Date Archives October 2009

You cannot buy a customer base

You cannot buy a true customer base for a bad product on the Internet.  With a bad product, it does not matter if you have raised $500K or $10 million — the only difference is the amount of time and money it takes to admit you have a bad product.

Paul Graham’s “What Startups Are Really Like”

Paul Graham of Y Combinator has a good essay up on “What Startups Are Really Like“.  Here are his headlines with some concise additional commentary of my own. 1. Be Careful with Cofounders: hugely important because things get stressful; agree on worst case “breakup scenario” at the start and have founder stock vesting. 2. Startups… Continue reading

Startups: hiring, careers, sales people

This week saw two interesting and related posts on startups and hiring/careers.  Mark Suster wrote about who you should hire into your startup, and Chris Dixon wrote about the ideal startup career path. Mark’s message is to hire hungry, smart people who want to get to the next level in their career, not the ones… Continue reading

The banality of Twitter

140 characters only go so far. Nabeel and Batman reminded me of that this morning. I particularly notice this when people share startup lessons.  Let’s be honest, a lot of “startup lessons” being shared are common sense and known to anyone with any experience (that is true with this blog too, don’t get me wrong)…. Continue reading

Empower your experts

I love’s line “none of us is as dumb as all of us”. A big part of startup success is tied to the quality of people and how well they work together.  That’s why I’m always sad when I see situations where a business has hired someone really good, and then refuses to empower… Continue reading

Donors Challenge & the Harlem Renaissance

In this era of information overload, we get very good at tuning out and in with snap, subconscious judgements.  Sometimes that means valuable things get missed, which is what happened with Fred Wilson’s first post about his Donor’s Choose fundraiser.  When he re-posted about the topic, it registered on my brain, especially when I saw… Continue reading

Follow-up to Evernote analysis

Just a quick follow up: the other week I quickly threw together a model trying to extrapolate Evernote’s cohort churn and premium conversion based on some data shared in NYTimes and TechCrunch articles.  I think the growth/churn estimates were decent, but I found a sneaky bug in the premium conversion method and in re-reviewing the… Continue reading

The New York Startup Scene

As someone who has done startups in New York, Silicon Valley & San Fran, and Austin, I find the topic of location very interesting.  Fred Wilson and Chris Dixon just gave a talk at  Clickable (embedded below) on why the New York startup scene is special, and I had a few reactions: New York would… Continue reading