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Must-read for founders: A VC explains how to build a killer value proposition. On the surface, value propositions seem incredibly straightforward.

Must-read for founders: A VC explains how to build a killer value proposition

Instagram’s billion dollar idea wasn’t photos after all. I wasn’t alone in almost spilling my coffee mid-drink when I discovered Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion.

Instagram’s billion dollar idea wasn’t photos after all

A billion? [Excerpt] Fundraising: From $1,000 To $1,000,000. Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Onswipe CEO Jason L.

[Excerpt] Fundraising: From $1,000 To $1,000,000

Baptiste’s new book The Ultralight Startup: Launching a Business Without Clout or Capital. To coincide with giving the chapter away, Jason will be choosing one entrepreneur from the TechCrunch audience to meet four of the best venture capitalists today to pitch their idea, which include Andy Weissman, Partner at Union Square Ventures, Alex Finkelstein, Partner at Spark Capital, Brad Feld, Parter at Foundry Group, and David Tisch, Managing Director of TechStars NYC and angel investor. Fall In Love With Your Business, Not Your Business Plan. Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas.

March 2012.

Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas

Angel investor Bill Bryant: Here’s what I look for in startup entrepreneurs. Seattle angel investor Bill Bryant Seattle angel investor and venture capitalist Bill Bryant has been around the block a few times in the tech industry, estimating that he’s met some 5,000 entrepreneurs in the past 25 years.

Angel investor Bill Bryant: Here’s what I look for in startup entrepreneurs

So what does Bryant — an investor in companies such as Isilon Systems, Swype and Z2Live and an early employee at startup companies such as Visio, Qpass and Netbot — look for in the entrepreneurs he backs? That was one of the topics Bryant addressed Monday night at a Seattle angel investor and entrepreneurial meetup in Seattle.

As you might imagine, it is more art than science trying to pick the winners from the losers. 10 powerful branding insights that will keep your business moving forward. Flickr photo via Woodleywonderworks Just because you’ve built a successful company doesn’t mean you can relax.

10 powerful branding insights that will keep your business moving forward

Succeeding in this ever-changing business world demands that you constantly strive to get ahead…and stay ahead. Easier said than done, right? Crowding out angels from startup financings? Photo via Bigstock As early as next week, we may know whether Congress will change US securities laws to permit startups to sell stock to the general public over the internet.

Crowding out angels from startup financings?

You know how, today, companies raise money on Kickstarter by offering products, t-shirts, and other bennies? Imagine those same companies selling stock to investors over a Kickstarter-like platform. If the law changes – and this is something that one chamber of Congress has already passed and that President Obama supports - entrepreneurs seeking capital will have one more alternative to angel investors and venture capital firms. Angel groups in Seattle: How they’re doing, what they cost. Angel.

Angel groups in Seattle: How they’re doing, what they cost

Photo:Baldur McAqueen Over the past three days, GeekWire Chief Business Officer Rebecca Lovell and I both have moderated panels about the state of angel financing in Seattle. The discussions have been lively, and fun. [Previously: Angel mind meld: What early-stage investors really want] Madlibs for Pitching. David Feinleib: Why Startups Fail: And How Yours Can Succeed. The World’s 50 Most Innovative Companies 2012. For Some Internet Start-Ups, a Failure Is Just the Beginning. Inside the Recruiter's Head: What He's Really Asking You During the Interview. Jayne Mattson is Senior Vice President at Keystone Associates, a leading career management and transition services consulting firm in Boston, Massachusetts.

Inside the Recruiter's Head: What He's Really Asking You During the Interview

Mattson specializes in helping mid-to-senior level individuals in new career exploration, networking strategies and career decisions based on corporate culture fit. You applied for a new job, and you've been called in for an interview. During the interview process, there are three main questions that need to be answered to help the HR person determine if you're the right fit for the job: Can this person do the job? Will he do the job? By asking what I call “the question behind the question,” hiring managers have a better chance to making the right hiring decision. 1. This question gets at the heart of why you're leaving the current job or, in the case of a reduction in workforce, it helps the interviewer understand what was missing. 2.

Mark Cuban on Why You Should Never Listen to Your Customers. Image credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin.

Mark Cuban on Why You Should Never Listen to Your Customers

A great quote from technology luminary Alan Kay that every entrepreneur needs to remember: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it. " I'm working with a company that at one point had a product that was not only best in its class, but also technically far ahead of its competition. It created a better way of offering its service, and customers loved it and paid for it. Then it made a fatal mistake. It asked its customers what features they wanted to see in the product, and they delivered on those features. Everything I need to know about startups, I learned from a crime boss. The door opened and into the room walked the most dangerous person I’ve ever met. Mark Cuban's 12 Rules for Startups.

Anyone who has started a business has his or her own rules and guidelines, so I thought I would add to the memo with my own. My "rules" below aren't just for those founding the companies, but for those who are considering going to work for them, as well. The truths of entrepreneurship. Pinocchio. Wikipedia image Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, founder and CEO of WatchMojo, recently wrote a guest post on TechCrunch about the Lies Entrepreneurs Tell. How to Write Taglines That Double Sales. Two Customer Types Taglines for products and brands are everywhere, but often they don’t get the attention they deserve.

A variety of research shows that one phrase slogans can have a profound effect on how customers see the product. One key factor in crafting that phrase is matching its content to the customer’s mindset, and in particular to two important consumer motivations: prevention and promotion. Promotion vs. Prevention. Fifty gems for entrepreneurs thinking about making the leap. Fifty tips for entrepreneurs. Happy New Year! Here Are Some Great One-Sentence Startup Pitches. Startups in 13 Sentences. February 2009. A new approach to minimum viable product. Startup buds! 17 things I wish I’d known when starting my first business. (Flickr photo via JMRosenfeld) Looking To Hire Top Talent For Your Startup? Here Are Five Things You Should Know.

Seven critical factors to great business branding: A guide for startups.

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