Notes on Entrepreneurship

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How early should you connect to a VC? Here's some data. How long does it take from first meeting a VC to getting cash in the bank?

How early should you connect to a VC? Here's some data.

That's an interesting question. Theoretically, someone could meet you, sign your document, and write you a check for deposit that day, but that's not how it usually works. It's also not the best way to create a helpful syndicate of investors that share the founder's vision for the company. Examining the actual data not only gives me some insight into my close process, but it helps me calibrate around relationship building. Steve Blank’s SLL Keynote – It’s a “Must Watch” Watch live video from Startup Lessons Learned on Justin.tv Some of my favorite quote are: Role of the Entrepreneur Your job as an entrepreneur in a startup is to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

Steve Blank’s SLL Keynote – It’s a “Must Watch”

When you find it, your job is to build a company around that business model.Search for a business model rather than write a business plan. Writing a Business Plan. Writing a Business Plan At Sequoia we like business plans that present a lot of information in as few words as possible.

Writing a Business Plan

The following business plan format, within 15–20 slides, is all that’s needed... Is Your Business Too Sexy to Be Successful? The Wall Street Journal survey of the top 50 VC-backed companies of the year is out.

Is Your Business Too Sexy to Be Successful?

The #1 company is a provider of VOIP technology for telecom companies. The top 3 companies are all providers of business software to technology or telecom companies. Interestingly, the #1 company last year, a provider of healthcare cost information to consumers, is not even in the list this year. Are consumer-oriented technology businesses too sexy to be successful in today’s market? Everyone wants to be the next Facebook or Google, or even the next Instagram or Pinterest – a company that captures the fancy of consumers and has them signing up in large numbers to use the service.

7 Lessons Every Startup Should Know. HELSINKI — If you grab a drink with a startup founder, you'll likely hear a few shared stories, both good and ugly, about lessons learned along the way.

7 Lessons Every Startup Should Know

Getting a company off the ground is no easy task, especially when looking for funding, but learning from your own missteps (and those made by others) could put you on the path to entrepreneurial success. Startups across northern Europe and Russia met in Helsinki this week for tech startup conference Slush to discuss which trends are surging within the space. Some tips to budding companies are simple ("stay focused" and "think ahead") but hearing cautionary tales and words of wisdom could breathe new perspective into your own approach. Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon: Excerpt From ‘The Everything Store’ by Brad Stone. Behind this week’s cover Amazon.com rivals Wal-Mart as a store, Apple as a device maker, and IBM as a data services provider.

Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon: Excerpt From ‘The Everything Store’ by Brad Stone

It will rake in about $75 billion this year. For his book, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone spoke to hundreds of current and former friends of founder Jeff Bezos. In the process, he discovered the poignant story of how Amazon became the Everything Store. Within Amazon.com (AMZN) there’s a certain type of e-mail that elicits waves of panic.

The Dangerous Seduction of the Lifetime Value (LTV) Formula. How to get your first 10 customers. Preface: the assumption for this essay is that you’re building a B2B app, and you have something built but you’re having trouble getting people to pay for it There are three problems with getting your first few customers: You (probably) don’t know how to sell thingsYou don’t know who you’re selling toYou don’t even really know what you’re selling Nobody tells you how to answers these questions, and so most people go out to get initial traction in a haphazard way: They have a vague idea in mind for who wants their productThey’ve already built the product, so they put together a landing page which which, like, totally speaks to the core value propositionThey write some combination of any of the following: A few half-baked ads A few forum posts A few comments on relevant blogs A few blog posts A few cold emails to journalists (because, dude, we would BLOW UP if we could just get ‘Crunched)They send these out into the wild, and (no surprise!)

How to get your first 10 customers

Validation Board - FREE tool for testing startup ideas, stop wasting time and money. 4 Things Most Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common. Starting a business is always risky, and success is never guaranteed.

4 Things Most Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common

Yet, entrepreneurs thrive every day. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach, successful entrepreneurs seem to share several traits that the rest of the pack lacks. 90 Things I've Learned From Founding 4 Technology Companies. On October 27, 2010 I wrote a blog post about the “57 Things I Learned Founding 3 Tech Companies.”

90 Things I've Learned From Founding 4 Technology Companies

It has been awesome, flattering, and humbling to see that post went viral and has been seen by so many thousands of people — mainly aspiring entrepreneurs — and has been translated into many languages. This past week while I was in Tokyo for meetings with potential partners for Fab, I was invited to participate in a panel discussion on startups. (334) Jimmy Wales's answer to Jimmy Wales: What are the things we can do to get Jimmy Wales to talk to us and work on a startup with us if we have awesome startup ideas. Yaron Galai, Outbrain. It becomes apparent moments into our mid-October meeting near New York's Union Square that digital publishing entrepreneur Yaron Galai stares at his biggest critic in the mirror every morning.

Yaron Galai, Outbrain

The guy is a voracious and eclectic reader with a serious "completionist" complex: when he picks up an issue of his favorite magazines Wired or The New Yorker, it is with the intent of reading it cover-to-cover. He browses perpetually for new articles and authors (asking me for my own recommendations), and is a huge fan of Instapaper, the app that lets you bookmark articles from anywhere for reading anywhere on the Web or an e-reader. IA Ventures - Focus, focus, focus: Understanding your value stack. Distraction and diffuse efforts are killers, especially in nascent businesses. Trying to do too much sucks valuable resources from accomplishing the core mission, but is often viewed as being important for “keeping options open” or “controlling one’s destiny.”

The goal of a seed stage company shouldn’t be optionality preservation but laser-focused customer engagement, and to let the market help drive the iterative product development process rather than engineering in a vacuum and trying to solve everyone’s problem. This is the big issue of developing a general platform versus solving an important pain-point through a vertical application. Platforms can have great capabilities, but it is hard to prove the value without specific use cases. This is why UI is so important even in data-driven API-based start-ups, as potential customers need to actually SEE the value, not merely have it depicted in a spreadsheet or on a series of charts.

17 Incubators & Accelerators to Help Launch Your Big Idea. Does your company need a boost? Incubators and accelerators can be a great option for any young company or even idea to get off the ground. These programs offer everything from funding, connections with top investors and mentors and collaborative work environments that can last for a few months to a whole year. Y-Combinator Y Combinator runs two three-month funding cycles a year, one from January through March and one from June through August.

(315) Startups: How to Communicate Traction to Investors - Posts. Elements of a Strong Business Plan. Napkin Think Force yourself to summarize your idea on the back of a cocktail napkin. Don’t submit your plan until you have this level of clarity. The Top 10 VC Firms, According To InvestorRank. Any seasoned investor knows that past performance is not indicative of future returns. That is as true with public stocks as it is with venture capital firms. But if someone were to ask you to rank the top VC firms today based on their probability of success, how would you do it? Remember, looking at past returns won’t help you.

Reading Jeff Bezos. A tech friend gives me shit about being a Jeff Bezos fanboy. I’m unabashedly a fan. His 1997 letter to Amazon shareholders is a blueprint for building a durable franchise in technology. I recently compiled and read all of these letters from 1997-2011. Read together, it’s essentially a 15 year narrative of building long-term value in technology and also a history of the Internet and e-commerce. Here are some random nuggets: There are Only Two Ways to Build a $100 Million Company According to This Canadian Superangel. Preparing To Fire an Executive. THE SCIENCE OF SUCCESS: Forget Self-Esteem. 90 Things I've Learned From Founding 4 Technology Companies. 10 Sobering Lessons Learned After Teaching 88 Struggling Entrepreneurs For 6 Months. Startup Equity For Employees. Fred Wilson. Three Leadership Traits that Never Go Out of Style - Vineet Nayar.

Build. Measure. Learn. Lean Startup SXSW 2012. by Eric Ries (and 4 others) Fab.com: Ready, Set, Reset! How To Create A Minimum Viable Product. Lean Startup Lesson: Test Before you Build. A Personal Note On Behance's Growth, Funding, & Progress on the Behance Team Blog. Watch Eric Ries on "The Lean Startup" BREAKING: You Know That TED Talk You Weren't Supposed To See? Here It Is. An entrepreneur’s most powerful tool: the Pyramid Pitch. The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. How to Deliver a Great Presentation Like Steve Jobs. Startup reporters at TechCrunch, sai, inc, WSJ, NY Times and more. Important Questions Startup Co-Founders Should Ask Each Other. Anatomy of an (un)fundable startup. Rocking Out Your AngelList Profile. Tim Ferriss On How To Start Your Million Dollar Side Business.

Before product-market fit, find passion-market fit. Build a Team that Ships. Reid Hoffman, Permanent Beta and the Startup of You. The Start-Up of You - The Economist Reviews Start-Up of You. You Can’t Know Yourself. So, Create Yourself. Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn - Live Life in Permanent Beta. Ogilvy Notes. Hiphop Lessons on the Game of Business with Ben Horowitz. What They Don't Tell You at Graduation. Class 4 Notes Essay. Beware of MBAs! The business school curriculum teaches how to suck at startups. Startup Founders: Don't Freak Out. If A Big, Awesome Company Wants To Acqui-Hire Your Startup, Say Yes. Acquihires - A Clarification by David Lee. After Two Startup Accelerators, What I Wish Someone Had Told Me.