-stage startup? Equity? Convertible debt? Convertible equity? As of August 2010, Paul Graham famously proclaimed , “Convertible notes have won. Every investment so far in this YC batch (and there have been a lot) has been done on a convertible note.”

Mobile Marketing 2015: Rethink Customer Acquisition, Intent Targeting

Occam's Razor

I'm immensely excited about how completely mobile platforms impact our lives.

What Costs Are Considered Reimbursable To The Founders Of A Startup Company?

Ask The VC

Q: What costs are considered reimbursable to the founder of a start-up company? More specifically, if the founder has been boot-strapping his company since inception, and he agrees to a series a term sheet with a VC firm, are the operational costs incurred by the founder between this time and the closing of the round reimbursable to the founder? For example: The founder of a consumer product company and a VC firm agree to a term sheet in July.

Section 18 of the America Invents Act

A VC : Venture Capital and Technology

Yesterday we hosted a conversation between David Kappos , the Director of the US Patent and Trademark Office, and a bunch of founders/CEOs of our portfolio companies. It was a far reaching conversation that gave me optimism that our government does realize the issues with our patent system, particularly as it relates to software and business method patents. There was one thing that we discussed that is very important and needs to be publicized broadly.

SkyDrive Is Great and No One Has Noticed

Feld Thoughts

In July I wrote a post where I was Searching For A Collaborative Writing Tool. I got a bunch of suggestions – some people suggested their startups, some suggested Google Docs, and one person (a friend who works for Microsoft) suggested Microsoft SkyDrive . Amy and I were deep in working on Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur. We were trying to use Scrivener but that wasn’t working for two writers so I moved us to Google Docs.

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How To Get Tons of Amazon Reviews For Your Book (Or Product)

Mike Michalowicz

Unlimited Real, Legit Amazon Reviews. Being that I am an, admittedly, relatively unknown author of business books, it was clear that I needed to show credibility immediately.