Motivation and Inspiration – Dan Pink’s TED Talk

Giff Constable management, startups

Thanks to a tumble from Hiten Shah, I just watched and loved Dan Pink’s TED talk on incentive structures and performance. Dan makes a case that monetary performance-based incentives increase productivity for mechanical tasks, but not for complex creative ones. Instead, you need to focus on three things: autonomy mastery purpose This is exceptionally true in software startups.  Yes, people …

Facebook App versus FB Connect?

Giff Constable social media

One of my projects posed the question: should we create a native Facebook application (example: Playfish’s Country Story) or a separate website using Facebook Connect (example:  FB Connect, after all, still gives you access to the social graph, feeds, etc.  Here are some of my preliminary thoughts after conversations with other folks, and I would welcome your input. A …

So you want to work for a startup? (the first job to seek for non-coder aspiring entrepreneurs)

Giff Constable startups

At Fred Wilson’s Donors Choose event, I met a bright college senior from my alma mater who wanted to work for a startup as prep for eventually founding a company himself.  Like me, he wasn’t a programmer, so the two of us discussed the best place to start. A non-coder founder has to wear a lot of hats: you will …

NYTimes on virtual goods: exercise in idiocy?

Giff Constable social games, virtual goods

Virtual goods have been used extensively in Asia for years, but are now coming into their own as a business model in the U.S.  With that growth comes media attention — including articles like today’s piece in the New York Times, “Virtual Goods Start Bringing Real Paydays“.  The entire thing isn’t awful, but I have to take the journalists to …

Startup Tools: equity and investment (cap table) model

Giff Constable startups, venture capital

As an entrepreneur, have you struggled to figure out what your ownership stake looks like over multiple rounds of dilution from investors and employee options? In the spirit of sharing modeling tools I use when thinking about a startup, here is an Excel spreadsheet for modeling out cap table equity and dilution across a number of capital raising rounds.  There’s …

Freemium Business Model Template

Giff Constable metrics, startups

Mark Suster of GRP just wrote a post on the importance of financial models, and in an effort to be helpful to new entrepreneurs finding their way around Excel, I thought I would post a business model Excel template for anyone to download and customize (bottom of post).  I completely agree with Suster.  The one time I told myself “I …

You cannot buy a customer base

Giff Constable startups

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”

Giff Constable startups

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 Take Over Your Life: they …