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Startup-ecosystem-infographic.png (PNG Image, 1000 × 6243 pixels) Which is less expensive: Amazon or self-hosted? Updated.

Which is less expensive: Amazon or self-hosted?

Amazon Web Services (AWS), as the trailblazing provider of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), has changed the dialog about computing infrastructure. Today, instead of simply assuming that you’ll be buying and operating your own servers, storage and networking, AWS is always an option to consider, and for many new businesses, it’s simply the default choice. I’m a huge fan of cloud computing in general and AWS in particular. But I’ve long had an instinct that the economics of the choice between self-hosted and cloud provider had more texture to it than the patently attractive sounding “10 cents an hour,” particularly as a function of demand distribution. As a case in point, Zynga has made it known that for economic reasons, they now use their own infrastructure for baseline loads and use Amazon for peaks and variable loads surrounding new game introductions. How to Crowdfund Your Next Big Idea. Scott Steinberg is a small business expert, professional keynote speaker, noted strategic consultant, and creator of The Business Expert’s Guidebook series and video show Business Expert: Small Business Tips, Trends and Advice.

How to Crowdfund Your Next Big Idea

Entrepreneurs and startups can download and share free guides, tip sheets and inside advice from his website. Cult favorite video game developer Double Fine recently shocked investors by raising over $1 million in 24 hours on Kickstarter for its new adventure game, despite the genre’s supposed death. This has led critics to speculate that crowdsourcing isn’t just the hottest new thing to happen to startups and small business owners since Apple’s App Store; it may also present tomorrow’s most promising new source of venture capital and angel investment. From both research and ROI perspectives, the model makes sense. Validate your startup idea by asking 3 simple questions. Last week, I stumbled across a personal post from a founder on his thoughts after first month of his startup.

Validate your startup idea by asking 3 simple questions

He writes in the post that he hasn’t been satisfied with the traction received so far and wonders whether existing product is the right path to continue on. I had exact same questions when I was starting up Wingify and now that we have seen some traction, I thought I should expand on a comment I made on how to know if your startup idea is the right one.

Look for opportunities rather than ideas. Yesterday, someone emailed me, asking about how to find good ideas to start a startup.

Look for opportunities rather than ideas

Every founder who's been in the game a few years has clouds of potential ideas floating around that they can't find the time to work on. They might not all be good, but there are always too many of them. Startup Secret 39: Go where your users take you. -- Dan Kurani, CEO, Thumb You have a road map?

Startup Secret 39: Go where your users take you

Prepare to rip it up. You can still get to where you're going, but the route might be the scenic one. When Dan Kurani started Opinionaided (now Thumb), the original plan was to get people to ask others for advice on products they were thinking of buying. He saw a nice built-in revenue stream attached to consumer opinions on products (category sponsorships, product ads, etc.), and Dan and his team wanted to focus users on those products so the business model would work out. A classic startup horror story: the M&A bait and switch. The founder was home in his kitchen cooking dinner when the call came.

A classic startup horror story: the M&A bait and switch

It was one of those moments when the color seems to drain out of the food in front of you. The voice on the other line was the contact at the company that has been trying to acquire his small startup for several months. “Our engineers looked at what you showed us during the due diligence and told our CEO, ‘It doesn’t look so hard, we can build it ourselves.’” Red flags in emails to angel investors. I've written before about how the very first email to an angel investor really matters, or at least to this angel investor.

Red flags in emails to angel investors

It's very easy to get thrown in a bucket of wannabes or bad first-timers. Here are a few of those red flags from my perspective. Sending an email through a service. My email is really easy to find. Killing Your Startup By Listening to Customers. The art of entrepreneurship and the science of Customer Development is not just getting out of the building and listening to prospective customers.

Killing Your Startup By Listening to Customers

It’s understanding who to listen to and why. Five Cups of CoffeeI got a call from Satish, one of my ex-students last week. He got my attention when he said, “following your customer development stuff is making my company fail.” The 6 Near-Fatal Mistakes We Made In Year One, And How We Built A Company Anyway. Launching a startup is like firing off a rocket ship, then trying to hold it together with duct tape.

The 6 Near-Fatal Mistakes We Made In Year One, And How We Built A Company Anyway

Simply surviving feels like success. The goal, in fact, of most new enterprises is to hang in until a scalable, repeatable, or comfortable path is found. Celebrated entrepreneur and investor Marc Andreessen calls this “product/market” fit. In our quest for escape velocity, my startup, Contently, nearly exploded on a dozen occasions. In 12 months, we validated an idea, built a repeatable business model, and talked investors into giving us $2 million to grow it. Richard Branson on Decision-Making For Entrepreneurs. Editor's Note: Entrepreneur Richard Branson regularly shares his business experience and advice with readers.

Richard Branson on Decision-Making For Entrepreneurs

What follows is the latest edited round of insightful responses. Ask him a question and your query might be the inspiration for a future column. Q: What were your most important managerial decisions -- the ones that changed your business? -- Volodymyr Kravchuk, Kiev, Ukraine. Schumpeter: Enterprising oldies. 14 Books on Leadership Every Young Entrepreneur Should Read. There are a great many business books out there on everything from marketing and brand building to stories of the life and times of some great business person.

For better or for worse, these books often shape the past, present and future generations of entrepreneurs. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invitation-only nonprofit organization comprised of the country’s most promising young entrepreneurs, this question: “What business book do you recommend for improving management leadership?” Raising funding as a first-time founder. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet with some outstanding first-time entrepreneurs on a few different days during this week. In almost every case I can really feel the passion and determination they have, and I know that if they will just continue there is every chance that eventually they will be very successful. One interesting topic which came up on a couple of different occasions was timing of raising funding as a first time founder.

I’ve had entrepreneurs often talk to me with just an idea or a very early prototype with no traction and tell me that they want to raise funding. AngelList Takes A Shot At Standardizing The Startup Pitch Deck. If you’re a new entrepreneur or an angel investor and you haven’t heard of AngelList, it’s time to get a clue. The hybrid social network, communication and crowdsourcing tool is designed to connect first-time entrepreneurs with angel investors.

It’s “easily the most important innovation in the industry,” as 500 Startups’ Dave McClure commented in response to our coverage last month of AngelList’s 2011 Yearbook. Conscious Startups. The state of tech entrepreneurship is broken. People are burning out by working way too hard.The venture capital model pushes startups to an exit, yet most acquisitions end up as failures for the original idea, vision, product, and effort of the people involved.The interests of the founders and investors are usually not alignedFar too much emphasis on the money and the exit, rather than on making something customers will love, and doing something truly meaningful What would happen if we brought more consciousness to the game? What if the vision and the inspiration for the company came, not from the left brain, but from our intuition, the heart, our higher consciousness, our soul?

What if we had the courage to uncover and express the company’s soul? What if the company expressed its soul in its products, its marketing, its customer service, in recruiting, finances, legal, IT? Conscious Startups. We believe in a purpose beyond making a profit We believe the purpose of a business is to make positive change in the world. And just as humans must eat to live, a business must profit to sustain itself.