Good morning, All, and happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s Social Media Week and SOS, ER and Hubitat are hosting a Startup Breakfast on Thursday, February 16th.  $15 includes breakfast, and be prepared to tell us what you need, what you’re doing, or how you can help! It’ll be at Hubitat – and many of you have been curious to see the offices, so come! 31 West 26th Street. RSVP here, and it’s $20 at the door: http://erasosbreakfast1.eventbrite.com/ Join us – a good healthy breakfast is a great way to start your day!

If yoIu believe that reinventing the wheel is a waste of time, you are sadly misinformed, unless you can somehow convince us that the guy who invented the very first one somehow managed to chisel a steel belted radial out of solid rock. Privacy is going the way of the dinosaur, thanks to Big Data – and so has trying to get meaningful search results using google. It has gotten so bad, we personally now google someone on linkedin – and we’re sure that there is at least one or two of you out there who does the same, and GOOG, thanks for the verb. This is not a diatribe: this is a cautionary tale:

As many of you know, we are in the process of launching a new company, and no, this is not about self-promotion. When our other half was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, we had to figure out how to feed him, get him off the meds, lose weight and help him to restore his health while leaving some semblance of the foods in his comfort zone – all in one breath. Or rather, as quickly as possible. It was never our intention to reinvent cookies, muffins, truffles, pasta  or pizza, nor did we ever consider that type 2 diabetes would be a mainstay in our lives and that he would have to lose, well, about as much as we’ve weighed most of our life. There you have it. Get lemons: make lemonade. Hold the sugar.

The point of this: if we can reinvent cookies and muffins using NONE of the traditional ingredients AND still come out with a great product, you can reinvent the wheel and figure out a way to monetize your sites/technologies without having to alienate and lose your audience/users/customers. And still provide a meaningful service, which Google and FB seem to have lost sight of. Who needs the baby – that bath water has GOT to go! You can reinvent the wheel, but you’ve got to start thinking outside of the box. It can be done. The only question is: will you be the one to do it. Here are some basic rules, which you’ve no doubt heard before in some form, or rather, yes, we know that we’re not exactly reinventing the wheel here…
1. You’d better have a strong motivator to do what you’re doing, or it won’t work. We don’t think Mark Zuckerberg was thinking about taking at least one last class in economics before dropping out of Harvard, because someday he’d have to figure out how to shelter the billions of dollars he’d be making eight years later. And myspace was already out there and growing, FYI. And Yahoo owned search long before Google was launched. You do what you do, because you’re driven to do it.

2. Make sure there’s a market for your product. Yes, that. It’s the first thing you consider, once you’ve come up with the idea, if your intention is to build a business.

3. It doesn’t matter if someone so-called ‘owns the space.’ If there’s a pain point, there’s a problem.

4. Talk to everyone you meet about what you’re doing. Eventually, you will find help/an advocate/an investor. You can’t be the only one who sees the problem and if you are, you’re either prescient beyond belief or the medications stopped working, in which case – seek professional help.

5. If your energy/resolves starts to flag, do an impromptu focus group. We attended a breakfast recently and put our our muffins and cookies, just for the reaction. Then noticed people started gravitating towards our products – and finished them. Build a better mousetrap.

6. Be your own best advocate. Always be selling. Always be marketing.

7. Lean is fine at first, if your intention is to stay boutique. You want to get big – go big. Find an  investor and start blanketing the market. Network – and always have marketing/sales material/products with you, and remember: the goal is to go home lighter than you arrived – but not quite empty-handed, if you catch our drift.

Our last bit of inspiration on this topic, from Mad Men and one of the most brilliantly written segments in all of television. This should be required viewing in any business course or MBA Program. In the words of Don Draper (John Hamm), “technology is a glittering lure – but there is the rare occasion when the public can be engaged beyond flash.. “ Without further ado: “The Carousel,” aka Don Draper Reinvents the Wheel. Do yourself a favor and watch it in its entirety: http://youtu.be/suRDUFpsHus. Oh, and good luck at your next meeting. Onward and forward.


Women2.0 Conference & Competition 2012, February 14th, Mountainview. For your 10% discount: STARUPONESTOP: http://women2.org/conference2012

NEW youngStartup Ventures will be hosting VC Outlook NYC|2012 on February 16th, and 10% discount with the code “sos.” There’s an exclusive cocktail reception which will be a gathering of cutting edge startups with active VCs, Private Investors, Corporate VCs and Strategic Service Firms. This unique forum will feature Entrepreneur & Investor Face 2 Face “speed pitch” meetings, a VC panel discussion as well as high-level networking opportunities. And the investor world is pretty well represented here. For more information and to register: http://www.youngstartup.com/VCO12/overview.php

Heads up, Australia and NZ:UK Trade and Investment Go UK business competition with over 100k in prizes, deadline February 17th. For more information: http://bit.ly/w3rBWk. To enter: http://bit.ly/AvYVfZ

DEMO Spring 2012, application deadline February 17th.  DEMO Spring 2012, the launchpad for emerging technology and trends, is returning to Silicon Valley April 17-19, 2012 and we have many exciting new reasons to attend and launch!  www.demo.com
DEMO Innovation Tour- Announcing Dates/Locations:
DEMO comes to Palo Alto, Boulder, Boston and Austin in February and March in search of the best innovation to showcase at DEMO Spring 2012, April 17-19, Hyatt Regency Silicon Valley. Apply today for a meeting spot and you or your client will have an opportunity to meet with Matt Marshall, DEMO Executive Producer, members from the DEMO and VCs to get candid feedback on your pitch and make investment connections.
DEMO and Foundry Group – February 8, 2012- Boulder, CO
DEMO Meet-up- February 8, 2012 in Boulder, CO at T-Zero Lounge, 6-8 p.m.
DEMO and Kleiner Perkins- February 9, 2012- Palo Alto, CA
DEMO and Atlas Venture- February 14, 2012- Boston, MA
DEMO and SXSW- March 11, 2012- Austin, TX

DEMO Innovation Tour- www.demo.com/innovationtour
No Barrier to Entry: Apply to Launch or Pitch at DEMO Spring 2012 and take advantage of our new pricing and scholarship program opportunities. Application Deadline: February 17, 2012.Over the next few months, we’ll be in touch with conference updates, speakers and more! To apply to Launch or Register to Attend: www.demo.com

NEW MassChallenge, applications open March 1st. Deadline April 11th. This is the largest-ever startup accelerator and competition, and the first to support high-impact, early-stage entrepreneurs with no strongs attached.
3 month accelerator program. World-class mentorship and training, free office space, access to funding, media and more.
$1M in cash awards. $4M+ in-kind support.
Open to all. Any startup can enter, from anywhere, in any industry.
No equity taken. No restrictions applied.
$1M in cash awards. $4M+ in-kind support.
Open to all. Any startup can enter, from anywhere, in any industry.
For more information and to apply: http://masschallenge.org/

NEW angelHack National Hackathon on March 3-5th, deadline February 20th  Big News. The AngelHack national hackathon has arrived and they are giving free tickets to members of developers in this newsletter! There is over $75,000 in prizes to be won, including trips to San Francisco, Cash, and meeting’s with top investors like 500 Startups’ Dave McClure, AngelList’s Naval Ravikant, and AngelPad’s Thomas Korte.   Over 500 people have already signed up. One caveat…angleHack currently only takes place in San Francisco and Boston. But there’s good news! You can bus over with 150 other hackers leaving from General Assembly on March 2nd. Round trip tickets (along with food / drinks for 3 days) run less then $20 with your discount code below. Read on.
Prizes Include:
Top teams:  Meals with investors, startup documents, hosting credits
1 st  Place College West Coast:  $1000 or flights to  San Francisco and lodging at  TheGlint Mansion  (max 3) compliments of Summer@highland
1 st, 2nd, 3rd  Boston Teams:  Advancement to 2nd round of MassChallenge (live demo)
1 st  Place Gaming:  Acceptance into Yetizen Gaming Accelerator (avg. graduate raises $500k)
1 st  Place Social Impact:  Advanced Acceptance to Hub Ventures and funding (conditions apply)
And tickets and airfare to Startup Workaway Thailand, along with $50,000 in API prizes
100% off if you’re Boston-based –http://angelhackbo2.eventbrite.com/
80% off New York-based – http://angelhacknyc2.eventbrite.com/
Code for both is Bonnie – and good until February 20th.

Vimeo Festival and Awards, deadline February 20th. Category Prizes: $5,000 (there are quite a few). Grand Prize: $25,000. For more information and to enter: https://vimeo.com/awards

NEW   Nextperience Labs is a Buenos Aires-based accelerator seed fund and the #1 accelerator in Latin America, deadline February 21st. .We seek to invest and provide hands-on support and community to entrepreneurs with passion for starting up and growing their companies.  Lenght of program: 4 months in Buenos Aires. Equity stake taken / Investment : 5-10% / $10,000 per startup, plus $5,000 per founder.For more information and to apply: http://nxtplabs.net/

DreamIt Israel, deadline February 22nd. DreamIt is only interested in ideas that can turn into a product in three months. DreamIt Ventures will take a 6% passive equity stake in the companies in exchange for up to $25,000 in funding, mentorship, and access to early-stage capital. For more information and to apply:  http://www.dreamitventures.com/apply/ There’s also a piece on the program in the press section below.

Win a VIP Trip to SXSW, deadline February 24th. Yeah, thought you’d like this one: http://bit.ly/wTXVdT

LeanStartupMachine, February 22-24th, SOS discount 10offpartner. For more information and to register: http://bit.ly/xdwuf7

NEW Angel Investment Network Pitching Event, London, February 29th. These are a great opportunity for you to meet investors, discuss your business and hopefully take some steps towards getting the funding your company needs. This is similar to a trade fair. No scary pitches – just chat to investors at your table. We will include a synopsis of your company in the event brochure and investors who are interested in your proposal summary can come and discuss your proposal face to face. This will give them the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about your project. For more information and to attend: http://bit.ly/dNVrng

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards, deadline March 13th. It’s an international business plan competition for women entrepreneurs who are in the initial stages of development, in any country, of any nationality and operating in any industry. Since its inception five years ago, it has provided support, visibility and coaching to 76 women heading businesses in countries across the globe. There’s mentorship, $20k US and a trip to France for the presentation Finale. For more information and to apply: http://www.cartierwomensinitiative.com/

Applications for the DreamIt NYC Summer 2012 program are now open.  Final deadline: March 16th, but note: there is a definite advantage to applying early, as it results in the application getting  more attention (and possibly early admittance).
-the program runs from May-August 2012 in NYC
-accepted companies get seed money (typically $20-25,000), office space, free legal and accounting services, and access to a who’s who list of advisors and mentors (http://www.dreamitventures.com/team/advisors.php)
For more information and to apply: http://www.dreamitventures.com/apply/.

The Appy Awards – enter once and you could win twice. Deadline March 21, but any entry you submit today may also be selected as our “Featured App of the Week“, scoring you some seriously instant gratification. And we doesn’t love that? For more information and to enter – any time – http://appyawards.net/

NEW Crain’s New York Business is now accepting nominations for its annual Top Entrepreneurs competition, deadline March 23rd.  It is open to businesses located in the five boroughs of New York City. Businesses must be 3 years old or more to enter and can have revenues up to $100 million. You can enter and get more information here:http://bit.ly/AdFq9t Winners will be featured in the May 29 issue of Crain’s. You can enter yourself or nominate someone else. Contact: Elaine Pofeldt,epofeldt@yahoo.com

NEW ERA is now accepting applications for Summer 2012! Application deadline: April 29th To apply: http://eranyc.com/apply/

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For you edification this week:

The End of the Mexican Road. From Mark Suster: Negotiations. We all think we’re good at them. Most people aren’t that good. And do you really need that blanket, after all? http://bit.ly/yxYtzB

Understanding Kickstarter, from Fred Wilson’s blog and yes, he is an investors. That said, as one said in the comments, “The era of the empowered individual creating wealth is upon us, and kickstarter is one of a growing few forging the way.” http://bit.ly/wfjZ6n

 JACK DORSEY: I’m Proud Of All We Decided Not To Do. Dorsey’s tweet on Square’s 3rd annivesary is a pertinent reminder that sometimes the most important choices are the choices where we decide not to do something: http://read.bi/w7U9yd

Which is less expensive: Amazon or self-hosted? The cloud is out there, but is it for everyone and all things? http://bit.ly/xtnyZb

Speaking of reinventing the wheel… Trends: Follow or flee? How much should you care about trends? Are they worth following – or striking off on your own path? http://bit.ly/z9dBRJ

Derisking Buckets: How to identify and deal with investor hesitations. All startups are risky, let’s face it. So, here are the risks, all spelled out – and hopefully it’ll come in handy as you’re crafting your next investor pitch: http://bit.ly/yzZOE7

What Makes An Awesome Board Member. We all need them, but how do you determine who is the right one? Well, here’s a checklist to make it just that much easier. Hopefully: http://bit.ly/yvbxm2

Rising Role for Angel Investors. A study finds that outside the U.S., these seed-funding contributors are outspending VCs: http://bit.ly/xX23yB

Five Myths About Venture Capital. Speaks for itself: http://vc-brazil.com/blog/

Finally, for your amusement this week, the Verizon 3G/4G network ‘explained,’ courtesy of SNL: http://bit.ly/wkV1s7 That’s it from us for now and hope to see you at breakfast on Thursday: http://erasosbreakfast1.eventbrite.com/ Until then, enjoy your Valentine’s Day and as always, help is on the way…

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