Archive for the ‘entrepreneurship’ Category

Survivor Entrepreneurs

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If you live in or around the startup world (and if you read this blog I suspect that you do), you have almost certainly been exposed to what I'll call the "all-in ethos" that is considered appropriate and even mandatory to be successful as an entrepreneur. What I mean by this ethos is the stories told and retold about a given founder's willingness to max out credit cards, call in every favor, and basically lay themselves entirely on the line because their belief in their product, company or idea is just so overwhelmingly strong that they cannot even consider giving up. People in our world tell and retell these stories because they reinforce such a critical belief - that no matter how dark things look for a startup, there can always be light at the end of the tunnel, that even if a founder is the only person on the planet that believes something to be true, that is the true essence of "entrepreneurial spirit", and that it can prevail.

As investors, we love this attitude. Entrepreneurs who don't quit are the engine that make possible the very difficult work of creating successful businesses out of ideas and passion. Starting from a blank page and competing successfully with established businesses or building a product that people don't even know they need - these are daunting endeavors, and without an extraordinary sense of self and belief in the future of the company, entrepreneurs couldn't do what they do.

And all of that is prologue to the question of - what happens when an entrepreneur believes and believes and goes all in the way s/he is supposed to … and the company still fails? I recently had the opportunity to consider what it is like for an entrepreneur who left it all out on the field, regrouped, and then came back to give it another try.

And while it might seem self-evident, it was an opportunity to reconsider the reality that VCs aren't bankers, and that the people who come to us for financing are going to have scars and bruises from some of what came before. And while there are lots of VCs who talk about how they prefer for an entrepreneur to come to them with a failure under his belt, it's another thing to really look an entrepreneur in the face, acknowledge what he has gone through, and back him anyway. Because you just know that he's going to go after this new thing even harder. And that's what this is all about.

.:wiesen.tumblr.com->

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Posted: December 12th, 2010
at 2:50pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: blogs,entrepreneurship

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The Engineer Vs. the Entrepreneur

So the primary cause of tension here is that the engineer and the entrepreneur are being graded on two very different sets of criteria. The engineer is successful if he delivers a product that works well (from a technical perspective) and is on schedule. Meanwhile, the entrepreneur wants to build a successful business. A successful business usually involves building something that works well, but there is a lot more to it than just that (I know of many products that worked well but that people didn’t want, or even that worked well but were unable to successfully reach their target audiences). At the end of the day, the entrepreneur is successful if he builds something of value and eventually generates a good return for his investors, whether through sales, an acquisition, or even an IPO (I’m omitting social entrepreneurs, who also build value, albeit in a slightly different way).

Now, If you want to build something on-time that works well, it makes sense to be pessimistic about your schedule and what you can deliver (obviously there is a reasonable upper bound on this). Most good engineers I have met (who aren’t managers) seem to always say "It can’t be done. But, if it were possible, this is how long it might take." Then, they somehow manage to deliver the product in 3/4 of the initially estimated time (and maybe they manage to work in a few useless features that they think would be cool). Good engineers succeed by executing well on complicated technical tasks. Unlike entrepreneurs, they tend to get paid mostly in salary (if they are smart). If the company fails, they can pretty easily find another job paying about the same amount of money (or maybe even a little more).

However, when you want to build something of value, the goal is not to launch products that work perfectly or are perfectly on schedule, but to figure out what people want and to deliver that. Sometimes, it is important to cut corners in the short term if that gives you the best chance to reach your eventual goal. Even if an entrepreneur delivers a product that only delivers 10% of the features he set out to build, he can still be wildly successful (if those few features are the ones that people actually want and are willing to pay for). His goal is not to build things, but to build value. I know of successful entrepreneurs who completely failed in their original project, but who still managed to generate a good return by realizing that they had amassed significant talent equity. And how do you build the maximum amount of value?

Well, that requires you to be unreasonably optimistic.

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Posted: December 11th, 2010
at 7:12pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: development,blogs,entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship and Kanye West

But for my money, they got this one right. The album is unreal, and largely because of its daring willingness to reconstruct hip hop, pop, and rock into exactly whatever the hell its maestro wants without any fear of classification or offense to genre stalwarts.

As I've listened to the album over and over (and over) I couldn't help but think about some of the parallels between Kanye, the album, and the record industry, and entrepreneurship. Here are five thoughts about entrepreneurship inspired by the record.

.:unrealitymag.com->

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Posted: December 3rd, 2010
at 7:16am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: music,entrepreneurship

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Nomadic Entrepreneurs In Indigenous Markets

I think there is also a deeper insight for entrepreneurs.A You are not selling to customers who share your aspirations and risk tolerance. The studio executive sees a career unfolding within the studio, the B2B buyer is concerned about the impact on a corporate career from a good or bad decision. Even other founders become risk averse when analyzing the impact of your new offering on their plans: they have enough risk to manage in their own business without worrying about whether you are going to perform as promised. A clear focus on minimizing their risk by organizing your sales efforts around identifying and mitigating your customer's risk of adoption and deployment is required.A And while you are exploring different messages for different prospective buyers, you need to be weaving proof points about your own firm's viability and robustness into whatever features and benefits you are using as bait.

.:skmurphy.com->

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Posted: November 27th, 2010
at 10:25am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: entrepreneurship

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Startup Weekend Tokyo 2010

34 ideas pitched, narrowed down to 9 for presentation, head on over to their blog to check out what is going to launch!

.:tokyo.startupweekend.org->

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Posted: November 21st, 2010
at 4:16pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: entrepreneurship

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Gen Y and Jobs

Our generation's future is headed on a one-way trip down the toilet a that is, unless we do something fast.

Rising debts. Recessions. Mass layoffs. Two million recent college graduates jobless. Nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have been either unemployed or underemployed since 2008. And, perhaps the biggest kick in the teeth, members of Gen Y have been bestowed with the title "boomerangs": a generation so poor, jobless, and in debt that we've been forced to moved back into our parents' homes after college in record numbers.

So much for following the "work hard, get good grades, and go to college" mantra to the letter. That worked outAreal well for us, didn't it?

The fact is, our "traditional" options are shrinking by the day, and they aren't coming back anytime soon. Was this the way we were told it was supposed to be for us? No, of course not. But like it or not, this is our reality. We can either deal with the cards we've been dealt and thrive in spite of the harsh actualities or nosedive in the face of hardship and adversity.

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Posted: November 21st, 2010
at 7:06am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: development,entrepreneurship,jobs

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The One Thousand Hour Rule

The crux of this theory is that the key to success in any field is simply a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000-hours.AI believe the same thing exists for startups, albeit on a more concentrated level. Gladwell might suggest that to be successful in a startup you need to have 10,000-hours of startup experience (or domain experience) under your belt. That I don’t deny. It seems quite matter-of-fact.

.:yongfook.com->

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Posted: November 18th, 2010
at 3:05pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: life,development,entrepreneurship

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Sabor Nacional - the History of Inca Kola

Stepping off a ship in the port ofACallao in 1910, a British immigrant couple called the Lindleys were starting a new life in the Americas. Little did they know that they'd become an integral part of Peru's national identity and create one of the greatest modern Peruvian icons.

The young couple established themselves in the historic working-class district ofARimac and got off to a great start. Their small up-start bottling business had taken off and their soft drinks were enjoyed by locals. They had since started a family and integrated well into their new homeland, growing increasing patriotic.

In 1935 when Lima was celebrating its 400th anniversary, the Lindley family decided to release a new drink that was decidedly Peruvian - they named it Inca Kola and based its flavor on a local herb Hierba Luisa, already enjoyed as an infusion. This new sugary and lightly carbonated Hierba Luisa based drink was quickly accepted. In fact, it quickly became a hit and consumption spread across most of Lima.

AgeingADon Isaac Lindley, head of the family, would manage his increasingly large bottling facility while son Johnny would drive the delivery truck from Callao to Barranco, delivering new stock to restaurants and local shops, as well as trying to secure deals with new customers.

.:enperublog.com->

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Posted: November 18th, 2010
at 1:48am by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: blogs,drinks,entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurs Can Change the World

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Posted: November 17th, 2010
at 8:27pm by Koookiecrumbles


Categories: entrepreneurship

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