Startup Advice

  • Due diligence is a responsibility for investors, an opportunity for startups Crunch Network

    Due diligence is a responsibility for investors, an opportunity for startups

    Many startup companies begin with either an idea or a proprietary technology. Sometimes this technology is straightforward and easily explained; other times, it is novel and revolutionary. For some founders, the latter can be a double-edged sword, especially once they begin to seek outside financing. Read More

  • How to communicate with your board in tough times Crunch Network

    How to communicate with your board in tough times

    For startup CEOs, tough economic periods are like stressful stretches in a marriage: They test your mettle while making ugly truths impossible to hide. These days, amid industry-wide belt-tightening, “down rounds” and a still-moribund IPO market, many venture-backed CEOs are baring it all to their board members. But how should you communicate with your investors when navigating a… Read More

  • Seattle angel investor Jon Staenberg on the state of startup investing Crunch Network

    Seattle angel investor Jon Staenberg on the state of startup investing

    Q: Gil Penchina (the top-ranked angel on AngelList) said one of the things he has learned about investing is how little control he has on the outcome. Do you feel the same way? Absolutely. Most investors like to pretend they add a ton of value and expertise but they don’t. I am clear about it. The value I add is in having a good enough relationship with the founder so that when… Read More

  • Breaking a myth: Data shows you don’t actually need a co-founder

    Breaking a myth: Data shows you don’t actually need a co-founder

    We are often told that starting a startup on your own is madness. There are thousands of articles out there that tell you that and why why you need a co-founder. Probably solid advice, but data from CrunchBase shows a different side of the story. More than half of startups with an exit did so with just a single founder. The average is 1.72 founders. Read More

  • Startup spending guide: Where to spend money Crunch Network

    Startup spending guide: Where to spend money

    There is no shortage of advice when it comes to which tools software companies should use to run their businesses. We’ve all come across numerous “Top 100 resources for startups”-type posts at least once as we Google our way to entrepreneurial success. But after reading just one of them, it’s not hard to go from “I have no idea what’s out there” to… Read More

  • 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