Good morning, All,
Two weeks ago, Marissa Mayer issued a directive that Yahoo would no longer be permitted to work from home and it caused quite a stir. “Speed and quality are often sacrificed when we work from home. We need to be one Yahoo!, and that starts with physically being together,” the memo, which was generated by the head of HR, read. Deadline: June 1st. Comply or else. Many Yahoos!, some of whom were hired as remote employees, felt it harsh, and so leaked the confidential memo. Yahoo’ers themselves were chiming in that there were remote employees who were busy starting their own companies – on Yahoo’s dime – and others who’d been working remotely for so long, they’d been forgotten and hadn’t done any work in ages. Yahoo’s employee rolls have certainly grown bloated over the years and what better way to tell where the dead weight is than by requiring people to come into the office to do their jobs. Without having to announce layoffs. Brilliant.
Working remotely has long been part of the promise of the Technology Age: that we would also be so connected, there would be no reason for a physical office. Many early-stage startups depend on such an arrangement: but even startups don’t run remotely forever. Most large SV-based companies require employees to come to the office, whether or not the policy is stated. Why do you think perks include on-premises dry cleaners, doctors, dentists, free lunch, childcare: it’s so that you don’t have an excuse not to come in.
Speaking of brilliance, after yet another bad earnings report, Andrew Mason is out as Groupon CEO. His farewell memo to his employees is a keeper and begin:
“People of Groupon,
After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding – I was fired today. If you’re wondering why… you haven’t been paying attention.”
Mayer obviously was and both calls were long overdue. It no doubt impact the quality of life of many a Yahoo! employee. Newsflash: that’s why it’s called ‘work,’ and it seems that people outside the company are more upset by the directive than the Yahoos! themselves (How Marissa Mayer Figured Out Work-At-Home Yahoos Were Slacking Off). Technology has made huge strides in impacting our lifestyles, often for the better, but we haven’t yet gotten to the point where, when it comes to work, most of us can phone it in. As former GE head Jack Welch once said, “Work-Life balance is great. Just don’t expect it to help your career.” Some things haven’t changed. Not yet, anyway. People are still people. Onward and forward.
Our next panel/networking event is March 12th: Adults in the Room: Accelerators and How They Can Benefit Your Company. We all know that the Series A crunch has made it tougher for startups to attract financing. Securing investment in the seed and early stages is critical, and from whom you secure it matters, too. Accelerator programs are an excellent option for early stage entrepreneurs to consider: they offer a vast array of benefits that will literally propel your startup from conception to a viable business. They offer classes to help you shape your business and get it investor-ready. Notable industry experts as mentors are available to help when you get stuck. The structure and format of accelerators are among their greatest values. They also give you some funding – and come Demo Day, put you in front of the right investors to help get you to the next level. But what does it take to make it through the door?
Join us to get an inside perspective on accelerators. We’ll hear from three top accelerator programs:
Murat Aktihanoglu – ER Accelerator (which has an application deadline coming up)
Mark Wachen- DreamIt Accelerator (their deadline application will be later that week, too)
Kelly Hoey – Women Innovatate Mobile Accelerator (who will be starting their next class quite soon)
and from Doug Krugman (WebThriftStore), a serial entrepreneur and former VC, who decided to launch his latest venture by going through an accelerator program (ER Accelerator). There must have been a reason for it. Come find out – and hear about accelerator programs, from both sides of the coin. Note: panelists will introduce themselves and tell us about their accelerators/background – then you’re free to ask them whatever you’d like to know. Amazing refreshments will be served, networking will be done and insights will be offered, and our special thanks to Orrick for hosting. RSVP here.
The list of Startup Weekend Upcoming Events
The Startup Bus to SXSW. Deadline: As soon as humanly possible. You and a team of strangers, on a bus, at 60 mph, have 72 hours to conceive, build and launch a startup. Go!
Call for Nominations: Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, deadline March 8th. Recognized as one of the most prestigious business award programs in the country, Ernst & Young is now calling for nominations in San Diego, Orange County, Greater Los Angeles, Northern California, Portland, Seattle and Utah for the 2013 Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards. Details: http://bit.ly/UCDHeU
NEW Mass Challenge, early Bird Deadline: March 6, final deadline, April 3rd. The overall focus of the application process is impact. MassChallenge does not define impact, but leaves that up to the applicants. Impact for one company might mean improving lives or curing a disease, while for another it might be generating an enormous amount of revenue.
ER Accelerator now accepting applications for Summer 2013. Early application deadline: March 7th. Final deadline: April 19th. $40,000 investment 4-month program. Follow-on investment in future rounds. 200+ awesome mentors, including yours truly. Apply now.
StartupChile, Deadline March 11th. $40K goes a long way in Chile. Think about it. Then apply here.
DreamIt Ventures Accelerator Summer class is now accepting application. Deadline: March 15. It’s their third annual New York City Accelerator program, which will begin in mid-May and run to mid-August. The program offers $25,000 in seed funding, as well as collaborative work space, mentoring, exclusive speaking engagements with industry leaders, and an opportunity to pitch to investors on Demo Day. To apply as a company or an individual: http://www.dreamitventures.com/
WIM Behind The Pitch, deadline to apply to pitch, March 22. Getting funded is challenging – and Behind The Pitch focuses on understanding and navigating the funding market, each quarter.
NEW YCombinator, deadline March 29th. How do we choose who to fund? The people in your group are what matter most to us. We look for brains, motivation, and a sense of design. Experience is helpful but not critical. The ideal company would have two or three founders. We’ll consider those with four or five. We’re reluctant to accept one-person companies, though we have funded a couple. You do need to be in the Bay area (or be willing to move there).
Global Apps to Empower Competition Seeks Apps to Educate and Empower Women Everywhere, deadline April 30th. Applications that best satisfy the competition criteria will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to have their apps featured on Datawind’s $40 Ubislate educational tablet. That’s potentially a lot of computers – and a big win for the winning app! The UN is involved and the winning apps will be receive cash prizes, recognition (judges for the contest include Joanne Wilson, Vivek Wadhwa, Geena Davis. For more information and to apply: http://appstoempower.org/
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For you edification this week:
How To Pitch a BIG Story. Telling a BIG story isn’t always that easy. Some market opportunities aren’t obvious at all.
The depressing math behind consumer-facing apps. You just hit your millionth active user — congratulations! Unfortunately, getting to that next order of magnitude (10M) is going to be very difficult, costly or both.
The USV investment theory in 140 character: invest in large networks of engaged users, differentiated by user experience, and defensible though network effects.
The credentials trap. Chris Dixon on putting too much emphasis on credentials. Cheers to that!
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.“
Steve Jobs, Stanford University commencement speech, 2005
It was Steve Jobs’ birthday last week, so we give you this, from Steve Blank: Crazy enough to change the world.
Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!
For your amusement this week: http://everyfuckingwebsite.com/ – speaks for itself and enjoy. That’s it from us for now. Hope to see you at our event on March 12th remember: our event will be just before the DreamIt deadline, and not long before the ER Accelerator final deadline for applications. Good time to meet the principals and get some invaluable insights about what they’re looking for, this time around. And now, as always, help is on the way…