Startup Advice: Fitbit
I used to provide my thoughts on individual startups back when I was commenting on TechCrunch in 2006/2007 and I haven’t done much of that over the past year, primarily because I became bored with most of the Internet/technology startups that have launched.
Yet a startup that I think might have some potential launched yesterday at TechCrunch50 and I thought I’d provide some free advice to it because the venture capitalists who provided feedback didn’t do a very good job and for the most part, didn’t seem to know their heads from their asses.
Wall Street Applied to Technology Entrepreneurship
Just what does Drama 2.0 do? One of activities I’m most heavily involved with is the trading of financial instruments (primarily option contracts).
Trading is a wonderful exercise not only because there’s a lot of money to be made (and lost, of course) but because the most powerful human emotions - fear and greed - are grappled with an on almost daily basis.
There are a lot of life lessons to be learned and many of the “rules” of trading can be applied to the world of technology entrepreneurship, especially in a day and age where startups are built to be “flipped” and entrepreneurial employees jump from one startup to another in search of the “big hit.”
Mashable contributor Aaron Uhrmacher that corporate bloggers are not immune from writer’s block:
There will be times that you have to contribute a post for your company’s blog and you just don’t have one idea that inspires you to start a conversation.
In true Mashable fashion, there was a solution in list format: “40+ Topics for Corporate Bloggers.”
Normally, a “10 _____” or “50 _____” list wouldn’t be worthy of discussion but I found this topic interesting. My interest was further piqued upon reading that Uhrmacher is a “social media consultant.”
The Demo that Really Matters
Last week, TechCrunch reposted an email that Jason Calacanis sent to his email list. It provides a number of tips to entrepreneurs who will need to demo their startup’s product. Calacanis wrote:
These tips are applicable to presenting in front of an investor, a partner as well as a demo style conference.
TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington prefaced his repost of the email with:
If you are pitching a company to the press, a conference, a potential employee or an investor, bookmark this. You’ll be glad you did.
Trust Analysts Blindly - Lose Money
In recent posts ( and here) I’ve made it clear that I apply the “trust no one” mantra to many things, including research firms and well-connected individuals.
This, of course, is not to say that I don’t listen to what “experts” have to say. “Expert opinions” can be extremely valuable when used appropriately.
Unfortunately, some “experts” aren’t “experts” and implicitly trusting that every statement or prediction that comes from somebody you perceive as being an “expert” is accurate or wise is not the best strategy.
Calacanis and Workaholics
Jason Calacanis’ latest flare-up of chronic foot-in-mouth disease got the Web 2.0 blogosphere’s panties in a knot. Some have lambasted Calacanis for advocating that companies should “Fire people who are not workaholics” while others have come to his defense.
My take? As usual, Calacanis shows that he’s still a few years short of wisdom. So let me throw in my advice.
Productivity is Not Measured in Hours Worked
The workaholic employee who puts in 14 hours each day may not be getting as much done as the more efficient employee who puts in 8 hours each day. Different people work differently - some work harder, some work smarter.
The Top Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make
There are always “rules” and “tips” for entrepreneurial success, but I’ve seen far less discussion on the mistakes entrepreneurs typically make that can often be easily avoided. Since mistakes can make or break businesses, I’m a mistake-oriented person. At best, I try to avoid them altogether and at worst, I try to never make the same mistake twice.
So without further ado, here are the top mistakes I believe entrepreneurs make. I’ve personally made all of them with the exception of being too eager to raise outside funding.
Mistake: Being Unrealistic