Tuesday, May 22, 2007

TechCrunch: Biting the Hand that Feeds It

Michael Arrington recently posted on TechCrunch that Silicon Valley needs a downturn. He writes:

"Times are good, money is flowing, and Silicon Valley sucks... People become more anxious, and more likely to snap at someone in anger or jealousy. Rumor mongering spikes, and a crucial balance is lost. It’s no longer about beautiful products and genius developers. It’s about the money and the status, and hot PR chicks and marketing departments."
This is a legitimate position to take (that I personally disagree with), but it does seem to me that TechCrunch is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Silicon Valley startup hype cycle. More venture money means two trends that TechCrunch would seem to benefit from:
  1. More startups get funded, which generate more pageviews for TechCrunch as they write about new products resulting from the funding
  2. Larger marketing budgets to fund advertising and conferences
Valuation aside, I can't think of a company that fundamentally relies on the swelling interest in web 2.0 more than TechCrunch.

On a side note, I don't really understand the animosity for marketing departments that he associates with the boom. I'm obviously a little bit biased, but I think marketing plays vital role in any startup. There are many examples of bad technology companies that are successful because of great marketing, but few examples of great technology companies that are successful despite bad marketing.


Monday, May 21, 2007

Set a 30 Minute Meeting w/ Stu Phillips

Setting meetings with VCs can be a daunting task for first time entrepreneurs. Sure, Silicon Valley is teeming with advice that its easy to meet with VCs... all you need is an introduction... but first timers inherently have small networks and often don't can't get to VCs.

In a recent blog post, Stu Phillips, a general partner at Ridgelift Ventures, is offering entrepreneurs a 30 minute "no harm, no foul" meeting to give feedback on ideas. He writes "If I like the idea, I'll do what I can to help… funding, brainstorming, strategy…" This a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to get advice from a technical investor with nearly a decade in venture capital. You can find Stu Phillips email address on his firm's about us page.

Even though Mr. Phillips is opening up his calendar, its still important for entrepreneurs to do their homework before meeting with him. Does Ridgelift invest in the stage of development and industry which your startup is at? Do they have any competitive investments? These are questions that need to be answered before meeting with any VC.

Ridgelift Ventures is a new firm and there isn't much information on the website about their investment philosophy. However, in their initial press release last year, they wrote of their intent to invest in "early-stage investments in the Internet, information technology, wireless, and networking marketplaces."

I think its great that Stu Phillips is doing this and I wish more VCs dedicated some time to meet with first time entrepreneurs. If you meet with Stu Phillips and you're looking for more meetings, check out this series of posts that I wrote on setting intro meetings with VCs.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Truemors Launches on Just $12K

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning, Guy Kawasaki was able to launch his latest startup, Truemors, on just $12K by using free software and outsourcing development to North Dakota based firm.
"Apparently, Web businesses now aren't much harder to make than YouTube videos.Mr. Kawasaki says he has been working on Truemors for just three months. Because it uses free software, with programming done by a for-hire outfit in called Electric Pulp located in the high tech mecca of South Dakota, the costs are minimal. Mr. Kawasaki says to date, he has spent $12,000 on Truemors."
Starting a business for $12K is dirt cheap. I thought we were cheap at Cryptine, but we were no where near $12K. One big advantage that Guy Kawasaki has is that he is famous and anything that he does will get more attention that 99.9% of entrepreneurs. The fact that such a silly website even got mentioned in the WSJ clearly demonstrates just how famous Guy Kawasaki really is. Don't most companies have be remarkable in some way (successful, unique, controversial, etc.) to get this type of press?

Nonetheless, Call it $50K to hire a PR firm and do some marketing and its still dirt cheap.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yahoo! Mail Broken?

I've been trying to send out an email from my Yahoo! account for the last couple of minutes and the site seems to be totally broken. The send button doesn't work at all and while the link to my address book does work, the page is completely messed up.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Great OpenID Site

Security Roundtable has a great list of links about OpenID.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Baron Davis: Something You Probably Didn't Know

I have a pretty low opinion of most professional athletes' off the court behavior and given Baron Davis's history as a malcontent at previous teams, I didn't think he would be an exception to my stereotype. However, in getting to know more about Baron, through various articles and interviews since he was traded to the Warriors, he clearly doesn't fit my pre-conceptions. Baron comes across as articulate, thoughtful, positive and always seems to be having a good time. His smile seems to be 3 feet wide. Anyway, his day working at McDonalds was something else that I didn't expect. Check out the video and pictures they're pretty cool.

The Warriors playoff series against the Mavs was one of the most entertaining basketball that I have seen in years. The basketball on the court was fantastic, but rooting for players that actually are suitable role models has been a good feeling that I haven't experienced in a long time.

Powered by Blogger