Competitive Edge
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Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
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Thoughts on building weatherproof companies — Software Is Eating the World

Thoughts on building weatherproof companies - Software Is Eating the World - Medium

The best founder/CEOs want to build long-lasting, strong companies. But this isn’t just a want, it’s necessary— especially today as companies stay private longer.

CEOs who expect their companies to be acquired as a “quick exit” aren’t going to have it easy. It’s especially hard for those CEOs and advisors who never had to learn how to build a full-fledged, well-governed company — with sustainable sales, marketing, HR, legal, customer support, accounting, and finance — without losing their sense of urgency. They “simply” needed to build a winning product, merge with a larger company, and then let others take care of the rest.

This is both tough and good news for today’s founders/CEOs.

The good news: You have a bigger opportunity than ever before to build a long-lasting, fundamentally important technology company.

The tough news: To do so, you must grow — personally and professionally — to a higher level than you might have experienced in your life before. Doing so means committing to building a company that can go “all the way” on its own.

Below, I share some things I learned on my own journey here. When I ran SuccessFactors, we used to say “we’re building the company like Lambeau Field” (Lambeau Field stadium in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the home field of the NFL Green Bay Packers, who under their coach Vince Lombardi were known for their winning streak and ability to grab crucial wins even in the worst snow, because their team was built to handle tough weather conditions).

When you are building for long term — as opposed to a quick exit — it becomes obvious very quickly that you’ll have to make very different decisions, on every level from hiring and culture to how you treat sales and customers. You need to test every decision that’s obviously meant for immediate results with “will it also strengthen us in the long term?”

 Successful companies are bought, not sold

Even if your company does end up getting acquired, building your company well is the best you can do for the price you get. When we negotiated selling SuccessFactors for 11X revenues (which at the time was the highest multiple on sales in a decade), if we didn’t like where the value or discussions were going, we knew we could just stop negotiations and keep on building the company. And we weren’t bluffing, which you cannot fake. Because good companies are bought … not sold.

Just as a dog can smell fear, any experienced M&A team can smell a mile off if you want to sell your company, and consequently the price goes down. If you are not selling, and you have the power to stay independent because you are well-built and can handle “bad weather”, you can hold out longer than the acquirer, and the price of your company goes up to what you know it’s worth.

So how do you build such scale, without shortcuts? To start, there are at least five areas I believe a founder must focus on:

Read more: click image or title.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Extensive article and great advice for would-be #startup

#success story #founders.

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Get the Salary You Deserve: 4 Steps to Figuring Out What You're Really Worth

Get the Salary You Deserve: 4 Steps to Figuring Out What You're Really Worth | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Here's how to negotiate for the salary you want (and deserve) during the job search process, including what research to do and what questions to ask.

According to Manpower’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, the global rate of employers struggling to fill jobs is at a seven year high, with 38% reporting an inability to staff open roles. This talent shortage translates into a major advantage for job seekers, particularly those in booming industries (like tech).

However, despite having the upper hand in the hiring process, most individuals fail to negotiate the best deal possible—and there’s a reason for that. People rarely know their worth in the marketplace.

So how can you determine your worth? And more importantly, how do you go from knowing it to actually receiving it? Do you play competing offers off one another? Opt for equity over salary? Negotiate more vacation time?

I’ve talked to a lot of candidates and companies over the years, so here are my best tips for securing a job with a compensation package that fairly reflects your skill set and experience in a competitive landscape. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Ever wondered what you are worth and if you got the right #salary?

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The Tools Early-Stage Startups Actually Need to Understand Their Customers

The Tools Early-Stage Startups Actually Need to Understand Their Customers | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Segment Co-founder and CEO Peter Reinhardt has personally test-driven a tool a week for the last three years. Here he shares the toolkit you need to get the most out of your customer data.

After 18 months of struggling to get traction with two product ideas, Segment started its turnaround. What followed was a two-year stretch of growth from four to 60 people, thousands of new customers and $44 million over several rounds of financing. What was the trigger for such a significant inflection point? In the lead up to the sea change, Co-founder and CEO Peter Reinhardt and the team at Segment started to heavily lean into qualitative feedback tools like live chat widget Olark. It was embedded on each page and everyone from the newest hire to the co-founders were constantly learning from everyone using their product.

It’s hard to pin all this momentum on tools, but knowing how to leverage them is at the core of Segment’s business. The startup makes it easy to collect customer data and send it to any tool for any purpose, from analytics to marketing automation. That’s why Reinhardt has become intimately familiar with every tool that he can find that enhances customer data, personally test-driving about a tool per week for the last three years. Segment has integrated hundreds of tools to help over 6,000 customers, including Product Hunt, Atlassian and Instacart, build and refine their toolkit.

In this interview, Reinhardt draws from his extensive evaluation of tools to share how and when resource-constrained startups should select them. Here, he weighs in on the build-versus-buy debate, provides recommendations on which tools to consider across eight distinct categories, outlines the pitfalls to avoid when choosing tools and when to declare tools successful. Read more: click image or title

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Here is a high quality article on how to create success by using qualitative #feedback #tools

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The Surprising Way Meditation Made This CEO A Better Boss

The Surprising Way Meditation Made This CEO A Better Boss | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

If you can't clear your schedule, you better clear your mind.

Tom Werner can rarely clear his schedule. Instead, he clears his mind.

“When you’re the CEO, you’re always thinking about the next thing,” the chief executive of solar energy titan SunPower said in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. “I have an interview for X time, then I’m going to that meeting, then I have that dinner tonight, and then tomorrow I’ve got…”

He said just 10 minutes of mindful meditation every night helps him stay present and subdue distracting thoughts or emotions that prevent him from paying attention during each of his obligations in a given day. That, he said, makes a huge difference in how he leads the San Jose-based company’s roughly 6,300 employees. Read more: click image or tittle.



Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Meditation makes a huge difference, especially when working stressful jobs. Make your life more pleasant, and yourself too for other people.

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5 Tips to Build an Award-Winning Company Culture and Multi-Million Dollar Business

5 Tips to Build an Award-Winning Company Culture and Multi-Million Dollar Business | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
With wide-ranging accolades, Seth and Noah Goodman of Northstar Recycling know a thing or two about building a great business by investing in culture.

When brothers Seth and Noah Goodman started Northstar Recycling five years ago as a spin-off from a family business that was started in 1896, they wanted to make an impact. Not only were they looking to help the environment with their solutions to help companies with large manufacturing and distribution centers recycle more and landfill less, but they wanted to make an impact on their employees’ lives.

With accolades ranging from one of the 100 Best Workplaces for Women to Fortune’s list of  50 Best Workplaces for Camaraderie as well as achieving multi-millions of dollars in sales, these brothers know a thing or two about building a great business by investing in culture. 

Below are five of Seth and Noah Goodman’s top suggestions for building an award-winning company culture. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#CompanyCulture is a big name and a fancy word. However, creating a place where you and your co-workers or #employees spend most of their time is extremely important.

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What It’s Like to Be Owned by Berkshire Hathaway

What It’s Like to Be Owned by Berkshire Hathaway | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

According to CEOs who know.

Warren Buffett is rightfully admired for his investment record as chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, which has outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 10% annually during his 50-year tenure.

Much less attention is paid, however, to the manner in which Buffett manages the company itself. This is somewhat surprising, given that his management system is very different from those of other publicly traded companies.

Berkshire Hathaway is known for its extreme decentralization. The company’s more than 80 operating subsidiaries have complete independence and minimal oversight from headquarters, which requires little else besides regular financial statements and the return of excess cash that is not needed to sustain and grow the business. The company does not ask for budgets, financial forecasts, or strategy documents. It has no central marketing, procurement, sales, HR, IT, or legal department. It does not even have a General Counsel. This is for a corporation greater in size than General Electric, General Motors, IBM, or Chevron.

How exactly does such a structure work, given that it defies almost every major tenet taught in business school regarding management and governance?

We surveyed the CEOs of Berkshire Hathaway operating subsidiaries — almost all of whom report directly to Buffett — during the summer of 2015 to learn what it is like to manage a business for him. They represent a diverse mix of insurance and noninsurance subsidiaries of various sizes. We found the following three things: Read more: click on image or title.



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Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

These principles can be applied in any business. Managers need enough freedom to excel. There is always something to learn from Buffett.

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Can You Predict a Startup’s Success Based on the Concept Alone?

Can You Predict a Startup’s Success Based on the Concept Alone? | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Research suggests you can—but only in some industries.

It’s easy to make fun of bad startup ideas – Airbnb for toilets? – but it’s not so easy to pick the good ones ahead of time. Just ask venture capitalists, the vast majority of whom lose money. The difficulty of separating good ideas from bad is part of why angel investors end up investing based largely on the founding team.

So does the initial idea matter at all to a startup’s success?

New research helps answer this question and reinforces just how hard it is to pick a startup based on the idea alone. The paper, by Erin Scott of the National University of Singapore, Pian Shu of Harvard Business School, and Roman Lubynsky of MIT, finds that the perceived quality of a startup idea predicts success in some sectors, but not in others. If you’re investing in startups in life sciences or energy, for instance, the initial idea seems to matter more than if you’re investing in software or consumer products. Read more: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It better be a combination of multiple factors: #idea, #team, #mentors, etc.

Increase the chances of finding #seedfunding.


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6 Factors in Taking Over an Existing Business

6 Factors in Taking Over an Existing Business | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Buying a business involves more upfront cost but less risk than starting from scratch.

If you think you have the chops to be an entrepreneur, but would rather not start with a new idea -- or just plain don’t have a new idea worth starting -- you may be a great candidate to buy an existing business instead.

While buying an existing business typically involves more upfront cost, it also presents less risk than starting from scratch. Financially, you’re looking at actual profit and loss records rather than rough estimates, and there’s a clear history of sales to point to. You may also acquire valuable patents or copyrights, or have the opportunity to drive a stagnant business in an exciting direction with your expertise. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Buying a business saves a lot of hassle. If you are a good manager you can build on the work of the #founder. There is a proven model that probably needs some new energy. Beware for the hidden pitfalls though, do your #DueDiligence.

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Create Value Before Growth • The Entrepreneur

Create Value Before Growth • The Entrepreneur | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

The secret of starting and succeeding in business is to create value before growth. Value remains the intrinsic benefit every customer seeks.

n my bestselling book, The Entrepreneur, I explained that entrepreneurs need to answer two important questions when it comes to starting, managing, and growing a business successfully. The first question is “Can I build it?” followed by “Will someone care?” While technology seems to make us believe that we can build anything we want, the crucial question is:

“Will anyone care about what we are building?

This raises another important question about how a business can create value before growth. At the early stage of starting a business, founders are qick to think about how they can take their business to the next level, instead of figuring out exactly what customers want. In business, value is the glue that keeps customers coming back.




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Via Nkem Mpamah
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Creating #value, creating value, creating value. This should be the mantra of every #entrepreneur and business owner.

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Your startup is loved locally, but how do you expand it globally?

Your startup is loved locally, but how do you expand it globally? | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Introducing a new idea into the market and turning a profit is a feat in itself. But what happens when your startup has reached its limits on a local scale, tempting you to see how far your company can really go?

As a company that started locally in Canada — and currently making a push to expand into the US market and other countries — we have taken on a number of strategies that will help many entrepreneurs work around the challenges that continue to face small business expansion overseas.

If you approach the process of expansion as an almost entirely new venture, that mindset may allow you (as the hopeful entrepreneur) to take the right steps to build a successful international company.

From the beginning, a startup leaving its comfort zone and established consumer base needs to realize that a new strategy for a particular location will not necessarily work everywhere. Regardless of the scale, it is important to note that each region, city, or market will have its unique need for the same service.

Also, unless the company is a well-known household name, consumers in foreign markets tend to trust and be more aware of local brands. This awareness and trust spills over into the workforce of a company, whether they are local or outsourced — a factor that can turn customers on or off in many markets.

For these reasons, I believe that there are three key points that an established startup needs to take into account for preparing itself in an expansion strategy. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Expanding globally is like starting your business all over. It's not the same as what you did before. You did gain some experience locally, but doing business with different cultures comes with challenges.

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As a startup CEO, how do you decide whether to keep pushing on with a new startup or throw in the towel? - Quora

As a startup CEO, how do you decide whether to keep pushing on with a new startup or throw in the towel? - Quora | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Jason M. Lemkin, Co-founder/CEO EchoSign, acq'd by Ado... (more)
460 upvotes by Marc Bodnick (Co-Founder, Elevation Partners), David S. Rose (Founded six startups, two angel groups, three f... (more) ), Leo Widrich, (more)
Never, ever, ever, never quit if you can get to 10 paying customers (that aren't your friends, relatives, ex-bosses).

Ever.

Until the last nickel is gone, until they shut off the power (and even then, you can go to Starbucks).

Ever.

Because ... no one needs Yet Another Paid Product.  No one.

If you got 10 paying customers ... you can get 100.  You will get 100.  At some point.  If you don't quit.

And if you get 100 ... 1000 isn't impossible.  There are 6,000,000 businesses in the U.S. alone.

Break it up into 10x chunks.  One order of magnitude growth.

Quit if you never get 10 paying customers within 6, 12, 24, 200 months of launch, and have no ideas about how to tilt to get to 10.

But ... product-market fit for paid SaaS products is just so much rarer, and harder, than people realize.

Don't quit if you have 10 customers.

Find a way.   Push through. Read more answers: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Never give up fighting. Find a way.

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An 11-Step Plan for Launching Your Startup

An 11-Step Plan for Launching Your Startup | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Disclaimer: the headline on this article promises you 11 steps to launch a startup. It does not promise you 11 easy steps or 11 simple steps or 11 anyone-could-do-it-before-breakfast-without-breaking-a-sweat steps.

Launching a startup is difficult—there's no way around that.

In the best of markets, 75% of venture-backed firms fail to deliver returns on their investments, according to 2012 research from Harvard Senior Lecturer Shikhar Ghosh.

Today, VC firms are debating whether that grim statistic might be exacerbated by a forthcoming tech bubble. Nevertheless, many entrepreneurs decide to launch companies every year.

If you're determined to join their ranks, here's what you need to know about how to launch your business so it lasts.


by Melissa Cohen


Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.ly/1aKy7km

"Our work with Growthink was very helpful for creating a business plan to focus our efforts in the short term and increase our value over the long term."
Jack Bergstrand, CEO
Brand Velocity, Inc.





Via Ivo Nový
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It takes some good planning to create a start up. Don't underestimate. Creating a business plan may help to uncover flaws or import aspects that may have been overlooked.

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What a letter from 1855 can teach us about startups today

What a letter from 1855 can teach us about startups today | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

In 1855, Daniel McCallum wrote a letter to his bosses at the New York & Erie Railroad. McCallum had risen up through the ranks from carpenter, to bridge engineer, to chief of bridges, to regional manager of the Susquehanna division of the railroad. His latest promotion, to general manager of the entire railroad, was a big one.

So he picked up his pen and put his ideas about managing the railroad down on paper. It was the first time we know of that anyone ever did this.

McCallum’s biggest problem was cost-per-mile. As fast as the railroad grew in size, operating costs grew faster. Where the company should have seen productivity improvement (declining cost per mile), it saw the opposite. Communication, coordination, operations, sales — all became more difficult, not less so, as the railroad grew.

For McCallum, a productivity problem was a general management problem. And his ideas about general management marked a turning point in business history.

Fast forward not quite two centuries and many talented people in Silicon Valley are in McCallum’s shoes. They’ve risen rapidly in their careers because they were great at their jobs, because the company was growing like crazy, or both. They are getting shoved into leadership and management roles. And it is the hardest transition many of them have ever faced.

Against all their hopes and dreams, the bigger the company gets, the less well things work. Instead of productivity and happiness, there’s the opposite. These companies often have plenty of financial runway. And they have raw talent that’s the envy of the world. But they grind the gears on general management — burning too much cash, energy, and time setting goals, organizing the work, getting it done, and improving performance. The gears grind, people get frustrated, and the runway gets a lot shorter.

McCallum was at the height of his career, still prototyping how to manage. Remember, there were no business schools or how-to books in 1855. No general manager apprenticeships. McCallum had been taught to engineer and build bridges, not to manage thousands of people across half a continent.

McCallum’s letter outlined five key challenges:

  • How do you get a group of people to work together to common goals?
  • How do you give people the right amount of responsibility?
  • How do you make sure the job gets done?
  • How do you know how things are going?
  • How do you do all this with respect for others?

McCallum designed his railroad’s management structure and operation to answer those questions. He created a custom blend of hard assets, people and technology — for instance, he used the telegraph the way we use email or the internet today — to make the railroad work.

I believe that McCallum added years to the life of the New York & Erie railroad. The railroad had financial capital. It had engines, rail cars, all the physical assets it needed. It had fleets of talented people at every level of the organization. What the railroad needed was great general management to amplify the productivity of the capital + labor combination, to extend the life of the business. Great general management adds runway.

OK so what do we do with this story? Daniel McCallum. Interesting person. Hard problem. Railroads matter.

McCallum accidentally gave us a beautiful scorecard for general managers.

Take a look. Here are McCallum’s five challenges:

  • Group works together on common goals.
  • People have the right amount of responsibility.
  • Team gets the job done.
  • General Manager knows how things are going along the way.
  • People feel respected.

By each, write a score for your team from 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst and 10 being the best.

McCallum’s scorecard is an optimistic one. It’s based on the idea that sometimes you can get better in each of the five areas. So don’t be shy about giving a low score.

Now go back and spend time dissecting the low scores. McCallum took his lowest scoring areas and prototyped improvements. He changed procedures for communication. He changed the organization design. He added some steps and removed others in key process. You can do the same thing.

If you are grinding the gears in your work, the company’s spiritual and financial runway is shorter than it could be. It’s kind of surprising that in the mid-1800s there was a person who struggled with what it meant to be a good general manager. His struggle can save you time and worry. Borrow McCallum’s ideas to put grease on the gears.

Michael Dearing is the founder of the venture capital firm Harrison Metal. He has held numerous executive roles at companies including eBay, Filene’s Basement and the Walt Disney Company.  He most recently served as an associate professor at Stanford University’s d.school.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Lots to learn, even from struggles long times ago.

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Beware the pitfalls of Silicon Valley

Beware the pitfalls of Silicon Valley | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

A recent article in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung titled “Will Facebook Enslave Us?” captures a sentiment prevalent among companies around the world: admiration for Silicon Valley — albeit, with a dash of fear.

International media outlets eagerly cover disruption developing in labs up and down the San Francisco peninsula. Boards of directors are spending hours debating how to react to the next wave from Silicon Valley. Today’s common conclusion is an old one: If you can’t beat them, join them. But for many, that is easier said than done.

The obstacles to joining forces

Many global business leaders want to experience Silicon Valley firsthand to understand what makes this hotbed of technology so unique, to uncover its secret recipe and to tap into potential collaboration opportunities. Read more: click image or title.

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How to find your way in #SiliconValley and find the right way to cooperate. 

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Why early-stage startups should focus on their super-fans (and not casual users)

Why early-stage startups should focus on their super-fans (and not casual users) | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Advice to startup founders: Don't try to make everyone happy. You want to focus on the 1 percent most engaged users of your product and make them ecstatic.

A lot of entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to please everyone. But you don’t really want to make all your customers happy. You want to focus on the 1 percent most engaged users of your product and make them ecstatic. And then you want to find another 100, 1,000, 10,000 users just like them. Otherwise, your product development will be all over the map before you get to product-market fit. Read more: click image or title.

 

 

Get your Free Business Plan Template here: http://bit.l/1aKy7km

 


Via Guillaume Decugis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Guillaume Decugis's comment:

"Couldn't agree more with what Jordan Stone explained at the Launch Festival as covered by my friend JD Lasica in this post.

 

Why should early stage startup do that?

 

Consider the following: what do you do as a customer of a product when you're reasonably happy vs when you're excited beyond expectations?

 

In the latter case, you'll do a lot more than use the product again: you'll go out of your way to tell your friends about it. You'll post on Facebook, you'll share the excitment. 

 

As a French guy who lives in the US, I have to send money back and forth regularly. Which means EUR/USD Fx transaction costs and wire fees that used to be up to 10%. Recently I discovered TransferWise, a peer-to-peer foreign exchange service that cuts these 10% to 1% or less. And provdes a super smooth experience. What did I do? I posted on Facebook with my community of European expats and of course this generated a lot of attention as they all have the same problem. I'm pretty sure a number of them will use the service. 

 

Would I have done that if I thought their service deserved a B or even an A-? 

 

No. 

 

That's why you should launch an MVP and then iterate based on your power users."

 

Powerful!

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Guillaume Decugis's curator insight, March 5, 3:30 AM

Couldn't agree more with what Jordan Stone explained at the Launch Festival as covered by my friend JD Lasica in this post.

 

Why should early stage startup do that?

 

Consider the following: what do you do as a customer of a product when you're reasonably happy vs when you're excited beyond expectations?

 

In the latter case, you'll do a lot more than use the product again: you'll go out of your way to tell your friends about it. You'll post on Facebook, you'll share the excitment. 

 

As a French guy who lives in the US, I have to send money back and forth regularly. Which means EUR/USD Fx transaction costs and wire fees that used to be up to 10%. Recently I discovered TransferWise, a peer-to-peer foreign exchange service that cuts these 10% to 1% or less. And provdes a super smooth experience. What did I do? I posted on Facebook with my community of European expats and of course this generated a lot of attention as they all have the same problem. I'm pretty sure a number of them will use the service. 

 

Would I have done that if I thought their service deserved a B or even an A-? 

 

No. 

 

That's why you should launch an MVP and then iterate based on your power users.

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Dare to make your startup Legendary — Austin Startups

Dare to make your startup Legendary - Austin Startups - Medium

At the start of the New Year, I spent some time reflecting on the companies that have achieved the extraordinary outcomes for Floodgate as well as for the industry in general.

Recently, I gave a talk at Stanford that pulled some of these thoughts together. I was hoping to reach the founders who want to create the hyper-exceptional startup — one that is in the super-performing top .01%.

Below is a link to the talk:

http://ecorner.stanford.edu/videos/3740/Dare-to-Do-Legendary-Things-Entire-Talk

For folks who don’t have the time to watch the whole video or the vignettes, I thought I would summarize the main thoughts which are covered in that 60 minute speech in a 5–10 minute read.

Before jumping in, I should mention that this is not a simple matter of “follow these rules and you will be the top ten out of 10,000, guaranteed.” I am also not saying that “100% of the top .01% systematically followed each and every one of these success factors, which explains why they won.” Luck and timing are hugely important and almost all super-performing startups have been beneficiaries of being at the right place with the right product at the right time in a changing and powerful technology cycle.

But I do believe that those who use strong frameworks to commit to being truly legendary have a few big advantages. First off, and perhaps most important, they can eliminate ideas that are not worthy of their talents and time. Second, they can raise their own games by putting the highest possible expectations on themselves and their teams. After all, when Sam Walton once said “High expectations are the key to everything,” he was exactly right. And third, they can accelerate their learning by diagnosing their businesses proactively along the way rather than stumbling ahead through trial and error.

So — you still want to build a legendary company? Here goes: Read more: click image or title.


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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Learn about #Moore'sLaw #Metcalfe'sLaw and the #PowerLaw and become a Legendary Founder.

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Six Steps To Transform Your Company Culture

Company culture can’t be rigid and unadaptable, or the company will fail. An outstanding company culture requires outstanding leadership, and changing the company culture requires leaders who recognize the real need for change, and who aren’t afraid of it. Outstanding leadership demonstrates maturity: conviction, diligence, focus, optimism, and the ability to handle uncertainty.

Leaders are able and willing to make positive changes to corporate culture to evolve with the times.

Immature leadership, by contrast, does not bode well for strong corporate culture. Lack of leadership skills, illegal or unethical behavior, or character flaws are common to immature or ineffective leaders. Character and honor are between difficult to impossible to recover once compromised, and the executive leader falls from grace from a particularly dangerous height.

Assuming your company has strong, mature leadership, transforming your company’s culture takes six critical steps. Read more: click image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

And here are some tips on how to build that #CompanyCulture.



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PARKJH's curator insight, February 10, 9:23 PM

6 points intéressants pour la culture d'entreprise

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Three Failed Entrepreneurs Walk Into a Bar...

Three Failed Entrepreneurs Walk Into a Bar... | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Once upon a time, there were three entrepreneurs who had just lost their businesses. They all happened to walk, sulking, into the same bar just off of Market St. and Polk St. in San Francisco. The drinks started flowing, and the three began telling each other stories:

Entrepreneur #1: Our business should have changed the world. Seriously, if we had been able to raise just a few million dollars, there would have been no stopping us. But we couldn't raise the funds. And after a while... well... we had to eat, right?

Entrepreneur #2: My company would have been the next unicorn. We had money and traction. But as we got bigger, our investors wanted us to get even bigger... faster. So we came out with new products. But the market didn't take to them. And we couldn't recover.

Entrepreneur #3: We had bad luck too. We were doubling every few months for years. We should have been the next Google. Then our board recommended a hire that we made. And he was political. I'm still not sure how it happened, but the board decided, today, for him to replace me.

The drinks kept flowing. First beers...then shots... then beers with shots inside of them. And the entrepreneurs kept talking. Perhaps it was the alcohol... or perhaps the recognition that they were sitting with human beings who shared their pain... but slowly they began to laugh and feel a bit better.

Then, out of nowhere, an old man approached. The entrepreneurs looked up at the man, blinked, and looked at each other; the old man was glowing like no living person they'd seen. Either he'd been sent from heaven or Mars, or someone had slipped something very strong into their drinks.To read more: click image or title.




Learn more about funding, find great funding sources, get a free business plan template, post your funding request for free, and more:

www.Business-Funding-Insider.com



Via Pantelis Chiotellis
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great story. #Failed #startup #founders can learn something here.

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Thủ Thuật Game - Fun24h's comment, January 19, 10:30 AM
Hướng dẫn cách chơi cờ tướng : http://fun24h.mobi/huong-dan-cach-choi-co-tuong-trong-game-bigkool/
A Subratty's curator insight, January 20, 2:47 PM

He who hasn't failed in life hasn't lived his life. 

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FI.co: Checklist: 10 Rules for a Great Startup Idea

FI.co: Checklist: 10 Rules for a Great Startup Idea | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Even though it's trendy in startups to say that ideas mean nothing and execution means everything, the reality is much less binary and much more nuanced. For example, even the world’s best entrepreneur with incredible execution will fail if their idea is fundamentally flawed, or if their market is too small.

Adeo Ressi, the Founder & CEO of the Founder Institute, preaches a list of "10 Rules to a Great Startup Idea"; an infographic of which was previously featured on Business Insider in an article by Megan Rose Dickey. This list provides a great starting point for people who want to evaluate their startup ideas at the very first stage. 

What we have found is that if an early-stage founder can check off the ten items below, they have a solid foundation by which to start a company. You are absolutely not assured success if you can check off these items (nor are you assured failure if you can’t), but your chances of success are much, much higher if you can. 

See the infographic below, and scroll down further for a full explanation. To see the infographic and article click on image or title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great #infographic and #article.

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This Is What Happens 6 Months After Ceo Raises the Minimum Wage at His Company to $70,000

The CEO's decision earned him praise and ridicule form across the business community.

Last year, Seattle-based Gravity Payments’ CEO Dan Price established a $70,000-a-year minimum wage at his company. The announcement earned him attention from Hollywood reality-TV producers, requests to study his radical experiment from Harvard Business School, and Rush Limbaugh branded him a socialist. So now that it’s been over six months, how did his experiment turn out? Read more: click title.



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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very creative idea. This #CEO made some serious changes.

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Simple blogging rules that will turn you into a content super star - TreDigital

Simple blogging rules that will turn you into a content super star - TreDigital | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Blogging is no longer an exercise in creative writing (unless you are blogging just for fun). It is more science than art. Just writing a blog is no longer enough.

If you plan to generate revenue from content, you must marry your talent of a storyteller with your practical side.

First you should start with strategic content planning. Once you had a chance to map out your content, it is time to look at the elements of the blog.

How to turn your blog into a powerful lead generating machine

First you start with creating an outline for an essay. (Your college professor will be very proud of you now). Your blog should contain the main theme and 5 key ideas for topics. It will also an introduction, summary, headline and find an image. This gives you a basic outline for the blog.

Your next step is to add elements that will make your blog search engine and lead generation friendly. These include headlines, images, headers summarizing key ideas, lead magnets, and calls to action.

I’ve created a template that helps me structure all of our blogs. You do not have to follow this exact template as long as you are including some of the top elements. Read more: click image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Your #blog generates trust, expertise, interest and #leads. This article has great guidelines and an excellent #visual to make that clear.

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Accelerators Are The New Business School

Accelerators Are The New Business School | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

It’s no secret that most startups fail. What’s a bit less obvious is that most startup accelerators also fail. While a few top-tier programs get the cream of the crop unicorns of the future, the hundreds of others struggle to attract teams that will produce the investment-grade companies on which their models so depend.

As the true business school of the future, most of them provide tremendous educational value to these budding entrepreneurs — who very well may produce a valuable company some day. Overwhelming odds are, however, that those initial projects that accelerators get a piece of, for their cash and time investment, aren’t the ones with which the entrepreneurs will ultimately succeed. For accelerators to survive long term, their business model has to change. Read more: click on image or title.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Some history and evaluation of the start up accelerator model.

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Nine Tips For A Successful Startup On Foreign Soil

Nine Tips For A Successful Startup On Foreign Soil | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
What advice do those who are experts on creating startups on foreign soil give? Listen to what a venture capitalist in Latin America, a professor at Stanford, an executive at Spotify in Asia, and others have to say.

Growing and scaling a startup, whether it’s in an exciting new market or a competitive and saturated one, may not be as straightforward as you’d like — especially if you want to launch in a foreign country. From inadvertently designing offensive logos, to failing to protect your intellectual property or simply being unable to penetrate your target market, a lot can go wrong. It takes some savvy business skills to ensure you don’t return home with your tail between your legs.

What advice do those who are experts on creating startups on foreign soil give? Read more: click on title or image.




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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Wise advice from someone who has been there and done it. Joshua Steimle is a CEO and has offices in Hong Kong and the US.

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What I Learned Building A Startup like Dogster, Inc.

What I Learned Building A Startup like Dogster, Inc. | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

This just won’t work in paragraph form as nothing in a startup happens in a linear manner. It’s all happening at once, and the realization of any learnings come to you in no particular time frame after that.

In startup land, if you build a sustainable profitable business that is not growing greater than 50% a year, everyone will respect you individually, but few will respect the actual profitable, sustainable business. Seek their respect at your own risk.

If doing what you love (in my case making Internet products that help people connect) allows you to make a business out of it, you’ll end up hating what you created because all you get to do is manage a very complex, challenging business.

Once I created a successful service and business out of nothing I became a lot more scared of blowing it than anything else, when really I should have just been content that I had succeeded at each previous step. It’s important to yell out loud “I did it!” to no one in particular when you realize you achieved what what once a goal.

If you do not prioritize friends, family, loved ones, pets, plants, hobbies while working on a start-up they will decay and extinguish. All you will be left with is a startup. Read more: click image or title.






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"I loved working with Growthink. The staff are passionate about their work and committed to what they do in a way that can only be achieved when you love what you do. They helped keep us on track to achieve our planning goals. I am looking forward to continued success working with everyone from Growthink in the future."
- Venus Williams, Professional Tennis Player and CEO, V Starr Interiors


Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Welcome to #startup land. This article is written in the style that startups are managed: pretty much everything at the same time. It gives an impression as to what being part of a startup is like.

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Startup Advice: Stay Alive - A Guy Who Sold His Startup For $200 Million Has Simple Advice For Founders - Business Insider

Startup Advice: Stay Alive - A Guy Who Sold His Startup For $200 Million Has Simple Advice For Founders - Business Insider | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Stay alive.

What's the number-one reason startups fail?

Some studies find it's a lack of product fit. Others say it's because companies run out of cash.

But a common reason startups fail is because the founder doesn't want to run it any more, and he or she decides to quit.

Bryan Goldberg cofounded Bleacher Report and sold it for more than $200 million to Turner. He now runs Bustle, a media site that targets women and earned 11 million monthly readers within its first year. Goldberg's recipe for startup success is pretty intuitive: Just stay alive. 

If you keep your startup alive long enough, you may break through a traffic barrier, earn traction, or outlast a competitor and gain industry recognition.

"Winning in startups, and in media specifically, is very much about refusing to give up. Resilience matters," Goldberg told Business Insider in an email. "It takes a long time for a media publication to gain mindshare with the general public — in the case of Bleacher Report, it took five years until people at parties or networking events told me, 'Yeah, I know you guys.' That's a long time for a startup, especially when each day brings growing pains, financial complexities, and potential fire drills. But you have to stay alive...Tough, nimble, spirited media startups are going to thrive, so long as they stay focused on their mission and have the patience to endure."

Paul Graham, the cofounder of startup incubator Y Combinator, calls this refusing-t0-die mentality being a cockroach.

In 2008, when he let Airbnb into Y Combinator, he told the cofounders that he appreciated their hustle (Airbnb used to sell boxes of cereal to fund itself when no investors wanted to give it cash.) 

"[Paul] was basically looking for cockroaches," Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said at a South by Southwest talk. "He said we were cockroaches and that's why he funded us." Now Airbnb is valued at about $10 billion.

Graham believes failure is often a founder's choice. They could choose to keep their startups alive — they just don't want to.

"You should shut down the company if you're certain it will fail no matter what you do. Then at least you can give back the money you have left, and save yourself however many months you would have spent riding it down," Graham wrote in a recent blog post. "Companies rarely have to fail though. What I'm really doing here is giving you the option of admitting you've already given up."

Full article here: http://snip.ly/7zVY


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