Browsed by
Month: March 2013

3/26/13

3/26/13

Good morning, All,

The twitterverse went wild last week over what was basically an act of immaturity that spiraled out of control, thanks to social media. In brief: Adria Richards (SendGrid) was offended by a (perceived) sexual joke having to do with a “dongle” and “forking,” which she overheard at a developer conference. Instead of confronting the developer, she took a picture of him, then shamed him on Twitter and in her blog post. DongleGate was born. They both got fired. Once again, the power of the Internet and the amplification brought about via social media got some people in trouble.

Newsflash: most guy tell each other off color jokes (last week’s Grey’s Anatomy featured a prank in which one doctor had another doctor unwittingly page a patient named Jenna Talia. No one was fired. The show was not cancelled). Didn't it occur to her that rather than report it to the twitterverse, she could have turned around and talked to them. She was fired but not before SendGrid was taken offline by Anonymous for a few hours (but not PlayHaven, although the brogrammer was fired as well). Everyone was wrong and everyone missed the forest through the trees last week: that CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) has reared its ugly head once again. If passed, it would destroy online privacy in the United States, by allowing private companies to share virtually any information about you with the government, and vice versa. Which basically also gives private companies carte blanche to listen in on your conversations/emails, etc as well. We saw what happened when Adria Richards basically invaded that developers private conversation: that was a warning shot and that was just a taste of what could very well potentially come about. Time to keep your focus on Congress and not the Ministry of Silly Walks or we’re going to all lose that element that makes this industry great: that we enable free speech, and have no compunctions about marching to the beat of a different drummer. Let’s keep it that way. Latest petition is here. You have your marching orders. Onward and forward. Read More...

3/19/13

3/19/13

Good morning, All,

Short and sweet today. We read a lot of blog posts and articles, many of which offer advice to entrepreneurs and we’ve boiled it down to 5 simple points. It’s a short list and alliteration always makes it easier to remember:

1. Passion: you’ve got to have that fire in the belly – that thing that keeps you up at night. Starting a venture is hard. Having that passion for what you’re doing is what helps to keep you going. 2. Purpose/Problem. It’s that thing that you’ve set about to solve. That void you’re trying to fill; that pain point that you’re attempting to eliminate. That’s also four P words, which shows you how critical this point is. 3. People: your team, your mentors, your advisors, your investors. Having the wrong people on your team can bring everything to a grinding halt. Trust me on this one. 4. Process/Plan. To get from point A to point B, you need a plan. One foot in front of the other: figure out your roadmap before you set out on your journey. Of course you’ll hit some bumps in the road. Have a backup plan/alternative route. 5. Profits. There used to be a panel series called ‘Show Me the Money,’ where startups would pitch to investors in hopes of getting funded. Remember: works both ways. Have a path or profitability. Read More...

3/12/13

3/12/13

Good morning, All,

We’re hosting a panel on accelerators this week, let’s talk about accelerators. We mentor at ER Accelerator, and always attend the hospitality events that precede Deadline Day to talk to potentials. The question that always comes up: Is it worth the equity they’d be giving up for a rather small amount of seed investment. Ah, but then there are the intangibles that you may not be aware of: 1. There are mentors who are well known investors/industry luminaries who come in for an afternoon to talk to you – both as a group, to give you an overview – and then one on one. Invaluable, especially since they often return on Demo Day to catch your pitch, and you already have something of a relationship with them that’s much more than a warm introduction. 2. There are mentors who are subject matter experts who really work with you to shape your presentation – and introduce you to potential partners/clients. You often have access to them for far longer than just an afternoon, they’re also there on Demo Day, and some of them even end up investing in the companies they’ve been mentoring. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? Some even invest before Demo Day, or introduce you to potential clients/investors who do. 3. Sessions generally run for three months – which means that you’re in very close quarters with your investors, qua, the people running the accelerator. They get to know you and your product inside and out, and they don’t disappear after Demo Day: they’re always there to help you. 4. Camaraderie/help you get from other companies in your ‘class’ – and they don’t forget you after the session is over 5. Of course, your pitch and deck are shaped up and made investor-ready, 6. The weekly ‘practice pitches, ‘ with invited guests present who are either investors or subject matter experts – and their input is invaluable – and some of them might also be a potential investor/client of yours. 7. If/when you get stuck, subject matter experts are brought in to help you. 8. Companies from previously classes come to the pitch sessions – and they might have contact/clients/affiliates for you as well. 9. It doesn’t end once your 3 months are up: the accelerators have a vested interest in you; they get to know you well; and they’re always there for you when you need them 10. Demo Day – the investors and the press come to you.

Because of the mentors/support system in place at the accelerators, it’s not unusual for startups there to have clients/revenue even before they hit demo day. Not bad for a 3-month program, eh? Think of it as a startup school: a crash course in how to build a business, where they pay you to attend – and of course there’s a trade off: that’s the bit of equity they take, and they’ve earned it. Not every company succeeds, but isn’t that always the case. Is it for you? That’s your call. Each one has its own sweet spots, so don’t put all of your eggs in one basket – and there are plenty of accelerators out there, so if you don't get into the first one, next. Because we always go - onward and forward. Read More...

3/5/13

3/5/13

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. Read More...

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial
%d bloggers like this: