January 4th, 2014 § Comments Off on If you want to understand the life of a startup entrepreneur, watch this video § permalink
New York (Photo credits: www.roadtrafficsigns.com)
The author is Terrence Kawaja, an investment banker in NY, who knows everyone and in spare time creates more or less funny spoofs of popular culture.
This is his latest video, which is essentially a rewording of the famous ‘sunscreen’ song. I find it incredibly accurate, chaotic and sincere description of everyday life of a startup entrepreneur.
aspiring entrepreneurs, angel investors, employees, their families, everyone should understand the ups and downs that we go trough, and this video de-mystifies it appropriately.
August 18th, 2012 § Comments Off on Slovenian Startups: it’s personal § permalink
Roughly three quarters of the webpages of Slovenian startups don’t say who the founders are. Not on the front page, not on the about page, nowhere. Most of the list the tax ID numbers and official address of the company, but not the names of the people running it.
This is a catastrophe! Are you trying to hide your head in the sand until the success ‘happens’, and only after that will you collect the credit? The founding fathers of America wrote their names on the Constitution, before it was a success.
Every young company has two major challenges when it comes to public communication:
- how do I tell enough people we exist?
- how do I make them trust us with their money?
The best answer to the first one is – go out of the office and talk to people on events and in their native environment. It’s also a great way to get to know your core audience inside-out.
But for the trust issue, the absolutely best remedy is for the founders to be put up front, essentially saying loud and clear: “Trust Me”. Don’t just trust the words I’ve written (they are wrong), don’t trust the design (it’s bad), don’t trust what you heard on the street about us (it was probably wrong), trust ME, I believe in what we are doing, I believe we are changing the world into a better place, and should something bad happen, I will feel ashamed to death.
So startup founders, please, write your names everywhere you can and be proud of it. There is no other way your startups will succeed.
May 29th, 2012 § § permalink
Secret denunciations against anyone who will conceal favors and services or will collude to hide the true revenue from them. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Crowdfunding is a great but frightening development.
It’s great, and necessary, and obvious, just like democracy and freedom of speech.
But it’s not frightening because it threatens the VC‘s. I’m worried because the first wave of crowd ‘investors’ will inevitably do mistakes that VC’s have learned to avoid, this might cause much capital being allocated in wrong places, causing rouge behavior from ‘startups’ and render huge disappointments, amplified by media, making entrepreneurship a bad word.
there, i’ve said it. funding startups is a serious thing, not a game of tax evasion.
Venture capitalists have been getting a black eye to go with their blue shirts. A recent report from the Kauffman Foundation slammed VCs for “shortchanging” investors, pointing out that public markets deliver better returns.
somehow all this reminds me of elaborate public grants infrastructure in Europe, that’s causing half of economy to focus on filling out checkboxes rather than listening to customers. not sure why, but it feels like the same instrument in different clothes.
May 8th, 2012 § Comments Off on Union Square Ventures adds technology ‘advocate’ to its payroll – how about other experts? § permalink
“WE ARE SAVING THROUGH PAYROLL SAVINGS” – NARA – 516067 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Great and important move, that USV probably decided to do because it has to be done right and there is nobody else who would take it on themselves.
It’s an established fact that technology and politics are increasingly finding themselves at loggerheads with one another, as issues of privacy, piracy, and copyright, not to mention net neutrality and media consolidation cut a larger profile on the national stage.
I was actually thinking recently that a different kind of activity would make sense for early stage VC – provide experts in residence for their startups, for instance: cutting edge virality ninjas, scalability/big data experts, startups finance expert… these guys should be seasoned, amazing, unaffordable by a normal startup, but if shared amongst a portfolio, they could really make a huge difference.
March 28th, 2012 § Comments Off on Bessemer Launches New Website With Hilarious Press Release § permalink
What a great use of PR!
Bessemer Venture Partners has launched a new website, which ordinarily might not be all that newsworthy except that the firm launched the site with an amusing Onion-esque press release which Kent Bennett was kind enough to send over to me last night. More VC firms should consider using a duck mascot as marketing.
February 21st, 2012 § Comments Off on when cultural differences hit you – smile! § permalink
Silicon Valley Rocks 2011 (Photo credit: thekenyeung)
Lots of people move to US to start their business and are surprised by theÂ obstaclesÂ they face in the beginning.Â I like this advice because it’s straightforward and actionable:
Israelis Tap In to Silicon Valley – WSJ.com
A group of visiting Israeli technology entrepreneurs recently got some blunt advice on how to do business in Silicon Valley. Be positive, smile a lot and don’t bad-mouth a competitor, venture capitalist Itamar Novick told them. When meeting with potential investors, think of it as a wedding proposal, not a transaction.
I recently noticed with myself, that I started using exclamation marks in almost every email I send out. the change happened after year 2 of living in US.
it might read as aÂ clichÃ©, when in reality, it merely lowers various expectations. you don’t really have to do much else in the valley than play the game. you need to be determined that this is the game you want to be playing and have humility to accept that you’re a foreigner that has to go humbly trough a process of re-integration into the society.
there is nothing you can do to make this process more controlled, because it’s human nature. smile is a signal that you’re friendly, as people around you start to trust you they’ll share more opportunities with you, and in your second year you will be a different person in a different place.
if you’ll be pushy, they’ll just look away. you can try it the hard way and loose lot’s of energy in vain. smile and have fun is the first rule of this game. you might not like it, but startup entrepreneurship these days is a lifestyle business.
February 6th, 2012 § Comments Off on Facebook Math: $10K Investment = $8M § permalink
talk about ROI:
Comments () The world of venture capital is rich with tales of colossal payoffs. The partners at Benchmark Capital invested $6.7 million in eBay in 1997 – and saw their stake mushroom to $400 million when the company went public one year later. Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers invested $12.
now, while this does make a great media story, it also creates totally false expectations to new entrepreneurs – if you are thinking about being a painter, because once there existed Michelangelo, you’re wrong.
October 6th, 2010 § § permalink
OK, So I have a wish.
I wish there was a publisher who would gather best posts from best business/entrepreneurship/marketing bloggers and publish them as an eBook, so that fresh entrepreneurs can read all about their future in advance. I guarantee it will boost innovation like anything!
Here’s my list, add to it, and if we come up with decent Table of contents, maybe it will write itself 😉
November 8th, 2008 § Comments Off on SOMESSO – social media for enterprises conf § permalink
I was lucky to get opportunity to participate and present Zemanta at the first SOMESSO conference last week in Zurich. It was an extremely nice event, bringing together enterprises, social media experts and entrepreneurs, in a suprisingly constructive fashion – no traditional european don’t-look-at-me atmosphere, but a rather relaxed hey-what-are-you-up-to thing.
Big congrats to organizers and very much looking forward to the next event taking place in London in May next year.