Monthly Archives: April 2014

Entrepreneurship Gives Life Meaning

Title: Entrepreneurship Gives Life Meaning
Date: 2011-10-05
Speaker: David Friedberg (The Climate Corporation)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
It is important to be organized.
70% of businesses are affected by the weather every year.
When you are presented with opportunities where you feel you can make a really big impact it is worth doing it in light of the comfort of not doing it.
You can never hold a grudge in Silicon Valley.
Doing a startup is a way of organizing an activity or group of people around a problem they are trying to solve.
Innovation is the only way out.Just being an entrepreneur does not make one a rock star.
The opportunity cost of doing a startup is very high.
Do not do a startup for the financial reward.
There are challenges with doing things in a big company and they all need to be taken into consideration.
In forty years none of your failures are going to matter.
What is going to matter is the big things you achieve in life.
It is the grind that is going to end up making the difference.
Innovation is the only sustainable competitive advantage any company can have.
Innovation for scale requires perpetual change.
When you take risks odds are you’re going to fail.
Solve the problem that you’re setting out to solve and be smart about how you’re solving it.
You should be innovating to come up with a new business model mode.
A lot of people are doing a lot of similar things in Silicon Valley these days.
Innovation is the only way out.
If you’re thinking about doing something entrepreneurial think about solving a really big problem. It is going to be great not just for you. It is going to be great for everyone.
There are plenty of places for you to innovate.
Agriculture is a huge opportunity.
It should be natural human behavior to solve big problems.

First Review Of My Software

A couple of days ago I was looking through the analytics for one of my web apps (I’m currently testing out Heap Analytics and am pleased so far) and saw some traffic was coming from a particular website. I clicked through to it and found a roundup of products in my space (film production software) with a two or three paragraph review of each. And my product was included!
The only problem was that the article was in Spanish. Even after two years of Spanish in high school and two and a half years of Spanish in college (not to mention living in Los Angeles for 15 years) I cannot read or speak it. I can speak just enough to get by in a foreign country with active use of hand gestures. (Thankfully most people are too polite to roll their eyes as I’m throwing around more gestures than a third-base coach.)
I used Google Translate on it and learned that my site has an attractive design! It also praised the number of options and said that the majority of it was simple to use. So far so good.
Unfortunately the review went downhill from there. It said, “almost nothing works as it should.” It followed that with an example but the translation lost the context. More tutorials was also mentioned as something needed. In the end I did not get a recommendation. The blow was softened as the reviewer said, “give it time to grow.”
I’m definitely going to need to solicit more feedback and get some more example workflows (it seems like everybody producing movies has their own workflow). And I’m going to keep improving on what I have until my software is something that people want to recommend to their friends and peers.
Even though it wasn’t favorable I’m honored to have been included in that review and am going to take it as an opportunity to do better. If my software isn’t helping my users then I need to know about it. I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me.
(As an aside I’m not sure why Google Alerts didn’t pick this up. Maybe due to it being in another language?)

Innovate for America

Title: Innovate for America
Date: 2011-05-25
Speaker: Aneesh Chopra (US Office of Science & Tech)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
America is at its best when we invest in the building blocks of innovation.
There has never been a better time to be an innovator.Productivity growth highly correlated with GDP growth.
In a capitalist society you get what you pay for.
The best teachers personalize the instruction based on the needs of the students.
There has never been a better time to be an innovator.

The Value of True Partnerships

Title: The Value of True Partnerships
Date: 2011-05-18
Speaker: Wences Casares, Meyer Malka (Bling Nation)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
You see strong partnerships at the core of successes.
You’ll find a lot more success when founders find and choose each other in a meritocratic way.
Trust becomes an important aspect of success.You need to have strong conviction.
When you’re building a partnership you need to talk every day.
Over-communicate with your partner.
You need to act as one.
Trust becomes an important aspect of success.
The best way to market to students is by students.

From Stanford to Startup

Title: From Stanford to Startup
Date: 2011-05-11
Speaker: Kevin Systrom, Mike Krieger (Instagram)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Experience is what matters.
You cannot learn to be an entrepreneur from a book, a blog, or a talk.
A day on the job is worth a year of experience.
Trust your gut.
If you’re excited enough about something you’ll find the time to work on it.
You should do a startup because when you wake up you’re obsessed with an idea and you want to make it happen.
You can’t call yourself an entrepreneur. Somebody has to call you an entrepreneur.
Ultimately the only thing end users care about is the product that is delivered to them.
It never gets easier and that is okay.Build your network and they’ll help you out.
The hard part is figuring out the problem to solve.
Solutions are easy to find for the majority of problems.
You need to verify the problems you want to solve are actually the problems people have.
Get your product in front of people very quickly.
You should not be afraid to have simple solutions to simple problems.
The problem with stealth startups is you don’t get the feedback you need early enough.
Building a minimum viable product is super useful.
It is totally okay to fail in an organization.
You need to fail in order to find the right solutions.
Often the first thing you start with is not the thing you end up with.
Assume your first idea is not going to be your last idea.
Your job is to fail your way to success.
Seek out the people you really want to work with (when raising capital).
Instead of optimizing for valuation optimize for people (when raising capital).
You can get a lot done on a shoestring budget.
Starting a company is 50% building a product and 50% a lot of other stuff.
Team building is one of the most important things when you get off the ground.
Raising capital can be a huge time sink.
In the sharing and discussion process is where ideas get refined.
Careers are a series of themes that you go through and explore.
Your startup and career is an expression of you and your co-founders.
Things seem very obvious in retrospect.
It never gets easier and that is okay.
You’re never going to get less busy.
It is a long slog.
Part of entrepreneurship is realizing that different things along the way are going to excite you in different ways.
There is no better time to start than now.
There is no reason you can’t start.
Above all else what makes products spread is when they’re useful and they’re usable.
There is a way to work hard that doesn’t mean you need to work long.
When you’re working work on the most important things (to create the work/life balance).
If you work hard good things happen.
Money will come if you’re growing (like crazy).
There is so much money out there chasing bad ideas that a good idea will get money.
Don’t worry about the best case scenario. Worry about the average case scenario.
Build the product you’re in love with and good things will follow.
Focus on building great products.

Reach Your Escape Velocity

Title: Reach Your Escape Velocity
Date: 2011-05-04
Speaker: Geoffrey Moore (MDV)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Power fuels performance and performance consumes power.
Allocate resources to new initiatives before you allocate resources to anything else.
Categories are defined by a group of competitors and markets are defined by a group of customers.
Market power is about winning market share in the critical segments.
No matter how good or how bad you are you probably have places you’re better than others. What are you going to build on and where are you going to move forward?
Allocate resources to new initiatives before you allocate resources to anything else.Strategy is normally about achieving a position of power.
Steve Jobs cares about power and assumes performance will take care of itself (in regards to market).
The three things a CEO is asked to articulate in relation to the power hierarchy is a vision, a strategy, and execution.
Strategies change by category.
It is extremely hard for large corporations to go after niche markets but it is critical.
In general category trumps company. Company trumps market. Market trumps offer. Offer trumps execution.
Offer power is the lever you’re going to move when you’re behind to move up.
You’ve got to get comparable, not better than but good enough, fast. Amazingly fast.
The key metric for productivity is that you want to be best in class.
Don’t tie the differentiation train to the neutralization train or either of them to the optimization train.
Manage one (train) for speed, one for distance, and one for fuel.
There is no excuse for you to not act now.

Developing Products that Save Lives

Title: Developing Products that Save Lives
Date: 2011-04-27
Speaker: Richard Scheller (Genentech)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
You have to be really careful with what you say because folks can take it incredibly seriously.
Money doesn't hold back the best ideas.Money doesn’t hold back the best ideas.
Spend a lot of time thinking about your culture.
Nobody wants to be the placebo group.
You can go really far in life with a little common sense.

How to Build Instant Connections

Title: How to Build Instant Connections
Date: 2011-04-20
Speaker: Ori Brafman (Author)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
The initial sense stays with us.
Leaders that are vulnerable are far more trusted by their employees.
When people express a level of vulnerability they automatically form a connection.
The connection changes the tenor of the relationship.
The last few feet make a difference. The last few inches make a whole lot of difference.
When there is a conflict in an organization get people to sit knee to knee.
When people naturally mirror us we naturally tend to like them.
In able to build a trust-based environment you need to have some level of emotional connection.

A New Vision for Capital Markets

Title: A New Vision for Capital Markets
Date: 2011-04-13
Speaker: Barry Silbert (SecondMarket)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
Just start your business.
Traditionally you go public to raise capital.
Second reason is liquidity for shareholders.
We have the tools and the ability to change the world.Third reason is as a currency to buy other companies.
Last reason is that (going public) is a branding event.
Launch with an MVP.
You don’t launch when everything is perfect. You launch as soon as you’re ready.
You need a good idea. You need some good people. You need to put in a lot of hard work. And you’ve got yourself a business.
Be fearless.
Find an opportunity in something you’re passionate about.
We’re the luckiest generation in history.
We have the tools and the ability to change the world.
Through technology there is an opportunity to change the way Wall Street operates.
Wall Street is in serious need of disruption.
The venture backed industry is tiny relative to the universe of private companies out there.
The key to success for any business is the people.

Effective Models for Sustainable Growth

Title: Effective Models for Sustainable Growth
Date: 2011-04-06
Speaker: Jennifer Morris (Conservation International)
Link: Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
If you can’t see it it is very difficult to explain it.
To achieve scale (they) have to address policy issues.
It is important to quantify ecosystem services.
80-85% of drugs originate from a natural plant.
The annual emissions from deforestation is more than two times the emissions from cars, trucks, and planes combined.
Entrepreneurship in the environmental world is absolutely crucial.
Even in you’re in a large organization you can be an entrepreneur.
Short-term grants lead to short-term success.