Friday, October 9th, 2009

Explaining what you do in five minutes

in: Communicate, Funding, Startups

SUCMTL5Next week, the ever-energetic Phil Telio is organizing the fifth Startupcamp in Montreal. He’s assembled five excellent new ventures from a long list of submissions, and both Tara Hunt and Chris Shipley will be attending the event.

I’m helping to judge and counsel the participants, and in doing so I’m remembering just how hard it can be to explain what you do from within your own company.

  • You can’t hone your pitch: At an event like this, you’re speaking to investors, employees, competitors, and advisors.
  • You want to explain it all: You’re convinced that you have to offer a tour of your whole product or service, which makes you rush.
  • You’ve got the curse of knowledge, something Made To Stick talks about a great deal. Basically, you know your own product so well, you forget that others don’t know anything about your market or technology.

In a pinch, here’s what I usually advise people to do if they have no idea how it’ll go. You can break a presentation up into five chunks of a minute each, and use 2-4 slides for each minute, to get your point across.
Read more…

Friday, March 27th, 2009

FarmsReach takes the covers off

in: Standing out, Startups

We call Rednod a startup accelerator. That means we get our hands dirty helping to design product features, business models, positioning, look and feel, business processes — whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s a lot of fun, particularly when the team is smart and they’re trying to solve an important problem.

logo.jpgOne of Rednod’s clients, FarmsReach, fits that bill especially well. They launched on Tuesday at the Green:Net conference. After ten months of hard work on a web platform that could actually transform the local, sustainable food industry, the company’s finally taking the covers off.

Best of all, the company won the inaugural People’s Choice award at the Launchpad event with CEO Lana Holmes’ great presentation. The buzz has been huge, and while FarmsReach is taking it slow, focusing on San Francisco farms and restaurants, it’s a model that can work across North America in short order.

Congratulations to the FarmsReach team.

Also worth checking out is Saul Griffith’s awesome presentation on the energy we use, which takes a decidedly engineering-centric view at the daunting challenge humans face in trying to slake our thirst for energy. Green:Net was an excellent — and thought-provoking — event.

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

Job posting: Time to grow

in: Jobposting, Startups

Roughly 10 years ago, Networkshop was two people trying to figure out what business to build. A couple of years later, the company launched as Coradiant, initially an MSP and later a user experience monitoring company. It was a great experience. Early on, we posted some tongue-in-cheek positions that really set the tone and helped us find awesome employees.

Rednod has lots going on — much of which is related to Bitcurrent and the Complete Web Monitoring book — and it’s time to grow the team. To that end, we’re looking for a program manager. If you’re interested, let us know on Twitter or contact us online.

Here’s a detailed overview of the position. Read more…

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Testing and launching a web app: What every startup needs to know

in: Create, Startups

Several of the companies I’ve worked with in the last year have gone through a software launch. While I usually focus on the business side of startups, and this post is more like something from Bitcurrent or Watchingwebsites, it’s pertinent to any web startup that needs to test and launch a successful product.

There are ten distinct stages of defining, testing, and launching a web application. Each stage has some tools you can use, involves different people, and focuses on different kinds of data collection.

Ten stages of release visibility and testing

If you go through these stages in the wrong order, you’ll waste time and money. Do them in the right order—using some of the tools we’ve found here to help you along the way—and you’ll be much more likely to launch the right product at the right time and make it easy for your customers to access you.
Read more…

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Myths entrepreneurs tell themselves

in: Startups

My friend Raymond Luk has a great post on the ten tough questions entrepreneurs need to ask themselves before starting a company. He’s right on all counts, and if you’re considering a startup, you need to read them and answer them honestly.As I was reading the list, it reminded me of a recent conversation about some of the delusions that first-time startup owners have, and that need to be dispelled before they can really get to work. Read more…

Monday, October 20th, 2008

The other reason startups need to tighten their belt

in: Exit strategy, Funding, Startups

By now, you’ve probably heard about the grim tidings from VC meetings this month. If you haven’t, well, let’s just say your investors would like a word.

In the wake of economic collapse, founders and CEOs are being told to reel in spending and prepare for the worst. There are two obvious reasons to do this: Less funding and lower revenues. But it’s the third, less talked-about reason that should really make you worry.

Update: Stacey at GigaOm has a great piece on this, looking at some hard numbers.

Read more…

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