Archive for the ‘Startup’ Tag

Entrepreneur Pitchbook from Canaan Partners

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

When should you launch your Product?

There is always a lot of debate on when should a startup launch their product. Should it be launched after it has been made perfect with all the features added and it is fully tested with all bugs removed ? or, should it be launched as soon as you have something working which customers can start using (there  might be still many features missing and the product might have lots of bugs).

I believe that it is best to launch as early as possible because it lets you test your product and your assumptions quickly. This will enable you to know whether customers really need your product or not before you spent more time on improving it. If the customers are not using your product then you get an early signal to either shift to a new product or rethink on the product strategy.

Here is what some industry people say about product launch:

  • Sunil Bharti Mittal: In his interview with Wharton, he said:

    Our theory was: If you’re caught between speed and perfection, always choose speed, and perfection will follow. You never wait for perfect positioning, because in business you don’t have the time; especially if you’re small, you can’t do it.

    And the large companies took their own time. They were months behind us, and that made us pick up a market niche for ourselves, which in turn made us big.

  • Guy Kawasaki: Don’t worry, be crappy:

    Don’t worry, be crappy. An innovator doesn’t worry about shipping an innovative product with elements of crappiness if it’s truly innovative. The first permutation of a innovation is seldom perfect–Macintosh, for example, didn’t have software (thanks to me), a hard disk (it wouldn’t matter with no software anyway), slots, and color. If a company waits–for example, the engineers convince management to add more features–until everything is perfect, it will never ship, and the market will pass it by.

  • Dharmesh Shah: In his latest talk at “Business of Software”, he said:

    if you are not embarrassed by your first product launch then you are too late to launch it.

Review of LifeMojo on WATBlog

Rajiv Dingra from WATBlog has published a review of my startup LifeMojo as part of their Saturday startup review.

The product is a comprehensive product when it comes to health and lifestyle management. The features which really catch your attention are the ability to set goals, track weight and manage your health by managing your eating habits and exercise. The product also provides a lot of in depth content into nutrition, health tips etc.

Another killer feature is analyze me which is a health and body mass index analysis tool based on your height and weight. This adds to the motivation especially for those who are not fit to get fit.

Check out the complete review here.

[On Web] Marketing lessons, press release, SEO and more

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

  • Marketing Lessons from the US Election: Seth has written this great post on some of the marketing lessons from the US Elections. Some main points:

    Stories really matter: Mainstream media isn’t powerful because we have no other choices. It’s powerful because they’re still really good at writing and spreading stories, stories we listen to and stories we believe.
    TV is over: Your challenge isn’t to scrape up enough money to buy TV time. Your challenge is to make video interesting enough that we’ll choose to watch it and choose to share it.
    Permission matters: Anticipated, personal and relevant messages will always outperform spam. Regardless of how it is delivered.

  • Dharmesh Shah talk at Business of Software: Dharmesh Shah has posted the video of his talk at “Business of Software” conference on his blog OnStartups.

    Your idea can suck. Just get started.
    You can be in the middle of nowhere and still build a great business.
    Not having cash breeds good behavior. It’s helpful to have constratints.
    You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your message out there.
    The real issue with VC is not the cost of capital (which is high), but how hard it is to actually raise it.

  • Making Press Release more SEO friendly: Sarah Evans has posted this article on Mashable with some good points to be kept in mind when doing a press release. Also, do read the this particular comment with a different view on the post. Some of the good points from the post:

    Use key words
    Hotlink and bold critical words (and phrases)
    Optimize first 250 words.

  • SEO Tips : Found this good article listing 55 quick SEO tips.

Incorporating a Private Limited Company in India

Himanshu has written a great post on this much asked topic on “Incorporating a Private Limited Company in India”. If you are new to the startup world or are planning to enter it soon, then do read it here.

[On Web] Startups in Bad Economy, SEO Cheatsheet, Jason’s Talk

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

  • Startups in Bad Economy: There are lot of views being expressed on how the current economic situation will affect the startups. I really liked Paul Graham’s view on it.

    Fortunately the way to make a startup recession-proof is to do exactly what you should do anyway: run it as cheaply as possible. For years I’ve been telling founders that the surest route to success is to be the cockroaches of the corporate world. The immediate cause of death in a startup is always running out of money. The cheaper your company is to operate, the harder it is to kill. Fortunately it has gotten very cheap to run a startup, and a recession will if anything make it cheaper still.

    Remember the presentation given by Sequoia around 3 weeks back. Jason from 37 signals, has a totally different (and in my opinion a more correct) view on it:

    They also say that you “need to become cash flow positive” and “spend every dollar as if it were your last.” So what was their old advice? Did they encourage their companies to spend more than they had, skimp on quality, grow grow grow, take on more risk, and accumulate more debt? Was being cash flow positive not a favored strategy before the downturn? If it wasn’t then, when was it going to be? If you weren’t in a position to make money when times were good how are you supposed to be in a position to make money when times are bad?

  • SEO Cheatsheet: Found this very good SEO cheatsheet which can be very handy for quick reference if you some basics of SEO (my earlier two posts of SEO can be read here and here):
  • Jason Fried’s talk at Business of Software: It is a great talk given by Jason from 37 signals on Momentum, Focus, Planning, Interruption, etc. It is a long talk and if you don’t have time and then read these notes.

[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: 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, 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.

[On Web] Online Health, Seedcamp, Marketing

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

  • Online Health: Himanshu pointed out this very good article on Web 3.0 and Online Health. It has got lot of data about the online health players in the US market. I am looking for similar data in the Indian context for my startup LifeMojo.
  • Startup Metrics for Pirates: It is presentation which Dave McClure (Master of 500 Hats) gave for Seedcamp 2008. Here is the marketing channels slide from the presentation:
  • Seedcamp 2008: Seedcamp is a YCombinator type model in Europe. Total of 7 winning startups were announced. You can read more about it here and here.
  • Top Search Engine Marketing Tools: It is a quite detailed article on the all the different kind of tools available for SEM.

[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.