Startup Advice

  • For A Stranger In Silicon Valley, Success Isn’t Only About Who You Know

    For A Stranger In Silicon Valley, Success Isn’t Only About Who You Know

    Editor’s note: Cherian Thomas is founder and CEO of Cucumbertown, a recipe-publishing platform. Cucumbertown raised its first round from the Valley a month ago and during the course of this journey, I realized that, as a first-time entrepreneur without any solid Valley footing, my run toward raising funds as a non-American co-founder was somewhat unique. Read More

  • Ten Lessons I Learned from Shark Tank

    Ten Lessons I Learned from Shark Tank

    I just gave up all parenting responsibilities this weekend to Mark Cuban. Meaning, my kids and I watched eight straight episodes of “Shark Tank”. For the past two years, people have been begging me to watch “Shark Tank”. One friend of mine, who has co-invested with me on two deals, has given me two pieces of advice in life. One is: “you never know what someone… Read More

  • How To Get People To Do What You Want

    How To Get People To Do What You Want

    Leadership in management is the art and science of getting others to do what they don’t necessarily want – or don’t understand why they’re being asked – to do. Doing it at a startup is accomplishing all of that in the face of uncertainty and with little resources. Now imagine doing that without the war chest supplied to you by VCs as you bootstrap. Good times… Read More

  • In Startups And Life, You Need Plan A, B, And Z

    In Startups And Life, You Need Plan A, B, And Z

    An entrepreneur receives lots of contradictory advice from really smart, experienced people. For example, you’ve probably been told to be both persistent and flexible; to have a clear vision you pursue relentlessly, and yet also to change your vision as the market changes. Simple, right? This same tension pervades career advice. Some will tell you to think about where you want to be in… Read More

  • Patience is a Virtue, for Losers

    Patience is a Virtue, for Losers

    Patience is one of the seven virtues, the lesser-known cousins of the seven sins.  And indeed, “patience is a virtue” – or so goes the saying.  But another saying states that “fortune favors the bold.” So which one is it? It’s not that patience isn’t valued; it’s that no one else is actually all that patient.  Whether you are growing a business… Read More

  • To Pivot or Not to Pivot

    To Pivot or Not to Pivot

    Ah, the internet – how you hijack our vocabulary.  A few years ago, “embedded” had connotations of journalists following soldiers.  Today, it’s most associated with YouTube clips.  Similarly, a pivot was something that I vaguely recall my basketball coach talking about.  Today, it’s the repositioning of a company and without a doubt, 2011 was the year of… Read More

  • Why Every Entrepreneur Should Self-Publish a Book

    Why Every Entrepreneur Should Self-Publish a Book

    I’ve published eight books in the past seven years, five with traditional publishers (Wiley, Penguin, HarperCollins), one comic book,  and the last two I’ve self-published. In this post I give the specific details of all of my sales numbers and advances with the traditional publishers. Although the jury is still out on my self-published books, “How to be the Luckiest… Read More

  • The Uphill Battle Of Social Event Sharing: A Post-Mortem for Plancast

    The Uphill Battle Of Social Event Sharing: A Post-Mortem for Plancast

    Nearly three years ago, I left my position at TechCrunch to start my own Internet business, with the idea of creating a web application that’d help people get together in real-life rather than simply helping them connect online as most social networking applications had done. Alas, our efforts began to stall after several months post-launch, and we were never able to scale beyond a… Read More

  • Things Entrepreneurs Should Avoid When Raising Capital

    Things Entrepreneurs Should Avoid When Raising Capital

    Alright, in my last post I argued that bootstrapping is just as over-rated as raising venture capital. But for those who decide to pursue fundraising, here are some things entrepreneurs should avoid when raising capital. For all of the talk about how much excess capital there is, it’s actually hard to raise capital because very few projects fit the VC profile—even though many… Read More

  • The Seductive Danger Of Half Measures

    The Seductive Danger Of Half Measures

    In the wide world of startups, we mostly like to think of ourselves as go-getters, ass kickers, “in all the way” sorts. We also like to think of ourselves as iterators, tinkerers, rapid iterators who test unceasingly. But the combination of those two traits can lead to one of the most dangerous cycles in startup – half measure syndrome (HMS). Interestingly, HMS starts off… Read More

  • 9 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Learn From Woody Allen

    9 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Learn From Woody Allen

    I hate Woody Allen. Here’s why. Because if you’re Jewish and a little neurotic then it has become a cliché that nerdy neurotic Jewish people describe themselves as “Woody Allen-esque” thinking it will attract women. They do this on dating services. The idea is that they will then attract some waif-like Mia Farrow-ish  (or the 17-year-old Mariel Hemingway in… Read More

  • Want A Great Team? Focus On Talent, Not Hiring

    Want A Great Team? Focus On Talent, Not Hiring

    One of the questions most founders always ask is about the key secrets to hiring. What they need to understand is that there’s a big difference between “hiring” and “talent”. I’m continually surprised how rarely I see people put down their strategy for talent compared to hiring. It’s so prevalent, in fact, you’ll often see on a… Read More

  • Why Bootstrapping Is Just As Over-Rated As Raising Venture Capital

    Why Bootstrapping Is Just As Over-Rated As Raising Venture Capital

    Entrepreneurship requires balancing unbridled optimism with delusional foolishness.  Most entrepreneurs are mocked and misunderstood until they are wildly successful, at which point the chorus changes from “good luck with that ‘business’, pal” to “I always believed in ya, buddy!” There is an undeniable appeal to the notion of bootsrapping your company… Read More

  • Why Salespeople Make Bad Fundraisers

    Why Salespeople Make Bad Fundraisers

    Company founders are the quintessential cheerleaders, promoting their vision and company every chance they get.  But that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily the best at two core functions: selling and fundraising (and many are bad at both but excel at other functions, like technology). While generating revenue and raising capital require a lot of the same traits, in my experience… Read More

  • How to Survive Your First Year As An Entrepreneur

    How to Survive Your First Year As An Entrepreneur

    I loved talking to the skankiest prostitutes at three in the morning with a camera crew around me, fires burning in the street, sad, abused people clinging to scraps of life for their pleasures, bailed out prisoners and the drug dealers waiting for them to be released, homeless addicts with nowhere to go and they only weren’t freaks if you saw them at three in the morning . In short, … Read More

  • Eight Ways To Go Viral

    Eight Ways To Go Viral

    What do Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Dropbox and Skype have in common? Except for being ridiculously successful, they all enjoyed a strong viral effect that helped accelerate their growth. How did they do that? Here’s the thing; most people assume that these companies grew by pure word of mouth. Well, that’s only half of the story. The other half is that they deliberately built… Read More

  • What Startup To Build?

    What Startup To Build?

    If you’re asking which startup to build, not whether to build, you probably have several half-baked ideas and don’t know which one to devote yourself to. Or you have no idea at all. It’s easy to get trapped and excited by the startup world we read about through the looking-glass of TechCrunch. Too many entrepreneurs focus their time on building things they think are cool or… Read More

  • Lies Entrepreneurs Tell

    Lies Entrepreneurs Tell

    Entrepreneurs are always in “sell mode”, but that doesn’t mean they need to be BS-artists.  Most entrepreneurs aren’t born liars, but we’re brought up in a system that rewards bad behavior and taking the easy way out by lying instead of being truthful, something that eventually catches up with you. If you’re an entrepreneur, here are 5 common lies… Read More

  • Spare Me From “Product Guys”

    Spare Me From “Product Guys”

    We’re seeing people move away from finance and law and towards a culture of building things. It’s great to see more people seek careers in technology. The problem, I find, is that so many people approach the transition poorly. The first, and I suppose seemingly easiest claim and means to justify your place in the startup world, as someone who has no experience, is to call yourself… Read More

  • The 9 Most Important Things to Remember If You Want to Sell Your Startup

    The 9 Most Important Things to Remember If You Want to Sell Your Startup

    Editor’s note: Guest writer James Altucher is an investor, programmer, entrepreneur, and author. Don’t BS me. Everyone wants to sell their startup. We all pay lip service to building a billion dollar Groupon but in general that’s a lie. Even Larry Page and Sergey Brin wanted to sell Google to Yahoo for $1 million within ten seconds of starting their company. And Yahoo… Read More