Several times a year a group of executives from startups do a six-minute demo of their products to an audience of venture capitalists, analysts, and journalists. This name of the event is, logically, DEMO. It’s a great occasion—especially if you understand the dance that’s going on: Entrepreneurs acting as if they don’t need venture capital, [...]
More "stock photos." This time from the Social Media Marketing World conference in San Diego, California.
I’ve joined the board of trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. This entity is the parent organization of all the “Wiki” projects such as Wikipedia and other free-knowledge projects. […]
Some aspiring entrepreneurs are already working for a big company. Like external entrepreneurs, they dream of creating innovative products. They, too, must prototype, position, pitch, bootstrap, recruit, fund, partner, sell, and support. The purpose of this minichapter is to explain how to do all this when you’re employed by a large business. […]
Entrepreneurs face hundreds of decisions when they start a company, and there’s often a temptation to optimize each one of them—sometimes by breaking new ground. However, it’s best to focus one’s energy and attention on milestone issues. My experience and expertise is with US companies, but these are generally accepted startup practices: […]
Awestruck by the Vince-Vaughn series of stock photos, I was inspired to try my hand at this at SXSW. I'm not sure they're worth buying, but we sure had fun doing this--as the last few pictures show!
Since SXSW my first reaction when I see something worth sharing is to meercast it. I love Meerkat’s ease of use, immediacy, and visual feedback of seeing who’s watching and reading their comments. The gratification of meercasting is amazingly high. I have a couple of concerns about Meerkat. First, for the widespread adoption of Meerkat [...]
When I started working at Apple in 1986 I was afraid of public speaking—for one thing, working for the division run by Steve Jobs was intimidating: “How could I possibly measure up to Steve?” But if you want to succeed as an evangelist and CEO, you must learn how to make speeches. […]
Forget “I think, therefore I am.” For entrepreneurs, the operative phrase is, “I pitch, therefore I am.” Pitching isn’t only for raising money—it’s for reaching agreement, and agreement can yield many good outcomes including sales, partnerships, and new hires. Here are the key elements of a great pitch. […]
I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc. […]
There is a myth that successful companies begin with grandiose ambitions. The implication is that entrepreneurs should start with megalomaniac goals in order to succeed. To the contrary, my observation is that great companies began by wondering about simple things, and this leads to asking simple questions that beget companies: […]
This is a guest post by Ben Parr, the author of Captivology. You probably deal with attention issues every day. How do I get the attention of new customers? How do I retain the attention of existing clients? How do I captivate my boss or my upcoming date? It’s a hard problem to solve, especially [...]
When I was a venture capitalist, I noticed that entrepreneurs whose primary goal was to make money usually failed. This is because this kind of entrepreneur attracts other people who want to make money, and then when the company doesn’t pay out big bucks immediately (and no startup does), these folks look for greener pastures. [...]
A good business model forces you to answer two simple questions: “Who has your money in their pockets?” And “How are you going to get it into your pocket?” These questions may lack subtlety, but making money isn’t a subtle process. More elegantly stated, the first question involves identifying your customer and the need that [...]
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Interesting story of how Alicia Shaffer sells $1 million of fashion items via her Etsy shop. It’s fantastic that Etsy has created a market like this–democratizing commerce and crafts! http://www.fastcodesign.com/3042352/how-one-knitter-makes-almost-1-million-a-year-on-etsy There is some controversy about whether her products are handcrafted “enough,” but there are marketing lessons to learn from her success, nonetheless!
As I write this, I’m just past the big 6O. Here’s some advice based on thirty-eight more years of living than you have. I don’t expect you to believe everything I say–when I was twenty-two I wouldn’t listen to someone this old, but maybe some of this will resonate with you: […]
People love the notion of the sole innovator, but this notion is wrong. Successful companies are usually started, and become successful, with the contributions of at least two people. Yin and yang, maker and seller, dreamer and pragmatist — call it what you will. After the fact, people may recognize one founder as the innovator, [...]