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Blogging is a pain point for many startups and small teams because it takes a lot of time and effort. This presentation by @Arabella Santiago shows how to solve that.
Startups need to blog, say a lot of people including entrepreneur/VC/blogger Mark Suster in this great piece. But what most entrepreneurs struggle with is how to really make it happen in spite of all the things they already have to do. This was this precise frustration that made us want to start Scoop.it as a way to help many people become media publishers and particularly entrepreneurs.
Could $100,000 and the right developer skills make you an overnight billionaire? How much does it really take to build a product like Twitter or Instagram? With mobile development ...
Very questionable analysis but which makes one point clear: web consumer startups are not technology challenges anymore.
Nice aoverview about web successes. I wonder if people would have invested so much if they knew right from the beginning the real cost and the chance of succes :-)
A real hot one...
“Journalists are biased.” “Our PR firm just doesn’t ‘get’ our message.” “We need at least one media hit a week.” Oh, and my personal favorite: “Can we review and edit quotes before the piece is published?”
If your startup marketing strategy includes getting press coverage, you should read this. And also this.
But I also encourage you to think whether that's actually something you need, how badly you need it and for what reasons. If the answer to the latter is "to get traction and grow my user base", that's probably wrong as I explained here.
This is the pitchdeck we used to raise half a million dollars from Angel investors.
Simple is beautiful, less is more: here's a great example of how this can be applied to securing funding for a startup. From Joel and Leo the founders of Buffer - a service we partner with at Scoop.it - and great guys too. Additional comments from Leo here.
This is a good complement to LinkedIn Series B deck. A later stage company will have a more complex story but an early stage pitch should focus on a few things including:
- the investment thesis
- the demonstrable traction
- the vision
- the team
This is as simple as you can make a pitch. What counts? Presenting the message to create results.
“If you think of your board members as working for you, there’s no reason to lie or fudge things to look a certain way or prove your competence. If you do those things, your board can’t help you effectively."
While I don't think all of this (long) list of advice is applicable to all companies, I do believe the above quote is fundamental to understand and apply.
I've been at board meetings every month or so for more than 10 years (for my own companies and as a board member of others). While we're fortunate to have a great board at Scoop.it, I've seen my share of highly dysfunctional meetings where entrepreneurs are putting their fate (and their companies') in the hands of the board every other meeting. Repeatedly judging a whole company in a couple of hours over and over is not what board meetings should (only) be about.
Thinking of your board members as partners who will share your pains and your successes totally changes the dynamics of board meetings.
(Above picture is a before and after of Xobni's Jeff Bonforte's board decks whose experience inspired this article.)
Direct and clear. I like that
In 2007, before YCombinator and AngelList had changed the industry, I worked in a nondescript office park in the heart of the venture capital industry off Sand Hill Road. Amid the leafy sprawl of buildings next to 280 and Stanford University, billions of dollars were and are invested out of the fancy offices of VC/PE firms you’ve never heard of. The whole industry has been shrouded in opaqueness since it was created decades ago, built on relationships from business schools, professional networks, and investor referrals.
The VC model is changing and while a lot has been said on AngelList, micro-VC funds and incubators such as Y Combinators, Andrew Chen explains why this is not incompatible with the rise of bigger and bigger VC's.
There were several factors that contributed to YouTube becoming the #1 video sharing service on the web. But a lot of initial adoption was driven by the fact that it had pirated content hosted on it. If you wanted to watch the latest episode of Lost for free, YouTube was your best bet: no queued downloading through torrents, just stream it from the server.
How to solve the chicken and egg issues hat marketplace services have. Faking it before making it can work. And can actually prove necessary not only to get traction but to give the right culture or identity to a service. Of course this form of bootstrapping doesn't scale but we know it doesn't matter: http://sco.lt/6n1fhh
" Of course this form of bootstrapping doesn't scale but we know it doesn't matter: http://sco.lt/6n1fhh "
No one said building a company was easy. But it's time to be honest about how brutal it really is--and the price so many founders secretly pay.
Though the article goes to some extreme examples, I don't know a single entrepreneur who didn't go through the ups and downs described here. And these low moments can be depressing indeed.
My take on this has been to consider than the good as the bad we're part of the same thing: something was happening (vs nothing). And that was what I wanted in the first place: make something meaningful of my life. But I have to admit I share what the author describes and that affect many founders: it's hard to speak about your tough times as they happen even with friends and family.
When people hurt themselves lifting heavy things, it's usually because they try to lift with their back. The right way to lift heavy things is to let your legs do the work. Inexperienced founders make the same mistake when trying to convince investors. They try to convince with their pitch. Most would be better off if they let their startup do the work—if they started by understanding why their startup is worth investing in, then simply explained this well to investors.
Rejection is frustrating. Here's an insightful post by Paul Graham on what you can do about it when it comes to being funded by VC's.
After 13 years at startups—the last four at Twitter—I’ve made the transition into venture capital as a partner at Redpoint Ventures. It has been just over a month since I began spending my days on Sand Hill Road and in that short time, I’ve learned quickly about working in a tight, seasoned partnership as well as having listened to some of the smartest, most interesting startup pitches.
A candid list of lessons learned from Ryan Sarver that gives interesting insights on how VCs will look at an investment opportunity. Useful to craft the perfect pitch.
A common excuse that entrepreneurs make for not being able to innovate is the lack of venture capital in their region.
Several good examples that show how dramatically the cost of creating breakthrough innovations has decreased.
Celebrate the possibilities#entrepreneurship
Successful entrepreneurship, who succeed? THose companies who are different, Game changers (they aim to compete on different terms), market entry and tey are in essense guerillas.
The culture of big risk taking has to fall in place in India for something really big to emerge! Any comments?
When I was early in my career, I casually mentioned to an older VC that I had yet to lose money on an investment. He replied "that's not good, you aren't taking enough risk." I have gone on to lose...
Fred Wilson discloses interesting figures about his loss ratio which is close to 40% for his 2004 fund - the most promising one he says.
I've seen several entrepreneurs make the mistake of thinking their VCs will do anything to refinance them to avoid making losses. While good ones will definitely put a fight for you, you should also not expect them to fund you beyond reason. After all, some of their portfolio companies will fail and they live with that.
Good to know before you start with a vc that they may take losses on you...
Many entrepreneurs, and the venture investors who back them, seek to build billion-dollar companies.
Impression study of the 39 billion dollar software companies that we're created in the US over the past 10 years. What they have in common, who their founders were and whether or not they pivoted to become successful: lots of great data points.
At Greylock, my partners and I are driven by one guiding mission: always help entrepreneurs.
People, this is gold.
Reid Hoffman made public the deck he and the LinkedIn team used to raise their Series B back in 2004. Of course this is huge because LinkedIn became LinkedIn but more importantly, Hoffman added precious insights and advice on what he would do differently now.
Key point to me is how to artciulate the investment thesis. To elaborate on that, solving a problem is not the investment thesis. Of course, it's needed b ut on top of that you also need to show how that problem can be worth enough to your customers so that it can become a big business. Hoffman says he didn't articulate this well enough opening with a slide that simply put the value proposition forward but failing to artculate how value would be created and defended on the long run by delivering it.
There are a ton of other valuable points on how to pitch by analogy, how to deal with risks, how to look at explaining business model and revenue streams, etc...
A must-read for anyone willing to pitch VC's.
Thanks to the bossman [url=/u/2005 x-already-notified=1]gdecugis[/url] for this awesome find@
Cash flow equals freedom. If you have cash flow you can decide the direction your company moves. Without cash flow you are very limited in options and anyone who has helped you finance can begin calling the shots. If you're bootstrapping you will just slowly fade away.
This is a very well written account of how a high tech startup began working for cashflow.
I can't tell you how many times we've met with early-stage companies, and they start by telling us their big vision. They say, 'This is what we're about and what we want to change.' But when we ask them what they actually do, they can’t tell us. If you can’t answer that question, don’t do anything else until you can. Nothing else matters.
Long but worth reading series of advice from Brooke Hammerling on how to handle PR as a startup founder.
She starts by a candid and fresh observation that most startups don't need any PR help when early stage and that a common mistake is to try to get coverage too soon when not ready either at the product or the messaging level.
So this is an interesting piece if you're wondering when and how PR can help and what you can do about it?
My story of entrepreneurial failure and success on both sides of the Atlantic. Or how I discovered entrepreneurship as a Stanford grad student, moved back to Eu
These are the slides of a talk I gave to TechWeek in Chicago back in June and again in San Francisco in July. I often get asked how I became an entrepreneur and what it's like so I felt I would also share it on SlideShare. And I remember vividly this image of a roller coaster that came to my mind as my first joys as an entrepreneur seemed to be somehow immediately followed by great pain. And on again.
Enjoy the ride!
Special thoughts and thanks to the former and current team members of Musiwave, Goojet and Scoop.it.
Update: Wow! SlideShare just made it presentation of the day. Honored.
"Let me conclude with some tactical advice. If you want to take on a problem as big as the ones I've discussed, don't make a direct frontal attack on it. Don't say, for example, that you're going to replace email. If you do that you raise too many expectations. Your employees and investors will constantly be asking "are we there yet?" and you'll have an army of haters waiting to see you fail. Just say you're building todo-list software. That sounds harmless. People can notice you've replaced email when it's a fait accompli."
Last year, Paul Graham threw ideas that could be the way for the next Googles and Apples. But what I particularly love is the conclusion piece on tactics that I quoted above.
At Scoop.it, we are absolutely not building a new search engine.
Really like the direct points in this article - No BS
Imagine that you've got a rising band with catchy tunes and moptops -- then you notice these guys got on the Ed Sullivan Show ahead of you. Entrepreneur Guillaume Decugis had such a moment, and he had to readjust.
I met Rob Asghar a few weeks ago and we discussed among other things our pivot from Goojet to Scoop.it, when it is appropriate to pivot, when not and what happens when you realize your orignal strategy just won't work.
This is how he very nicely wrote it up mixing music and surfing metaphors: two of my favorite topics!