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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. 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. Why spend years building a better widget when you can instead find and fund tomorrow’s next million-dollar idea simply by asking potential customers? 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

Look for opportunities rather than ideas. 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. The users had different ideas. 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

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. Yet you'd be surprised how many people write me cold messages through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Financial consultants. Founders should send emails to investors. Really long messages. 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

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. 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. 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.

14 Books on Leadership Every Young Entrepreneur Should Read

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. 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. 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?

Conscious Startups. We believe in a purpose beyond making a profit.