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Must-read for founders: A VC explains how to build a killer value proposition Must-read for founders: A VC explains how to build a killer value proposition On the surface, value propositions seem incredibly straightforward. I’d argue that this is why, in practice, they’re often given such short shrift. In reality, getting a value proposition right requires some focused thinking and structured analysis, some of which I’ll preview here.
Instagram’s billion dollar idea wasn’t photos after all 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. A billion? As a startup CEO, it’s sometimes hard to grasp how these types of platforms, which openly opine they are not concerned with making money can end up in such a successful outcome. [So to all the investors out there, I guess we shouldn't be focused on business models and making money, should we? I digress...]
Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from Onswipe CEO Jason L. 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. To enter, go here and fill out some simple information about your startup. [Excerpt] Fundraising: From $1,000 To $1,000,000 [Excerpt] Fundraising: From $1,000 To $1,000,000
Fall In Love With Your Business, Not Your Business Plan Oh no,no, BP is verything to start new business, otherwise you roaping in dark 100% interesting (as always). I've written "classic" business plans, as well as 8-slide decks as a business plan. I think the advice needs to be "You shouldn't do a business without a plan, but you shouldn't spend more time on the plan than the business." How about being asked to write a business plan only to realize that the people who asked you to write it never actually took the time to read it? Fall In Love With Your Business, Not Your Business Plan
Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas March 2012 One of the more surprising things I've noticed while working on Y Combinator is how frightening the most ambitious startup ideas are. In this essay I'm going to demonstrate this phenomenon by describing some. Any one of them could make you a billionaire. That might sound like an attractive prospect, and yet when I describe these ideas you may notice you find yourself shrinking away from them. Don't worry, it's not a sign of weakness.

Frighteningly Ambitious Startup Ideas

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. 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. Bryant admits that angels must be prepared to lose all of their money, noting that the exit environment is especially challenging right now given how long it takes (an average of nine years) for companies to reach a sale or public offering. Angel investor Bill Bryant: Here’s what I look for in startup entrepreneurs Angel investor Bill Bryant: Here’s what I look for in startup entrepreneurs
Flickr photo via Woodleywonderworks Just because you’ve built a successful company doesn’t mean you can relax. Succeeding in this ever-changing business world demands that you constantly strive to get ahead…and stay ahead. Easier said than done, right? 10 powerful branding insights that will keep your business moving forward 10 powerful branding insights that will keep your business moving forward
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. You know how, today, companies raise money on Kickstarter by offering products, t-shirts, and other bennies? Crowding out angels from startup financings? Crowding out angels from startup financings?
Angel groups in Seattle: How they’re doing, what they cost Angel groups in Seattle: How they’re doing, what they cost Angel. 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] But, at the end of the day, what entrepreneurs really want to know is where to go to raise cash.
Madlibs for Pitching on Vimeo
David Feinleib: Why Startups Fail: And How Yours Can Succeed David Feinleib: Why Startups Fail: And How Yours Can Succeed Dave Feinleib As a co-founder of five startups and a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, David Feinleib has seen both sides of the startup world. From 2009 to 2011, he was a general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, where he got his fair share of terrible pitches. He's also an entrepreneur. He's sold two startups, Consera (to HP) and onDevice (to Keynote Systems), and is still running three others he cofounded: Speechpad, Onepo.st, and Likewise. Despite his success as an entrepreneur, Feinleib felt like everyone was focusing on all their attention on the startups who made it big like Facebook.
For Some Internet Start-Ups, a Failure Is Just the Beginning
Jayne Mattson is Senior Vice President at Keystone Associates, a leading career management and transition services consulting firm in Boston, Massachusetts. 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?

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

Image credit: ABC/Craig Sjodin. 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. Mark Cuban on Why You Should Never Listen to Your Customers
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. He reached towards his belt and slowly pulled out his .45 caliber handgun, raised it and paused to evaluate my expression. “No disrespect, but it’s been pressing into my hip all day.” He placed the gun on the coffee table, relaxed into the leather sofa and let his guard down for the first time in a very long while. This person, let’s call him Kobayashi (I’m a Usual Suspects fan), is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.
Image credit: ABC 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.

Mark Cuban's 12 Rules for Startups

Pinocchio. Wikipedia image Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, founder and CEO of WatchMojo, recently wrote a guest post on TechCrunch about the Lies Entrepreneurs Tell. In the article he makes the point that entrepreneurs are “always in sell mode, but that doesn’t mean they need to be BS-artists.” The truths of entrepreneurship
How to Write Taglines That Double Sales
Fifty gems for entrepreneurs thinking about making the leap
Happy New Year! Here Are Some Great One-Sentence Startup Pitches
A new approach to minimum viable product
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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