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Startup = Growth

Startup = Growth
September 2012 A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of "exit." The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth. If you want to start one it's important to understand that. Redwoods Let's start with a distinction that should be obvious but is often overlooked: not every newly founded company is a startup. When I say startups are designed to grow fast, I mean it in two senses. That difference is why there's a distinct word, "startup," for companies designed to grow fast. To grow rapidly, you need to make something you can sell to a big market. For a company to grow really big, it must (a) make something lots of people want, and (b) reach and serve all those people. Writing software is a great way to solve (b), but you can still end up constrained in (a). Ideas Rate Value

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The ‘Facebook Class’ Built Apps, and Fortunes Photo STANFORD, Calif. ALL right, class, here’s your homework assignment: Devise an app. Get people to use it. Repeat. Why Companies are Not Startups In the last few years we’ve recognized that a startup is not a smaller version of a large company. We’re now learning that companies are not larger versions of startups. There’s been lots written about how companies need to be more innovative, but very little on what stops them from doing so. Companies looking to be innovative face a conundrum: Every policy and procedure that makes them efficient execution machines stifles innovation. This first post will describe some of the structural problems companies have; follow-on posts will offer some solutions.

Dave Ramsey built empire by bucking the system When Sarah, a 28-year-old Atlanta woman, found out that her parents had forged her signature to receive a student loan, she called someone she trusted for advice on how to clear her name. “Is there any way I can get my name taken off of this?” Sarah asked. I'm Launching 12 Startups in 12 Months I liked the idea of Jennifer Dewalt’s 180 websites in 180 days. However, unlike Jennifer who learned web development from scratch, I can already build stuff. My challenge is to actually finish and launch my projects.

How to write a killer deck, and get funded Immad Akhund is the CEO and co-founder of Heyzap, the leading Social Games distribution platform beyond Facebook. Heyzap has raised $3.5 million to date and is Immad’s third Startup, He will be writing a series of articles for Lessons Learned. I have advised a number of Web companies on their way to raise money. I am often mentally ‘face-palming’ as they stagger through their initial pitch. Helping entrepreneurs is something I am passionate about.

Rate-of-learning: the most valuable startup compensation The frothiness of today’s environment in Silicon Valley makes it easy to get sucked into a warped sense of reality. Valuations are high, capital is cheap, housing prices are skyrocketing, and RSUs are flowing like wine. Talk of another “bubble” is rebuffed, even by those who were scarred by the Dot-com collapse of 2000. Some argue we’ve exited the installation phase of technology—which was still sputtering along at the dawn of the new millennium—and have entered what Carlota Perez calls the ‘deployment phase’ of technology.

The unprofitable SaaS business model trap – @ASmartBear - WP Engine Marketo filed for IPO with impressive 80% year-over-year growth in 2012, with almost $60m in revenue. Except, they lost $35m. WTF? It’s not impressive when you spend $1.60 for every $1.00 of revenue, force-feeding sales pipelines with an unprofitable product. Don't Be A Free User (Pinboard Blog) Don't Be A Free User These projects are all very different, but the dynamic is the same. Someone builds a cool, free product, it gets popular, and that popularity attracts a buyer. The new owner shuts the product down and the founders issue a glowing press release about how excited they are about synergies going forward. They are never heard from again. Whether or not this is done in good faith, in practice this kind of 'exit event' is a pump-and-dump scheme.

Ten Rules for Web Startups #1: Be NarrowFocus on the smallest possible problem you could solve that would potentially be useful. Most companies start out trying to do too many things, which makes life difficult and turns you into a me-too. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: With much less work, you can be the best at what you do. Small things, like a microscopic world, almost always turn out to be bigger than you think when you zoom in.

Business Basics - Equity: Dividing the Pie Email: I'd rather have a small piece of a big pie than a large piece of nothing! (M. Mark Cuban from begin Famous in the NBA for his zealous management of the Dallas Mavericks, entrepreneur Mark Cuban has also owned multiple Internet startups and a theater chain. Synopsis Born in Pittsburgh in 1958, entrepreneur Mark Cuban has ventured into many diverse businesses, from theater chains to Internet startups. In 1990, Cuban sold the firm CompuServe for $6 million, one of his largest early business ventures. He is most famous, however for for his zealous management of the Dallas Mavericks, which he purchased from Ross Perot, Jr. in 2000. In addition to his wise business decisions, Cuban is also known for his controversial and statements.

On self-funding startups With funded startups often founders get into business purely because there’s a big opportunity. Some growing market in need of a solution. Or perhaps a model is copied from a successful startup in a foreign market, and executed in a home market. Personally I can’t imagine working on a problem that I am less than fanatical about solving. I can’t imagine coming into work every day trying to solve a problem that is alien to me just because of a potential pot of gold waiting somewhere. That’s not why I’m running a business.