Article Excerpt This week, Hewlett-Packard (where I am on the board) announced that it is exploring jettisoning its struggling PC business in favor of investing more heavily in software, where it sees better potential for growth. Meanwhile, Google plans to buy up the cellphone handset maker Motorola Mobility. Both moves surprised the tech world. But both moves are also in line with a trend I've observed, one that makes me optimistic about the future growth of the American and world economies, despite the recent turmoil in the stock market.
Last year, we covered an ambitious collaborative R&D project called “Startup Genome,” created by three young entrepreneurs, Bjoern Herrmann, Max Marmer, and Ertan Dogrultan. The goal of the ongoing project was (and is) to take a comprehensive, data-driven dive into what makes tech startups successful — and not so successful. Out of its research came, among other things, Startup Compass : A free benchmarking tool that leverages its data to allow entrepreneurs to evaluate their progress compared to other startups in their space. The product’s overarching goal is to allow founders to make more informed product and business decisions by “utilizing a data-driven feedback loop,” according to its mission statement.
Today’s guest contributor is former Wall Street Journal and Fortune writer, Erik Calonius . Erik collaborated with Dan Ariely on Predictably Irrational and he has a new book out from Penguin Portfolio, Ten Steps Ahead: What Separates Successful Business Visionaries from the Rest of Us. A few years ago I was standing in the garage where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer.
It’s tough being a journalist, especially if you’re covering technology and living in Silicon Valley, because it seems as if everyone around you is getting fabulously rich while you’re stuck in a job that will never, ever make you wealthy. What’s worse is that all these people who are getting rich don’t seem to be any brighter than you are and in fact many of them don’t seem very bright at all. So of course you get jealous. And then you start thinking maybe you could find a way to cash in on this gold rush. But how do you make gobs of money when your only marketable skill involves writing blog posts? This is the conundrum, but lately I’ve been thinking of a business plan that sounds like it could work.
Diana Gong is only 17 years old, but already she’s had experience creating a mobile app, writing a business plan, and pitching it to venture capitalists. Now she’s working with application developers at LinkedIn to turn a prototype of a mobile phone app into a working product. Gong and four other high school girls won a competition last year called the Technovation Challenge, which encourages girls to become tech entrepreneurs. Their winning entry was an Android app they created called IOU, which lets students lend items such as clothes and books to friends and keep track of them. “It’s really different when you’re working on a project outside of school that has real purpose and requires you to really think and innovate,” says Gong, a junior at Mountain View High School in California.
Posted by Tom Foremski - February 3, 2012 In San Francisco cafes and bars, even on the street, I overhear people talking about their startup ideas, business plans, and goals. And there are tons of incubators, Angels, wannabe Angels, VC firms, making investments in startups. And there's lots of money being made, especially among the Super Angels, the incubators such as Y Combinator, the micro-VCs, and people such as Jeff Clavier, Dave McClure, who have made fortunes selling startups to larger companies. Sometimes startup teams can go from seed to exit in under a year. For the investors, making dozens of $10K to $25K seed investments, can be tremendously lucrative.