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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. 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.

Why Your Startup Doesn’t Need a COO It’s very common for startup companies to have COO’s. So I know I’m getting myself into a bit of trouble by writing this. But … Startups don’t need – shouldn’t have – COOs. I have this conversation with every startup that comes to see me and has a CEO & a COO. How to Get Startup Ideas November 2012 The way to get startup ideas is not to try to think of startup ideas. It's to look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. Why Startups Condense in America May 2006 (This essay is derived from a keynote at Xtech.) Startups happen in clusters. Rollovers For Business Startup 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.

Phase two: Prototype the product - May. 24, 2006 Finally the rubber meets the road, as you stake out your intellectual property and assemble the demo that will help you sell your idea. A prototype is where the rubber starts to hit the road: It's the first physical embodiment of your business idea, and a tool you'll use to attract the resources you need to grow. Don't confuse a prototype with the final product - a distracting and potentially fatal mistake. Pretty looks aren't important. A good prototype is just a working demonstration that showcases what your product will do. To develop one, you'll need spec-document software, like Omni Outliner or Microsoft (Research) Visio; a development server -- you can lease one for $300 a month from a Web hosting company like ServerBeach; collaboration tools like Basecamp's Web-based application, and a VOIP calling service like Skype.

Further Thoughts on Startup Operations I recently wrote a post about why I didn’t think early-stage startups should have COOs. I expected it to be controversial and it was. To be clear, I said that most companies I see pitching have COOs & I don’t have a rule against it. 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.

How to Get Press How to Get Press I was just featured on StartCon, where I talked about the many ways to get press — and there are many in the digital era! I got quite the welcome, being cited as the third marketing influencer in the world according to Entrepreneur magazine. 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. Mike McCue Longtime Silicon Valley entrepreneur Mike McCue founded Flipboard in early 2010, with former Apple iPhone engineer Evan Doll. Together they set out to build a global service that would let people make all of their news, photos, and videos from across social networks accessible from a single place. In July 2010, they launched Flipboard for iPad: a social magazine that brings people the most informative, entertaining and amazing stories from around the world and from their daily life. With each flip, people can learn about stories and events that take place thousands of miles away or right at home; see life’s great moments in one place; and be inspired by what others share.

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