Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur’ Tag

Entrepreneur Pitchbook from Canaan Partners

Good resource for entrepreneurs looking for pitching to VCs (Canaan Partners in particular):

Advertisements

[On Web] Effort, Patent Process, Tips before and and after funding

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week and last week:

  • Effort: Seth Godin has an intersting post on “Is effort a myth?”. He gives a four step list of things that if anybody can follow each day, he can become the fittest, best rested, most intelligent, best funded and motivated person in his office or his field:

    1. Delete 120 minutes a day of ‘spare time’ from your life. This can include TV, reading the newspaper, commuting, wasting time in social networks and meetings. Up to you.

    2. Spend the 120 minutes doing this instead:

    • Exercise for thirty minutes.
    • Read relevant non-fiction (trade magazines, journals, business books, blogs, etc.)
    • Send three thank you notes.
    • Learn new digital techniques (spreadsheet macros, Firefox shortcuts, productivity tools, graphic design, html coding)
    • Volunteer.
    • Blog for five minutes about something you learned.
    • Give a speech once a month about something you don’t currently know a lot about.

    3. Spend at least one weekend day doing absolutely nothing but being with people you love.

    4. Only spend money, for one year, on things you absolutely need to get by. Save the rest, relentlessly.

  • IP/Patent Process for Startups: Pluggd.in has two part guest post on the Patent process by Dilip of GreyB. Read the posts here and here.

    Your idea or invention should be:

    • Novel
    • Non-obvious
    • Enables
    • Written Description
    • Clear Claims
    • Best Mode
    • Patents are of vital importance to the commercial success of techno start-ups
    • A patent is a shield for competitors
    • A patent gives a strong position to negotiate with investors, an investor provides the conditions for a swift growth
  • Tips for Before and After your Funding: Medianama has this interesting post on tips for before and after your funding by Sanjay Anandram, Sanjiv Mittal, Manu Parpia.

Apart from this, last week was full of posts on the Sequoia Capital’s Doomsday meeting with its companies and the email sent by Ron Conway to his portfolio companies.

[On Web] Startup Depression, TechStars Demo day, WordPress uses

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week:

  • Startup Depression: A great post by Jason Calacanis. A bit long but worth the 10 minutes spend in reading it.

    You need to access where you’re at and you need to fight on. You can give up, sure, but the truth is that when you give up, you have to live with that fact for the rest of your life. For me, living with having given up in tough times is a much worse fate than certain failure.
    If you fail, then by definition you have tried. But if you give up, you didn’t.

    On the similar lines, Namit pointed me to the movie startup.com, a real story of startup set around the time of dot com bubble burst in 2000. And this is what Seth Godin has to say about the recent situation in the US in his recent post:

    But uncertain times, frozen liquidity, political change and poor astrological forecasts (not to mention chicken entrails) all lead to less competition, more available talent and a do-or-die attitude that causes real change to happen.

  • TechStars Demo Day: TechStars held its Demo day last week to showcase the 12 startups that they were mentoring in a model similar to YCombinator. Interesting thing to note is that, 3 startups have been acquired already.
  • Uses of WordPress: Interesting to see WordPress being used as a social network, chat room, contact manager, etc.
  • Username Check: Himanshu pointed me to this site which checks on which all sites your username has already been taken.

Don’t Quit

Came across this very inspirational video based on the famous Don’t Quit Poem.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest! if you must; but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow;
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out;
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt;
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit;
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.

[On Web] Techcrunch50, Plan B for Fund Raising, Startup Ideas …

Here is the list of some good articles I read this week:

  • Techcrunch50: There was a showdown between Techcrunch and Demo this week with 52 startups giving demo in Techcrunch50 and about 74 giving in Demo. In my opinion, the quality of startups in Techcrunch was better. Do read about all the startups who gave a demo, may be you will find some competitors or good ideas for your own startup :).
  • Plan B for Fund Raising: This is a must read article by Guy Kawasaki for any Entrepreneur.
  • Startup Ideas: Great list of 30 startups Ideas by Paul Graham for YCombinator. MVP has also put a list of links on YCombinator Diaries.
  • Startup Insights from Seth Godin: Dharmesh Shah has a great post on the 8 startup insights that he got from Seth Godin (if you are not following his blog then start now), do read it.

[On Web] Raising Venture Capital, Simple Web Design, Testing

Here is a list of some good articles I read this week. I will try to publish a similar list every week.

  • The Art of Raising Venture Capital: Another great video from Guy Kawasaki. It has got lot of similar points as in his earlier famous video “The Art of Start” (if you are an Entrepreneur then do read the book by the same name). On the same topic, also read the article by Paul Graham: A Fundraising Survival Guide (A bit long but worth the read).
  • How Simple Web Design Help your Business: Some good examples of Apple, Basecamp, Etsy, etc.

    Remember, online shoppers are a fickle bunch. They don’t “window shop”. They use search engines to limit their searches to a very narrow field. If they don’t like what they see, they leave. Site owners only have a very small window of time to capture the attention of the prospective shopper. A tasteful, clutter-free design that places the focus on the product (and nowhere else) will allow the shopper to find what she wants faster.

  • Easy Automated Web Application Testing: I don’t think Entrepreneurs need to have automated testing at an early stage as there are only a few people working on the code, but at a later stage it is a good thing to have as the number of people increases along with the complexity and size of the code.

Declaration of Independence

Today, India’s Independence Day, reminded me of the same day 2 years back when I was thinking of starting my first startup (which I did just after a month). On that day, I saw a very inspirational flash movie on “Declaration of Independence” for the to-be-entrepreneurs. Hope it will inspire some more entrepreneurs.

Why many ex-Trilogians are Entrepreneurs ?

There have been lot of startups being started lately with some/all of the founding members being ex-Trilogian. Some examples: lifeblob, mustseeindia, reviewgist, drishti, kuliza, irunway, via (formerly flightraja), girnarsoft, ongraph and my own startup lifemojo. I have heard people ask questions like why are they seeing lots of ex-Trilogians in the startups. As an ex-Trilogian myself, here are some key points which I think helps Trilogians to be better prepared for the startup:

Note: These are based on my own experience of 2 years in Trilogy India during the period 2004-06.

  • Trilogy University (TU): Major credit goes to the Trilogy’s training program called the Trilogy University (TU). TU is a very fast paced training program where you see yourself doing things that you thought you could never do and you learn at an ultra-fast pace. In short, you learn how to learn fast. One of the best part of the TU is its graduation project where the trainees have to come up with an innovative idea, find its market potential, come up with a plan to market it, etc and then pitch it to the CEO who acts as a VC and decides whether you got to do the project or have to start the cycle again. Once you get the approval, you have to build the prototype within 3-4 weeks and prove that it is successful. Harvard’s take on TU can be read here.
  • Working in Small Teams: Employees in Trilogy work in very small teams (teams of 1-10 people). Small teams means that you get to work on all kinds of work (much like in a startup) and there is no separate UI or DB expert as such.
  • Early Responsibility/Ownership: People in Trilogy are given big responsibilities very early in their career. This introduces them to the high pressure of tight deadlines and meeting clients expectations quite early which helps them during the roller coaster ride of startups.
  • Working with the best people: The bar set by Trilogy at the time of recruiting is quite high, so you get to work with the best people in the industry. This also helps you in finding partners for your startup easily :).

Startup Demo

Demo

Yesterday I attended the demoes of two startups in startup saturday meet. It was an interesting contrast between the ways the two presented and I wondered what are the points to keep in mind to have a really good demo. Coincidently, I saw a post on the same topic in the evening. Some of the points from the post (including some of my own) that I thought really should be kept in mind:

  • Show your product within the first 60 seconds: I think this is really important as most of the people are waiting to see how are you going to solve their problem. The longer it takes for you to show your product, the worse your product is. If a picture tells a thousand stories, then a product demo tells a million. Note: Show your product immediately, and if you don’t have a product to show don’t plan the demo.
  • The best products take less than five minutes to demo: If your products takes more than this time then it means that your users will also be not able to understand it. You need not show the advance features in the demo.
  • Leave people wanting more: This is really important and it makes sure that they are not sleeping while you demo the product. It’s best for folks to discover the merits of your product for themselves, and it’s up to you to make such a compelling core product that they are intrigued enough to explore it.
  • Understand your competitors: You should have researched well in advance about all your competitors (current and historical). You should know about their team background, investors (if any), value they provide and how you differentiate from them.
  • PowerPoint bullet slides are death: Do not make slide after slide explaining your business in bullet points, because it’s really, really boring.
  • Be clear about your business model: Everybody knows that you have started your startup to create some business. So, don’t just say that you have not thought about the business model.
  • Be prepared for no internet connection: You should not just assume that an internet connection (or a fast connection) will be available at the demo place. Be prepared to give demo with the local copy.