Competitive Edge
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Competitive Edge
Creating your Unique Value Proposition to gain your Competitive Edge.
Curated by Marc Kneepkens
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Building a great startup requires more than genius and a great invention –

Building a great startup requires more than genius and a great invention – | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Many entrepreneurs assume that an invention carries intrinsic value, but that assumption is a fallacy.

Here, the examples of the 19th and 20th century inventors Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla  are instructive. Even as aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors lionize Edison for his myriad inventions and business acumen, they conveniently fail to recognize Tesla, despite having far greater contributions to how we generate, move and harness power. Edison is the exception, with the legendary penniless Tesla as the norm. Read more: click image or title. 

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

The big idea is only the first step in building a great company. #Startups need to understand that #execution of a real plan needs to come next. 

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The Co-Founder of Orchard Mile Shares How She Handles Investor Rejection, Manages Startup Hype and Deals With Doubt

The Co-Founder of Orchard Mile Shares How She Handles Investor Rejection, Manages Startup Hype and Deals With Doubt | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Jennie Baik opens up about what she's built and the lessons she's learned along the way.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Interview with a successful #entrepreneur: always something new to learn.

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The Story of Cannabis: What Investors Need to Know

The Story of Cannabis: What Investors Need to Know | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
As the legal cannabis industry emerges and evolves, we will demystify the business of cannabis including the plant itself, market segments, and industry trends.

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Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Cannabis is a real miracle plant and should never have been criminalized. Slowly but surely it is making a major breakthrough, not only for #health and #medicine, but also as an #investment.

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Angel Investors want to fall in love –

Not all investors are the same. Some invest in tech startups and others only do restaurants and office buildings. Some like to be the first investor to commit and others prefer to be the last. Some…

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

How to approach and entice angel investors...

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5 Steps To Getting Your Company Acquired –

Since launching TravelZeeky, a travel agency focused on corporate and college travel, my business partners, Zach and Jeremy Mendelsohn, set us up for success with the end in mind. The goal was clear: find a niche within the travel industry, build personal relationships with decision makers that big companies simply don’t have the bandwidth to do, and sell them travel experiences they desire without the headache of managing it themselves. My role as a Managing Partner was to leverage King Tide’s design and development resources to oversee the digital presence of the brand, creating a website and CRM system to handle the sales funnel while supporting marketing campaigns. Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Learn from those who have done it before you.

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Data Science for Startups: Introduction –

I recently changed industries and joined a startup company where I’m responsible for building up a data science discipline. While we already had a solid data pipeline in place when I joined, we didn’t have processes in place for reproducible analysis, scaling up models, and performing experiments. The goal of this series of blog posts is to provide an overview of how to build a data science platform from scratch for a startup, providing real examples using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that readers can try out themselves.

This series is intended for data scientists and analysts that want to move beyond the model training stage, and build data pipelines and data products that can be impactful for an organization. However, it could also be useful for other disciplines that want a better understanding of how to work with data scientists to run experiments and build data products. It is intended for readers with programming experience, and will include code examples primarily in R and Java. Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Startup: The goal of this series of blog posts is to provide an overview of how to build a data science platform from scratch for a startup, providing real examples using Google Cloud Platform (GCP) that readers can try out themselves.

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The Valuation Obsession – AVC

There is an obsession with the values that are being placed on companies when they finance. There has always been one but it is worse than ever.

Every day, without fail, I read a headline that so and so company has raised, will raise, or is trying to raise capital at some eye popping valuation.

It would be easy to blame this on the media, which certainly has to shoulder some of the blame for believing that these are important stories to write day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

But the media writes what people want to read and talk about.

The problem is us, the tech sector, and the mindset that valuation is the scorecard by which we measure ourselves. Read more: click title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Startup #founders are obsessed with #valuations. Look at what Fred Wilson, #VC, has to say about that.

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Infographic: Habits Of Highly Successful Startup Founders

Infographic: Habits Of Highly Successful Startup Founders | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

Anyone can start a business, but not everyone can see that business through to success. What is it that sets successful startup founders apart from the unsuccessful ones?

 

For starters, failure of one startup venture does not mean failure of a startup founder. Failure is always an opportunity to learn, and those founders who look at failure this way are often the most successful.

 

So we know that learning from failure is one positive habit that successful startup founders have, but what else? You have to know yourself and know your abilities. Know what your limits are and what you need to outsource. Knowing this is crucial – wasting your time doing things that you aren’t good at isn’t how you grow a startup. Read more: click image or title.

 

The World's #1 Business Plan Template: click here

 

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Difference between successful and unsuccessful people

Difference between successful and unsuccessful people | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
This just might be the secret to success — and it's something anyone can master.

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Via Enzo Calamo
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very simple #mindset change will set you on track to success.

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Why Hearing “No” in a Fund-Raising Process is Actually Healthy

Every entrepreneur wants to hear “yes” during the fund-raising process but I would argue that being too risk averse and not pushing hard enough and be willing to hear a “no” is what holds back many people from “yes.” Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

There is a lot to learn in this article by Mark Suster. He has been on both sides of the table. 

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I Know Everybody Told You to Send Your Fund-Raising Decks as a Link.

I know you have your document sending tool to send your fund-raising deck to VCs and track who read your deck, which pages they read and how much time they spend on each page. I know that you can use an email system with this to track my open rate, whether I forwarded the email, the IP address where I read it, whether I was on a mobile device or a wired computer and you can tell who else read the document. I know all of this because every VC knows this because we’ve all either funded companies that have marketing technology or we’ve seen a pitch with a company that does this. Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great advice from the guy who has been on 'both sides of the table'.

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10 Pieces of Advice from VCs Entrepreneurs May Want to Heed

Entrepreneurs, take note! Here are 10 excellent pieces of advice from VCs.

“If you are going to dedicate five to seven years of your life in a company, don’t do it based on some tech article you read. Do your homework and strive to understand the space you are going into…Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Understand how #VC's think and what they require before writing a big check.

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A Founder’s Guideline to Debt Financing – Startup Grind –

Equity is, of course, the most understood method of financing. This is because most startups have to raise equity to get off the ground. There are also many VCs around who can provide equity capital. 

The documents needed to run an equity round are straightforward with well-established templates for priced rounds, convertible notes and SAFEs.

There’s also plenty of education out there on VC blogs, Hacker News, Reddit etc. We don’t have as much education around debt. We thought we could provide you with some basic guidelines.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

What about #debt? Will loans protect your ownership? What all is involved?

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The elastic brain: The most important thinking habit nobody taught you

The elastic brain: The most important thinking habit nobody taught you | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it

 

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Elastic thinking is about stretching your mind and using “bottom up” processing in the brain rather than the top down executive functions that drive analytical thinking.

 

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything,” George Bernard Shaw said that.

 

And Einstein also said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

 

Life is neither static nor unchanging, it’s fluid.

 

Nothing stays the same.

 

Elastic thinking (experts may call it cognitive flexibility) allows us to shift gears and think about something in more than one way.

 

A fixed mindset can sabotage your efforts to thrive in a changing environment.

 

How elastic is your brain?

The ability to stretch beyond your core strengths when necessary and quickly rebound back to your core skills and discipline is a desirable trait. Read more:

 
 

Via nrip
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Think like a #Genius ...

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Do You Know How To Create A Great Investor Pitch Deck?

Do You Know How To Create A Great Investor Pitch Deck? | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
Getting more money to develop your business requires a lot of time and energy. To help you out, we'll share some tips on how to create a great Pitch Deck!

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#PitchDeck creating is essential for #startups looking for #seedfunding

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Where to Go After Product-Market Fit: An Interview with Marc Andreessen –

It’s a thrilling thing to build a new product, then watch as consumers actually pick it up. But achieving product/market fit also marks the beginning of a challenging time for a lot of founders. You’ve poured your energy into getting here — now what?

Few people have as much insight into this make-or-break moment as Marc Andreessen. As a repeat founder himself and one of Silicon Valley’s most influential investors, he’s seen firsthand that the decisions startups make at this juncture are some of the most consequential they will ever make. I spoke with Marc to get his top recommendations for how startup leaders can turn early success into lasting relevance.

 

Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Very interesting article with premium information for #startups and #founders.

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How to manage your mental health as a solo founder – Robyn Vinter –

If people ever asked what I’m good at (they don’t) I would be inclined to say things like I’m an OK writer, I’m quite good with people or I can roller skate. It wouldn’t even cross my mind to mention... Read more: click image or title.

 

 

The World's #1 Business Plan Template: click here

 

Marc Kneepkens's insight:

It's a tremendous amount of pressure to create a #startup and navigate it to success. Maintain a balanced life...

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Entrepreneurs: This Is Why You‘ll Raise More Money If You Trust Your Team

Founders often start off on their own with nothing but a bold idea and the guts to see what happens next. They bootstrap and scrap their way forward. Then, they have a few wins. Either make or raise a little money. And get excited to hire a team and take a few things off of their plates.

Often a team is a few people at first. Someone with expertise in the product. A great operator. Someone with financial expertise, or marketing. 

But the Founder is used to doing things in his or her own way. Nobody loves his or her company the way a founder does. And new team members have different ideas about how to execute, or even where the company should go next. Read more: click image or title.

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

#Startup #founders need to trust their #team. They can't do it alone.

 

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8 Insanely Profitable Skills You Can Learn For Free (And On Your Own Time)

Whenever I tell somebody about online freelancing…

 

It seems like they get really excited, think about all the amazing benefits it can bring them, and then run into one of two barriers: So after hearing this I don’t know, 1,287,321 times — I’ve spent 

a lot of time finding free resources to combat these comebacks…

And today, I wanted to share my 8 favorite ones with you.

Read more: click image or title.

 

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What Should You Send a VC Before Your Meeting? –

One of the hardest things to know when you’re new to fund raising is what you’re supposed to send to an investor, when and will they keep your information confidential. As a VC and former 

entrepreneur let me offer you some advice.

The short answer is that you should have multiple versions of your “pitch deck” (a short, visual presentation in Keynote, PPT or similar and shared as a PDF) and each occasion has a specific goal.

Before the Meeting

There is a lot of controversy / angst over whether to send a deck in advance or not. Those who don’t favor sending it would cite two issues:

  1. You lose the ability to control the narrative / inspire verbally because an investor has already read your deck and made decisions without you having the chance to deliver an impassioned plea; and
  2. Your confidential information will get leaked because the VC has your deck and hasn’t shown any commitments to you.

While I understand both arguments, I still believe passionately in sending materials in advance. The key is WHAT you send. Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article, again, from Mark Suster, VC and entrepreneur.

Very good information for the #founder who is looking for funding.

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What I wish I knew about fundraising as a first-time founder

When I founded my company TruStory last year, I was fortunate to connect with an angel investor who immediately saw its potential. 

She made a bet on me and my idea, and wrote a pre-seed check that allowed me to dedicate the next few months to brainstorming and product development. It was an exhilarating and intense time: hours upon hours absorbed in thinking, researching, and building.

Eventually, I saw inklings of a beautiful thing coming together, and TruStory was finally ready for the next step: raising a round of seed capital.

I had no idea what I was getting into. Since TruStory’s angel funding came together so quickly and informally, this was my first real fundraising experience, and I was incredibly naive. In the end it all came together, and I’m immensely thankful for the handful of people who jumped in throughout the process to help guide me. Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Excellent article on getting your #startup funded, written from experience. 

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To Have What You Want, You Must Give-Up What’s Holding You Back

In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article showing that the average person has between 12,000 and 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.

The things running through your head are the same things that were running through your head yesterday.

The conversations you’re having with yourself are the same conversations you’ve been having with yourself. Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Is 'same old, same old' going to make you successful?

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How to Talk About Valuation When a VC Asks –

One of the hardest things about the fund-raising process for entrepreneurs is that you’re trying to raise money from people who have “asymmetric information.” VC firms see thousands of deals and have a refined sense of how the market is valuing deals because they get price signals across all of these deals. As an entrepreneur it can feel as intimidating as going to buy a car where the dealer knows the price of every make & model of a car and you’re guessing at how much to pay. Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Great series of articles for #startups looking for #seedfunding by Mark Suster.

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How Many Investors Should You Talk to in a VC Fund Raise? And How Do You Prioritize?

This is part of a series of advice for founders who need to raise money from venture capitalists. The first in the series is “Lemons Ripen Early,” which also has a link to other posts.

The most important advice I could give you before you set out in fund raising mode is to understand that fund-raising a sales & marketing process and needs to be managed. Somehow many first-time founders equate “sales” with something that is beneath them. I always tell founders … Read more: click image or title.

 

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Marc Kneepkens's insight:

Mark Suster describes the #funding process and how communication with #investors happens.

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Your Lifestyle Has a Greater Impact on Your Health Than You Might Realize | Thrive Global

Your Lifestyle Has a Greater Impact on Your Health Than You Might Realize | Thrive Global | Competitive Edge | Scoop.it
These choices are especially important when it comes to preventing cancer.

We have reached a critical moment in terms of cancer research, treatment, and prevention. Cancer is a leading cause of death in the world. In the United States one in two men and one in three women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. Yet it is now clear from scientific research that how we live in our bodies, in our communities and the broader world— how we eat, sleep, work and play, manage stress and face life’s challenges, create our support networks and make choices about our environments— has a profound effect on our health and wellness; and on cancer in particular. Read more: click image or title.

 

Lower BLOOD PRESSURE naturally: BREAKTHROUGH DISCOVERY - CLICK HERE to learn more  

 


Via THE OFFICIAL ANDREASCY, Marc Kneepkens
Marc Kneepkens's insight:

LIfestyle is essential when trying to stay on top and keep that competitive edge. Avoiding #cancer by lifestyle...

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Marc Kneepkens's curator insight, May 3, 9:57 AM

There is more than just eating healthy or exercise and fitness. This article points out a more comprehensive look at how to avoid #cancer