Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

The three kinds of CEO

in: Startups

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed that there are three kinds of CEO. If you run a startup, you’re one of these three. And there lie your strengths and weaknesses.

The good news is that by recognizing yourself, you can capitalize on your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses. The bad news is that many leaders don’t realize which of the three they are until it’s too late.

So today, it’s time to meet the product CEO, the sales CEO, and the finance CEO. And to decide which one you are.
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Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The opposite of startup: Observations from a remarkable week in New York

in: Anticipate, Create, Funding, Startups

I was in New York for an historic week. While in the city for three conferences and a weekend of R&R, I saw firsthand some of the changes that are happening to the financial markets. It’s no hyperbole to say that the past few days will shape the next century for much of the Western world, and they are the result of a free-market experiment gone horribly wrong.

Normally, I try to keep this blog focused on startups. But I wanted to share some of what I saw while there; I believe it holds some important lessons for entrepreneurs as well as a few guidelines for how to run your businesses in the coming drought.

On my arrival last week, I walked past Lehman Brothers mid-meltdown. Town cars were parked three deep, and suited executives with confidence-inspiring grey hair fled the guarded doors into the safe embrace of stretch Lincolns.

Towncars outside Lehman Brothers on September 16

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Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Syntenic turns up a new face

in: Startups

syntenic-logo.pngSyntenic, long a quiet force behind many websites, has turned up the noise considerably with the launch of their new website and offerings. I’ve known the guys at Syntenic for some time, and they’re a smart bunch (two of the executives contribute to the Bitcurrent technology blog.) But they’ve been too busy running production sites and building cloud computing solutions to toot their own horn.

No more. Their new site just launched, and with it a description of several cloud and managed hosting offerings. It’s great to see this kind of technical acumen in a Montreal company; the city is gradually evolving the kind of ecosystem that can support a thriving startup community.

Disclaimer: Rednod and Bitcurrent run on Syntenic’s servers. They’re smart enough that I’d risk seeming partisan by writing about them.

Monday, August 4th, 2008

One month to Bitnorth

in: Startups

BitnorthBitnorth’s fast approaching. We’re probably going to hit 30 attendees, which is just about the size we wanted, and there’s a wide variety of topics being planned.

The interesting part now will be to work with each of the Short Bit presenters and figure out how to cram something interesting into ten lean minutes. Many of the sessions are around the theme of “The Other 99 Percent,” and we have some panels around that too. So if you’re one of them (you know who you are) expect me to start stalking you this week.

Time to go order swag, now I know the attendee count. I suppose a T-Shirt is table stakes, but I’d love to find something more appealing/sustainable/durable.

If you haven’t signed up and paid for Bitnorth yet, this is your last week to do so.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Memo from the past: Don’t fight city hall

in: Competition, Create, Startups

Sometimes, the benefits of a new product are so awesomely, amazingly, tremendously good that people are willing to change their behaviors.

It’s not going to happen for you. Most of the time, people won’t work to try and understand a new approach. And no amount of education is going to change that.

koolaid6mixs.jpgThis is a fundamental challenge for entrepreneurs. We’re deep in the product, conjuring up reasons why it will win in order to attract investment and keep our employees motivated. But just because the rank and file is drinking the Kool-Aid doesn’t mean the rest of the world will.

There’s a great example of this, and it’s not just a small company example. It happened to the word processing industry.

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Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Startupdrinks in Montreal

in: Startups

If you’re in town this week, check out Startupdrinks at the Café des Éclusiers. Heri and the crew at Montrealtechwatch always throw a good bash, and they’re also promoting a Hacker Spaces initiative in the city. It’s great to see some tech entrepreneur buzz going on.

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