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Today |™ Why Startups Condense in America May 2006 (This essay is derived from a keynote at Xtech.) Startups happen in clusters. I've claimed that the recipe is a great university near a town smart people like. It is by no means a lost cause to try to create a silicon valley in another country. 1. For example, I doubt it would be possible to reproduce Silicon Valley in Japan, because one of Silicon Valley's most distinctive features is immigration. A silicon valley has to be a mecca for the smart and the ambitious, and you can't have a mecca if you don't let people into it. Of course, it's not saying much that America is more open to immigration than Japan. 2. I could see India one day producing a rival to Silicon Valley. In poor countries, things we take for granted are missing. The US has never been so poor as some countries are now. I suspect there is some speed limit to the evolution of an economy. 3. Another country I could see wanting to have a silicon valley is China. Singapore would face a similar problem. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

How to Apply to Y Combinator Twice a year Y Combinator takes applications for funding. I thought it might help applicants if I explained what we look for when we read them. Probably the biggest thing people don’t understand about the process is the importance of expressing yourself clearly. Every year we get some applications that are obviously good, some that are obviously bad, and in the middle a huge number where we just can’t tell. The idea seems kind of promising, but it’s not explained well enough for us to understand it. I suspect for every group we invite to interviews, there are one or two more that are just as good but that we pass over because they don’t manage to convey how good they are. If we get 1000 applications and have 10 days to read them, we have to read about 100 a day. All the YC partners read applications. The first thing I notice when I look at an application is the username it was submitted under. The other YC partners are less influenced by this, because they don’t read HN as much.

Quantum Bayesian Networks TechCrunch How to save money running a startup (17 really good tips) « The NOTE: I’m no longer blogging, but rather sending my thoughts, advice and insider information to my friends via email. If you would like to get my thoughts by email visit to signup. [ UPDATE: This post caused some big debate over at TechCrunch. I respond here with the blog post titled "can you work at a startup and have a life?" I updated #11 to make my point a little less harsh, more true to my true feelings ] The HowTo team at Mahalo has been an amazing surprise effort. I’ve got a bunch of tips on how to do this for business. Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT departmentBuy second monitors for everyone, they will save at least 30 minutes a day, which is 100 hours a year… which is at least $2,000 a year…. which is $6,000 over three years. Get an expensive, automatic espresso machine at the office. Anyone else have startup money saving tips? Peter Rojas of RCRDLBL: You probably don’t need to rent an office, at least not at first.

The Venture Capital Aptitude Test (VCAT If you want additional proof that we’re in a bubble, here it is: young people are trying to get into the venture capital business again. I get several emails a week along these lines: I’m about to graduate from college where I majored in economics. I’ve always been interested [what does “always” mean for a twenty-something year old, but I digress…] in business and entrepreneurship and ran my school’s entrepreneurship club. I’ve been working as an analyst for Goldman, Sachs, and now I’d like to get into the venture capital business to further my understanding of entrepreneurship and to help startups achieve success by tapping into my knowledge base. They see a wonderful job: going to cocktail parties and networking events, flying in private jets, and getting sucked up to by entrepreneurs while pulling down a base salary of $500,000/year plus a piece of the upside of selling a YouTube for $1.6 billion. Venture capital is something to do at the end of your career, not the beginning.

401k business financing | Rollovers For Business Startup | Guidant Financial Invest your retirement funds into the business of your dreams using a Rollover for Business Start-up arrangement. For over a decade, our 401(k) business financing service has helped entrepreneurs fund small businesses and franchises. Through an arrangement called Rollovers for Business Start-ups (ROBS), you can invest your funds from an eligible retirement account into a small business or franchise without taking a taxable distribution or getting a loan. Whether you want to buy an existing business, start one from scratch or grow one you currently have, ROBS could provide a significant part of your capital injection. It’s simple and easy Guidant’s team of experts has helped more than 10,000 entrepreneurs invest $3 billion in retirement assets into small businesses and franchises. Most plans qualify 401(k)403(b)Traditional IRA Features A Quicker Path to Profitability Starting your business debt-free will lower your overhead and eliminate risking your home equity. Tax-deferred Savings

Good and Bad Procrastination December 2005 The most impressive people I know are all terrible procrastinators. So could it be that procrastination isn't always bad? Most people who write about procrastination write about how to cure it. There are three variants of procrastination, depending on what you do instead of working on something: you could work on (a) nothing, (b) something less important, or (c) something more important. That's the "absent-minded professor," who forgets to shave, or eat, or even perhaps look where he's going while he's thinking about some interesting question. That's the sense in which the most impressive people I know are all procrastinators. What's "small stuff?" Good procrastination is avoiding errands to do real work. Good in a sense, at least. Some errands, like replying to letters, go away if you ignore them (perhaps taking friends with them). The reason it pays to put off even those errands is that real work needs two things errands don't: big chunks of time, and the right mood.

Eyes Wiid Open Cork desk light, made from hand-turned agglomerated cork, aluminium, mild steel, nickel-plated brass fittings and high quality imported LED's WORDS: Remy Raitt | PHOTOS: Henrique Wilding Twenty-four-year-old Laurie Wiid van Heerden is creating design items that rival international offerings. Under his label Wiid Design, the young buck aims to create eco-efficient design with a global aesthetic. “I studied product design at Cape Tech but didn’t finish. From there he was employed by Bronze Age Art Foundry where he worked with some of his creative heroes including Trevyn McGowan, Cécile and Boyd, Graham Viney, William Kentridge and Wim Botha – whom he still assists. At the Foundry, Laurie developed an understanding for a range of materials, as evident in his body of work which makes use of porcelain, wood, cork, felt, paper pulp and metal. At the moment, cork is Laurie’s material of choice. This wouldn’t be Laurie’s first exhibition. Other articles that may interest you 0 Comments Add a comment

How to Start a Startup March 2005 (This essay is derived from a talk at the Harvard Computer Society.) You need three things to create a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible. Most startups that fail do it because they fail at one of these. A startup that does all three will probably succeed. And that's kind of exciting, when you think about it, because all three are doable. If there is one message I'd like to get across about startups, that's it. The Idea In particular, you don't need a brilliant idea to start a startup around. Google's plan, for example, was simply to create a search site that didn't suck. There are plenty of other areas that are just as backward as search was before Google. For example, dating sites currently suck far worse than search did before Google. An idea for a startup, however, is only a beginning. What matters is not ideas, but the people who have them. People What do I mean by good people?

What Business Can Learn from Open Source August 2005 (This essay is derived from a talk at Oscon 2005.) Lately companies have been paying more attention to open source. Ten years ago there seemed a real danger Microsoft would extend its monopoly to servers. More significant, I think, is which 52% they are. But the biggest thing business has to learn from open source is not about Linux or Firefox, but about the forces that produced them. We may be able to get a fix on these underlying forces by triangulating from open source and blogging. Like open source, blogging is something people do themselves, for free, because they enjoy it. Another thing blogging and open source have in common is the Web. Amateurs I think the most important of the new principles business has to learn is that people work a lot harder on stuff they like. Business still reflects an older model, exemplified by the French word for working: travailler. This turns out not to be the last word on work, however. It's not that Microsoft isn't trying. Workplaces Notes

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