Startup

Ok, so how do you turn your mind into the type that startup ideas form in unconsciously? (1) Learn a lot about things that matter, then (2) work on problems that interest you (3) with people you like and respect. The third part, incidentally, is how you get cofounders at the same time as the idea.

Paul Graham in “Before the startup
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There’s nary a video in sight, and — at the risking of sounding like a complete fool given its huge acquisition price — I find Mint’s 20+ pages outlining its feature set and why people should use the service to be positively daunting. Twitter’s page doesn’t include a video (though I think it badly needs one). And Facebook just says that it’s a service that “helps you connect and share with the people in your life”, which would set my bullshit meter off the charts if it appeared in any startup pitch.

Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch talking about the underutilized power of a video demo

Don’t boil the ocean

I’m currently reading The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki – guess why – and I definitely recommend it to anyone starting anything. One of the main messages he tries to get between the eyes is that “thou shall niche thyself” – meaning: don’t try to be everything for everybody because you’ll end up stuck in the middle.

These exact same words resonated through Scoble’s take on the relaunch of Technorati today:

“The most interesting things on the Internet are done by small teams. Not “boil the ocean and try to kill Google” teams.”

I think he is spot on and the examples he gives are good illustrations of his point. Let’s see how the “Live-web search engine” positioning of Technorati plays out against Microsoft and Google.

“For entrepreneurs working at big co is not good” – duh

Apparently, a number of founders from ventures acquired by Google are leaving the Googleplex: 

“Like DodgeBall, Blogger team members and dMarc founders left GooglePlex, preferring to follow their own internal algorithm instead of working for Google. It seems like a trend: for entrepreneurs who sellout to Google, Google money is good, but working for Google, not so good!”

Isn’t that almost always the case for entrepreneurs who decide to sellout? They innovate, the acquirer is good at scaling. Sometimes the acquisition is about the people, sometimes about the systems, sometimes just to kill a competitor, etc. What’s new? With dMarc it was about the systems, apparently, as we can read in the NYT today:

“Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, said last year that he planned to eventually have 1,000 employees working in the company’s radio unit. Google paid as much as $1.24 billion to acquire dMarc Broadcasting early last year, and used that company’s systems to expand its AdSense for Audio sales system to include radio capabilities.”