What makes Silicon Valley special? – Information is a Commodity

Last week one of our competitors began the process of shutting it’s doors: StartupLinkup. On the top of their home page you can now read the following:
StartupLinkup.com is winding down. It was a nice experiment, but I realize it’s not the best model for connecting startup founders.
I strongly recommend that you use StartupSQUARE. Tristan, Manuel, and Marcel are the great guys there, and will make sure you get the right connections. All the best, Adrian.
This could only happen in Silicon Valley, our competitor Adrian Fritsch, started referring business to us. What makes Silicon Valley special? Cooperation. Continue reading

Photographic Proof that I am not a Ninja

Owch

The bloated thing is my foot.

After my anti-ninja rant last week, it was perhaps inevitable that the universe would see fit to prove that I am not a ninja by any stretch of the imagination. Behold my foot. (see pic) It’s not supposed to look like that.

Let the laughter and taunting begin! Continue reading

Stop Calling Yourself a Rockstar and a Ninja

I understand that you kickass at Guitar Hero and you play a ninja in World of Warcraft, but seriously… can you stop calling yourself a rockstar and a ninja in real life? These hacker terms for “awesome coder” have gotten way out of control.

[UPDATE: Thanks to everyone for pointing out that WoW has no ninja class. Sorry...I'm a Starcraft guy. :(   ] Continue reading

Interview with Chris Redlitz from KickLabs and Transmedia Capital (part 1)

I recently sat down with Chris Redlitz from Transmedia Capital to talk about his new startup incubator KickLabs and founding teams from his perspective as an entrepreneur (AdAuction, Get Relevant, Aptimus, and On Village), executive (Skyrider, Feedster, Reebok), and now venture capitalist. We discussed what makes a founding team work, potential conflicts of interest between investors and entrepreneurs, and what KickLabs looks for in a company. Chris is also going to be a judge at the Lean Deck Clinic on August 2nd.

T: In your experience, is there a distinct advantage to having a founding team as opposed to being a sole entrepreneur? Continue reading

When Should You Find a Co-founder? Before your idea is even half-baked.

When Should You Find a Co-founder? I’m going to go with my gut here and say: Before your idea is even half-baked.

I’ve had a couple discussions recently about when is the right time to look for a co-founder. As soon as you have an idea? Once you’ve tested some of your core assumptions? Before you have an idea? There’s no rule and I haven’t seen anything written on the subject.

Continue reading

No Titles Please – We’re a Startup

I had to laugh out loud when I read this at jacquesmattheij.com:

At some point in the thread he writes: “We are working on that now. It might give us more breathing air but still will keep us with a CEO (him) that I cannot trust professionaly.”

I practically fell off my chair when I read that. A three letter title in a two man company ? What does that make him ? CTO ?

…and then he continues:

Titles are for insecure people that need to have their egos re-inforced or they are for people that have reached a stage in the life of their startup where it starts to make sense to divide the work in to fixed roles, where you have well defined territories and people as a rule will avoid crossing over in to each others territories.

Continue reading

First Dates and One Night Stands for Co-Founders

Always wear a tux on the first dateBefore you and your co-founders step up to the alter and say “I do”, it’s a good idea to get to know each other a little first. Maybe even play a little footsie.

I’ve been searching and searching for good advice on the subject and consistently come up empty. There’s plenty of advice on how to split up equity, qualities to look for in a co-founder, and even the occasional article on places to go to find entrepreneurs. Why is there zero information on how to vet them? The typical article seems to suggest a good conversation will do the trick, presumably because you’ve just dosed your co-founder with sodium pentathol and wired him to a lie detector. Continue reading