Beyond The Blog: Burning... Table of Contents
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Table of Contents

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
Beyond the Blog: Feld Thoughts

Editor’s Note

II. Be on Fire

Be on the Edge

Be Silent, Be Deadly

Start Up Your Attitude

III. Be In Love With Your Business
An Entrepreneurial Love Story

Intrinsic Motivation

IV. Don't Be in the 99%
The Dynamics of a 99% Committer

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 1
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning... Table of Contents
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Table of Contents

Tenacious and Oblivious

V. Ignorance Is Success
Ignore the Word “Bubble”

Ignore the Dow

Ignore the Naysayers

And One More Thing to Ignore

VI. Meet the New Boss, NOT the
Same as the Old Boss
Be the CEO of Your Job

The Power of a CEO 360 Review

The VP of People

Beware of Title Inflation

VII. Hire the Right People
Don’t Hire Too Early

Bring Pizza

Keep These 4 Things in Mind When Recruiting Programmers to Your Startup

Two Burning Entrepreneurs’ Philosophies on Interviewing

Getting The Compensation Conversation Right

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 2
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

OK. Stupid How to Raise Capital as a First-Time Entrepreneur Hyperink Blog to Book Series 3 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I Don't Hate Marketing... Table of Contents Beyond The Blog: Burning. Table of Contents VIII. Stupid! Obsession with the Product Start with Customer Experience The Product Cadence Should You Charge More for the Product? IX. the “What” Are Your Customers Your Best Marketing? XI.. It's Really the Money. Learning to Program: A Case Study Getting Started Websites and Books for Novice Programmers Working Together Debugging and Source Code Tools X. It's the Product.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Neither Should You Why a New Startup Shouldn’t Have a Marketing Budget I Don’t Hate Marketing Early Stage Marketing and Sales: The “Why” Vs.

.. Table of Contents Learn How to Pitch More Faster The Definition of an Angel Investor VC as a Produce Supplier Give Your VCs Assignments Don’t Forget to Bootstrap What’s the Best Structure for a Pre-VC Investment? Warning to All Entrepreneurs About Bad Investor Behavior XII.. Not Organization Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs Setting Up Your Accounting System Have You Ever Failed? XIII. Burning Examples Oblong Dazzles More Than Just Me Rally Software Builds a Great Company… and the Media Agrees In Praise of Return Path and SendGrid: Implementing Social Media’s Secret Weapon How Trada Works: Now Improved with Bing Gnip Is on Fire Hyperink Blog to Book Series 4 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Keeping Your You-Know-What Together Managing Priorities Focus on Outcomes. Table of Contents Beyond The Blog: Burning..Beyond The Blog: Burning.

.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Table of Contents Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Recommended Books for Burning Entrepreneurs Three Entrepreneurial Books to Read Before You Turn 21 The Lean Startup The Thank You Economy I Am John Galt The Founder’s Dilemma Inside Apple The Startup Game Hyperink Blog to Book Series 5 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Table of Contents XIV... Conclusion What It Is to Burn XV.

Introduction Hyperink Blog to Book Series 6 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .... Introduction I.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Introduction Beyond The Blog: Burning..

Beyond The Blog: Burning... Introduction
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Introduction

Beyond the Blog: Feld Thoughts
Feld Thoughts is a great example of truth in advertising. This blog, which has existed
since before blogging was cool, collects the thoughts of Brad Feld, investor, entrepreneur,
MIT grad, tech lover and marathoner.

Brad’s blog is a backstage pass to the 24/7 rock show that is tech startups. It is a master
class in startup investing for givers and takers of funds. It is a rolling critique of tech
products vast and simple (with enough edge to make the most scathing restaurant critic
in Manhattan blush). And it is the journal of a peripatetic marathoner who still believes he
will crack the four-hour mark someday.

From such Feld thoughts, we have constructed Burning Entrepreneur, the book on
startups that you would take to a desert island if it had electricity, a decent Internet
connection and angel investors. Burning Entrepreneur illuminates the actions and
attitudes required to launch, fund, and ignite your startup. Brad Feld is on fire. Find out
what happens when you stand too close.

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Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning... Introduction
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Introduction

Editor’s Note
Facebook. Google. Apple. They are the household names of the 21st century. Each
seemed to have come from nowhere to change our lives. They didn’t come from
nowhere. These giants and other innovative companies large and small have arisen from
a process of entrepreneurship, a unity of leadership, creativity, strategy, investment and
hard work.

Brad Feld understands that entrepreneurial process. He lives it and guides others through
it with his counsel and financing. As Brad writes, startups in the tech era are the spiritual
successors to rock bands during the British Invasion. Back then, everyone wanted to be
the next Beatles (or perhaps The Who, as they receive a shout-out on Brad’s blog).
Today, dreamers still huddle and sweat in garages, following the lead of Jobs, Page and
Zuckerberg in place of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Brad is at the center of this evolved
vibe: a mashup of the Fab Four’s watchmen Brian Epstein and George Martin. He acts as
manager, banker, producer, orchestrator and motivator. His combination of mentoring,
energy and relevance drew me to his blog.

In deriving Burning Entrepreneur from Brad’s blog writings, I sought his core philosophy
for shaping leaders who in turn shape startups. He focuses on people, those who create
companies and those who find value in the companies. The book includes information
about financing, administrative procedures, and product development. But mainly, it
contains flesh and blood. And fire.

I hope readers will enjoy and absorb Brad Feld’s wisdom and passion. He’s the guru-in-
the-wings who hasn’t forgotten how to shred a solo. He wants to get you out of the
garage and make you a star. He wants you to burn!

Jason Karpf


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Beyond The Blog: Burning... Be on Fire
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Be on Fire


Be on Fire

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 9
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

MOST HUMANS HAVE BRAIN. CHANGE IT REGULARLY. Burning Entrepreneur. IF WANT DO SOMETHING. IT HARD BECAUSE YOU WRONG. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 10 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . NEED BE ON FIRE. to catch the spark. I liked it so much that it is the inspiration for this book. in caveman-speak. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning. JUST SIT THERE. IDEA BY SELF IS COLD. Be on Fire Advice from FAKEGRIMLOCK @FAKEGRIMLOCK “WORLD LIKE UNDERWEAR. 2012 While pondering how Yoda would deal with Optimus Prime. WHY BURNING MATTER MAKE STARTUP HARD. I got a tweet from FAKEGRIMLOCK asking if I wanted a contribution from him.Beyond The Blog: Burning. ALL NEED IS BRAIN. DO NOTHING... I have included it below.. Without hesitation I said yes. Following all of its awesomeness (with illustrations). NEED FIRE. In fact. Read on. is another missive from my favorite dinobot.. YOU FAIL.” April 18. BE ON FIRE WORLD FULL OF IDEA.



. STARTUP NOT ABOUT MAKE THING.. Be on Fire EVERYONE WRONG. STARTUP ABOUT CHANGE WORLD. FIRE WIN EVERYWHERE. Anyone can do anything they want with this. YOU MUST LIGHT WORLD ON FIRE. BE ON FIRE FOR ANY JOB. In order to stay on the #NOEATFRIDAY list. FOR PERSONAL LIFE. including FAKEGRIMLOCK (as long as no infinite loops are created). I promised FAKEGRIMLOCK that this would be licensed under Creative Commons. FOR HOBBY. WORLD IS COLD. YOUR FIRE.Beyond The Blog: Burning. FOR YOU. YOU. Comment by kevinconroy GRIMLOCK WORLD VIEW TOO NARROW.. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning. SELL THING. BURN.. October 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 13 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . NOT JUST STARTUPS. MUST.

Texas with Gene.. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 14 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .” Before I could drive (so I must have been 15) my dad introduced me to a patient of his named Gene Scott. but as long as you know when to rest and pull back a little bit. let’s push you off a cliff. I’m sure medical dictation was one of them because my dad was always using his business. Sound too dangerous? This sensible advice comes from my dad. running a thriving endocrinology practice. As a kid I did very well in school. inquisitive teenager — I hung out with “the honors gang” but also liked plenty of time alone to read and explore new things. to give me business and software problems to work on. When I was 13. Be on Fire Be on the Edge If setting you on fire isn’t enough. Stanley Feld. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Gene was my second mentor (my dad was my first) and he introduced me to the wonders of technology entrepreneurship. My dad pushed me.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Gene and Brian had created one of the first consumer voice recognition systems. One day when driving home with my dad from lunch in Denton. I’m constantly pushing. I was a typical nerdy. It was called the Scott Instruments VET-2 (VET for “voice entry terminal”. It was during that car ride that my dad hit me with words that would prove to be fundamental for me: “If you aren’t standing on the edge you are taking up too much space. knowing that you must always continue stretching your own boundaries is a great thing. Gene had given me a VET-2 and I was bringing it home to plug into my Apple II and create all kinds of stuff with it. I think. looking for the edge of whatever I do. I sucked at anything mechanical so almost everything I explored was “in my mind. he was running a technology startup with his son Brian called Scott Instruments.” Thirty years later that line continues to be a defining characteristic for how I live my life. Gene had been a technology executive in the 1960s and 1970s. I think the 2 was because it worked on an Apple II). I bought my first computer (an Apple II) with my Bar Mitzvah money (and a little help from my dad). When I met him. loved to read.. I was overflowing with ideas. Comment by Michael Schade I agree that standing on the edge and pushing the envelope can sometimes become exhausting. and played sports (tennis and then running). firmly but gently.

June 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 15 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . both your own and society’s.. Be on Fire Once you stop pushing the edge. it’s so much harder to catch up. you stagnate. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning. and that’s like letting your copy of a software get really outdated: once you get behind. learn something new.... be productive.Beyond The Blog: Burning.

Beyond The Blog: Burning. Other entrepreneurs. Smart technical folks know who they are. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning.. When I look at the Foundry Group portfolio. 2011 Sure. They just do it. They are the unambiguous and dominant market leaders. They often aren’t based in the Bay Area.. or even $50 million revenue companies. They don’t spend a lot of time trying to get written up in TechCrunch. Be Deadly So we’ve set you on fire and told you to toe the nearest precipice. you are already too late” 26 December. When thinking about the characteristics of some of my favorite companies. or $20 million. let’s talk about putting the hurt on others (in a positive business sense). their customers and partners know who they are. And the geographic community that they are in know who they are since Hyperink Blog to Book Series 16 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Be on Fire Be Silent.. Before you think that being a burning entrepreneur only means taking punishment. before anyone has really noticed. especially ones who work with them in some way know who they are. Their CEO’s don’t run around bloviating about what they are going to do some day. @bfeld “if you are searching for the next big thing. we’ve got a bunch of silent killers in it. and without any real competition. a phrase popped into my head about what ties all of these companies together: they are the silent killers. And suddenly they are $10 million.

They don’t run around trying to get VCs interested in what they are doing. Their twitter streams are filled with substantive stuff. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning. Their people are everywhere they need to be.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Be on Fire they are often the leaders of their startup communities. And I love them. Their blogs are about their product and how it is used. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 17 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. they just do. These are the silent killers. They don’t waste their time hyping themselves.. Rather. and spend almost no time being places they don’t need to be. But they sneak up on you...

Get a special surprise. you’ll be a burning entrepreneur. putting energy into fluff marketing and PR.. the first thing to start up is your attitude. Having been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years I have found myself focusing 90% of my time with the team building product and 10% outwards. doing excellent inbound marketing. With this personality mashup.for free. Be on Fire Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Comment by Stephenjrauch I could not agree with you more. on the edge and on the attack silently. December 2011 Gift this book to your friends.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 18 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . etc VS. They are both famous.. The 10% outwards is spent when the time is right – not before and not after. hard-working. December 2011 Comment by Casey Schorr Seems a lot of people don’t get the difference between writing great content on your blog. Over the past several years I have found too many leaders focusing too much time outwards and not enough time building product.. I’ll take the Natalie Portman company every day – talented. A good example would be the difference between Paris Hilton and Natalie Portman.. puts energy into films vs. You must be on fire. Become a Hyperink reader.. trying to become “famous” in the industry. both of them “do marketing” but they do it very differently. Be on Fire Start Up Your Attitude When launching or growing a startup.

.. Be In Love With Your Business III.. Be In Love With Your Business Beyond The Blog: Burning. Be In Love With Your Business Hyperink Blog to Book Series 19 Hyperink Blog to Book Series ..Beyond The Blog: Burning.

did some trades in his hedge fund. But don’t let this totally chilled out Howard fool you. infectious. Howard was completely chilled out and more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him.. he was on the StockTwits website communicating with the stock community he’s helped create and loves. They must be thinking — every single waking moment — about how they are going to change the way the world interacts with the vertical market they are attacking. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 20 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . and wrote a few insightful (and funny) blog posts about the market including his discovery that the Tuscany VIX is always less than 10.Beyond The Blog: Burning. And it can’t happen in a vacuum (remember high school science class: fire needs oxygen). He loves stocks. but when he was working he knew exactly what he was going to work on. Howard defines this type of entrepreneur. We had a blast doing non-StockTwits/non-stock stuff. 2012 Creating the burning entrepreneur attitude asks a lot of you. sometimes crazy (like a fox). After four days of Tuscany. Be In Love With Your Business Beyond The Blog: Burning. mostly hilarious. put up a bunch of content on StockTwits. fascinating. My wife Amy and I spent a week in Tuscany with some friends. as in the L-word.. It’s wonderful..” May 23. super-high-energy-except-when-on-Ambien guy. Howard is the CEO of StockTwits. including Howard Lindzon. If you know Howard. you know he’s an always on. Your relationship with your business will drive your transformation into a burning entrepreneur. That is all.. Howard loves StockTwits. He loves the community of people that care about stocks. And he’s creating a company — a really interesting and important one — around his passion. and awesome. It was incredibly inspiring to be around. As the market was gyrating around he tweeted up a storm. a company we’ve been investors in for a few years. exciting. Be In Love With Your Business An Entrepreneurial Love Story @kveton “I fucking love my job. Entrepreneurs must be completely obsessed. And that relationship needs to be heavy. He was on his computer a lot. Whenever I looked over at him. He loves his business.

2012 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 21 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . If the answer is none of them.Beyond The Blog: Burning. I often ask the question “Which one are you in love with?” If there’s a quick response.. then the answer is easy.. Howard reminded me of this. When an entrepreneur is trying to decide between a couple of different ideas. reconsider how you are spending your time. Be In Love With Your Business We have chosen to invest with several other entrepreneurs who have similar characteristics.. that’s the answer to which one he should pursue.. @bfeld “Are you working on something you love and are obsessed about? If not. Be In Love With Your Business Beyond The Blog: Burning.” April 17.

I felt compelled to explain what intrinsic motivation is and used the following example to describe it. I was asked “what motivates me. I hope that every company that goes through TechStars benefits from it. since my goal is to learn from everything I do.” I then went on to explain that I’m motivated by learning. “Tonight. publishing.. that I was spending time with him because I hoped to learn something from every interaction I had.. During the past four years I’ve spent a lot of time with first time entrepreneurs through the creation and development of TechStars program. I’m doing it because I enjoy it and I learn from it.” Before I answered. Be In Love With Your Business Beyond The Blog: Burning. I hope that TechStars is a success. Be In Love With Your Business Intrinsic Motivation A business that teaches you is a business with motivation built into it.” Over time. I’ve expanded the range of things that contribute to my learning. I finally stopped him and explained the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. While I hope you have fun. which led to learning about creating. I’ll spend about 90 minutes talking to y’all. At a talk I gave to a room full of first year graduate business school students. I hope that people learn from it. I hope that the book that David and I have written is well received. That led to me writing Do More Faster with David Cohen. and enjoy our time together. In fact. In each of these cases.Beyond The Blog: Burning. As part of that. I’ve decided to spend my entire professional life learning about entrepreneurship and have decided that my laboratory is “creating and helping build software and Internet companies.. He kept thanking me for what I was doing for him and then asking me what he could do for me. and promoting a book. I’d much rather you give me feedback about things you think could have improved our 90 minutes together. in short. But none of these are why I spent enormous amounts of time and energy on each activity. While I’ve presented this as an absolute (e. that’s not the reason I’m doing it. I told him that I had no expectation that he’d do anything for me. I decided to try to codify some of what I’d learned. I’m intrinsically motivated. it’s a business you can love.g.. I was in a conversation with someone who was clearly extrinsically motivated. I won’t feel better or worse if you do. you are either intrinsically or extrinsically Hyperink Blog to Book Series 22 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . While I hope it is useful to you. learn something. He approached me as though I was extrinsically motivated.

Get a special surprise. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 23 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Be In Love With Your Business Beyond The Blog: Burning. That philosophy and world outlook has a distinct Buddhist characteristic. I know that it’s a spectrum for almost everyone (including me). while the intrinsically motivated are always happiest in the moment. Be In Love With Your Business motivated)..for free. October 2010 Gift this book to your friends. but I’m not sure I’d ever try to make the general case as different things create satisfaction and happiness for different people.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. and very useful. Become a Hyperink reader. But I think it’s important. to understand which end of the spectrum someone is on.. Don’t assume everyone is like you! Comment by Mark Essel Did you come to find intrinsic motivation as a source of greater satisfaction and happiness? I can imagine extrinsic motivation to be a never-ending chase.. October 2010 Reply by Brad Feld It definitely is for me...

Don't Be in the 99% Beyond The Blog: Burning...Beyond The Blog: Burning. Don't Be in the 99% Hyperink Blog to Book Series 24 Hyperink Blog to Book Series ... Don't Be in the 99% IV.

and getting more information. by not fully committing the 99% committer gets to keep playing out things on the edges. prodding. although it definitely runs the risk of creating real fatigue on both parties. Comment by Fred Davis Right on! An entrepreneur who isn’t 100% (or 1000%!) isn’t really an entrepreneur… they’re an employee. A burning entrepreneur can hold nothing back! I heard a great phrase: “he’s a 99% committer.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Furthermore. I’m always able to make a decision. Specifically. the velocity of what I get done is extremely high and I have very little emotional decision-backlog stored up. from a control perspective. this is effective. although I’m not unhappy with the outcome. By not being a 99% committer. but there was some question about outcome for a few days. I’m focusing on the person who is able to make a unilateral decision. but you stall. so the other party feels compelled to give you more information and hold the door open as long as they can.. an investment committee. You are almost there.. and then leaves it a little open. Don't Be in the 99% The Dynamics of a 99% Committer You can’t be a burning entrepreneur unless you’re “all in” with your decisions and commitment. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 25 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. The person ultimately committed and all was good. As a result. or a decision-making group. gets 99% of the way there. Forget about the way you hedged your bets when you worked for someone else. To be clear. Rather. I’m not criticizing the 99% committer — it’s a very effective style for some people as it generates a lot of control and option value in situations.. and move on. But this isn’t me. I’m annoyed with my own behavior. As long as the other party doesn’t disengage. And when I reflect on the few cases where I’ve played the role of a 99% committer. I separate this from a process issue. Being 99% certain is not good enough. Now.” It was in the context of trying to get something to closure where I felt like someone had committed but it was ambiguous. where the person is on board personally but going through an internal process with a partnership. there is a lot of option value associated with being a 99% committer. Don't Be in the 99% Beyond The Blog: Burning. You must eliminate the hesitation (even if it’s a 1% hesitation) bred in the corporate world. poking. deal with the consequences (good or bad).

. July 2011 Comment by Tim Rohde “99% committers.Beyond The Blog: Burning..” as you describe them. A 99% commitment is work in process – the most expensive load on a production cycle.. Don't Be in the 99% entrepreneur… they’re an employee. Don't Be in the 99% Beyond The Blog: Burning. July 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 26 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . A decision is a type of work. can ruin a startup..

Beyond The Blog: Burning. when you’re tenacious and oblivious. or why someone doesn’t want something to happen. back to that fear thing. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 27 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . 2012 During a particularly informative evening and day in Colorado Springs. He stated that the two most important things about him were that he is “tenacious” and “oblivious”.. The class that we spoke to was a freshman seminar about “Being Your Own Boss”. He simply does not give up. and it’s good enough to make you a burning entrepreneur. he’s a learning machine. tenacity defines him. That made perfect sense to me and is a characteristic of many of the great entrepreneurs I’ve worked with over the years. Notice I didn’t use the cliche of “110%. My favorite of them was a talk that I gave to a freshman class at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs with John Street. you’ll never take off. I participated in a number of entrepreneur-related events. I was puzzled by oblivious until John explained it. Having known John for many years. He said that he’s oblivious to why something can’t be done. or why something is difficult. While he can appear stubborn. open to any feedback.. Don't Be in the 99% Tenacious and Oblivious I’ve often said that two emotions that are irrelevant for an entrepreneur are fear and anxiety. John and I quickly told our stories and then spent the majority of the time answering questions.” January 9. Don't Be in the 99% Beyond The Blog: Burning. My favorite quote from Dune is “Fear is the mind killer” and many people get confused and don’t understand the difference between panic and urgency (where panic is just a more extreme version of anxiety.. One of them was something like: “What characteristics have made you successful?” John went first.) @bfeld “If you are afraid of exploding. I view this as a perfect example of a tenacious entrepreneur. So. constantly asking questions — especially when faced with challenges — and searching for better approaches on his quest to solving any problem he encounters. you’ll make the giant jump from 99% commitment to 100%.” It’s hard enough to give your all. a long time friend and one of the first entrepreneurs I met when I moved to Boulder..

Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Don't Be in the 99% Comment by Allen Price As an older entrepreneur. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 28 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . and and the “will I be able to afford retirement” questions loom closer by the day. and tenacity is the killer of fear. I’ll freely admit I wasn’t schooled in tenacity as a youth..for free. Don't Be in the 99% Beyond The Blog: Burning... If I fall on my face I can’t crawl back home to the room I grew up in and let Mom and Dad feed me while I lick my wounds. it can bring complete paralysis if you let it. but I’ve learned over the years that having a passion. September 2011 Gift this book to your friends. Fear is not only the mindkiller. my own house. The only solution I’ve found is to keep moving forward one step at a time. a real passion.. Get a special surprise. I have my own family. is the fuel of tenacity.. Become a Hyperink reader. I face down fear every day.

.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Ignorance Is Success V.. Ignorance Is Success Beyond The Blog: Burning... Ignorance Is Success Hyperink Blog to Book Series 29 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .

and I adjust my behavior accordingly. double toil and trouble. A variety of people were using it to describe the current situation. Ignorance Is Success Ignore the Word “Bubble” Conventional wisdom is for cube dwellers and butt kissers. the great Internet bubble inflated between 1999 and 2000 and deflated (or popped) in 2001. I pay attention to what is going on around me. and caldron bubble. Fire burn. Clear the air so your fire can burn! “Double. in hindsight. I made a lot of mistakes in 1999 and 2000 that I’ve hopefully learned from. While plenty of tech bloggers were tossing around the word “bubble”. And then I remember Charles Mackay’s classic book Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds. such as “we are in a bubble” are useless.” – Macbeth Every time I hear the word “bubble” I think of that quote from Macbeth. Such “wisdom” frequently comes from reading Wall Street tea leaves and hanging on every word of self-appointed pundits. I refuse to make predictions as the only thing I know with certainty is that someday I will be dead. When I returned from a week off the grid I encountered the word “bubble” over and over again when referring to the tech industry.. even though it was very painful. Ignorance IS success when you ignore the data dumps. I believe I have. the great Internet bubble of 2001 was very powerful and useful to me. I took on a lot of challenging things between 2001 and 2005 that laid the groundwork for the business context that I find myself in today.. But more interestingly I saw it in my Twitter feed from some entrepreneurs and VCs who I respect a lot. the talking heads and the naysayers. not for burning entrepreneurs. I also think of Tulip Mania and the South Sea Company which purportedly was the source of the concept of an economic bubble.Beyond The Blog: Burning. I remember it well as 2001 was easily the most challenging year of my business life. Ignorance Is Success Beyond The Blog: Burning. But I think making predictions with certainty. So. I view predictions as irrelevant in the context of what I am working on and trying to accomplish. especially in the Hyperink Blog to Book Series 30 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Sure. This had been going on for at least a quarter or two.. I also noticed it among the mainstream media. but the velocity of it seemed to have picked up with a wave of high-priced VC investments along with large financing endeavors for nascent companies. I have hypotheses about what’s going to happen. In the tech industry..

Don’t get distracted by speculating about “bubbles” other than the ones in your bathtub. building an awesome organization. Ignorance Is Success Beyond The Blog: Burning.” that’s more than enough.. but that we don’t know if it’ll be in a week.. spend your energy creating amazing products. positive. month.. entrepreneurs just put their heads down and continued to accelerate the current web revolution which started around 2004 with “Web 2. You should accept that we’ll be back in a downward part of the cycle at some point. In 2008. Instead. everyone in business and politics was consumed with the “global economic crisis”. Always remember that one day you too will be dead. with the naysayers starting to say “but it’s a bubble” or some variant. If you are an entrepreneur. thrilling your customers. However. or decade. and living your life. If you recognize that we are in a strong. upward segment of the current “tech company creation cycle.. sustainable business by taking advantage of market expansion during the up cycle and consolidating your position during the down cycle. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 31 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . you can build a significant. There is once again enormous focus on entrepreneurship as the salvation for many things.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Ignorance Is Success absence of recommendations about what to do to either defend against or take advantage of the situation. powerful. year.0” being articulated by Tim O’Reilly.

although lots of people disagree on what they actually mean (e. Ignorance Is Success Beyond The Blog: Burning. Down: depressed. I agree with you completely. When the market went down... Maybe it was too much coffee or not enough sleep. they tend to be more risk-averse in their startup investing. As an entrepreneur.Beyond The Blog: Burning. but it’s no different than watching McEnroe when he’s announcing a Nadal–Federer match. get back to work on something you can have an impact on! Comment by Brett Topche If you’re talking about venture-backed companies and companies that don’t need outside capital. August 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 32 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Up: happy. as my home page. When it went up I got the emotional equivalent of a sugar high.01s. but it got even worse when the market shifted from 1/8s to 0. Ignorance Is Success Ignore the Dow Tom Evslin had a post titled “Don’t Watch The Dow!” that caused me to say “right on. there is a segment that should keep an eye on it: companies seeking capital from angels.. Sure. However. I find a lot of smaller angel investors (particularly those who did not make their money in tech entrepreneurship) pull back when public markets take a hit. generating plenty of CPM-based revenue for Yahoo. It’s just sport.. it was also all noise. Up: smile. and 2001 I had a my Yahoo page up with a bunch of stocks. And this was all before lunchtime. When they are less secure in the rest of their portfolios. the broad cycles had impact. While the most active angels are unlikely to be significantly affected by the swings in the stock market.” In 1999. As a long term VC investor. I felt sad. I was bummed. Now. including a number of companies I was an investor in. I’d hit refresh 5. I’ve learned that none of the short-term moves in the stock market matter at all in my life.g. Down: cranky. do VCs actually benefit long-term from down cycles? Are the best companies started in recessions when everything is cheaper and more available?).321 times a day. this was all noise. 2000. When it went back down again. Over time. It’s occasionally entertaining to turn on CNBC and see my friend Paul Kedrosky in the octobox telling all the other people that they don’t actually understand macro-economics.

and iterate as they. inspiring.. If you are an entrepreneur. and practices. like we are right now. and learns. He learns.. Throughout. The great entrepreneurs just keep building their companies. He then discovers others like him. And then spend another hour. Established companies and government suddenly wake up to the power of innovation and try to co-opt the energy. including his great mentors. I read it again and it was as powerful. blow up. Random people. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 33 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I’ve read it several times over the last 35 years. but probably hadn’t read it in over a decade.. My first business partner.. and learns. their customers. Young Jonathan realizes he is different and then cast out. The quick buck artists appear. get better. take one-hour out of your day this week and read Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Dave Jilk (now the Standing Cloud founder / CEO). These entrepreneurs are just like Jonathan Livingston Seagull. They just keep at it and the very best ones shut out and ignore all the noise. The media is aggressively negative presumably in the quest for getting readership. who get notoriety for themselves. and their people. I’m often asked what books I’d recommend to an entrepreneur (especially an aspiring entrepreneur). experiments. but he discovers himself. make mistakes. gave it to me as a birthday gift.Beyond The Blog: Burning. he does what he loves the most: he flies. Entitlement behavior runs rampant. and learn. Money becomes a central topic of many conversations. tries new things. makes mistakes. take chances. I start seeing all kinds of weird stuff appear. thinking about it. and enlightening as I remembered it. And they learn. Whenever we are in the upswing of an entrepreneurial cycle. I assure you that it’ll be worth the time. and learn. alone. and their organizations. They create things that delight. They focus relentlessly on their products. Ignorance Is Success Beyond The Blog: Burning. Ignorance Is Success Ignore the Naysayers I read Jonathan Livingston Seagull for the first time in 1975 when I was about 10 years old. The word bubble becomes so popular that a bubble builds around using the word bubble. There are two: Jonathan Livingston Seagull and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. And then he becomes the mentor and teaches other young seagulls to discover themselves.

Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 34 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . newspaper.. For a while I managed to ignore them completely. The prognostications become stronger and bolder. Ignorance Is Success Beyond The Blog: Burning.. This has been one of my pet peeves for 20+ years.” every magazine.for free. You get a finite number of years on this planet — make the most of all of them. Ignorance Is Success And One More Thing to Ignore As much of a New Year’s ritual as belting out “Auld Lang Syne. written by Bill Duggan.. What a fucking waste of human energy. Become a Hyperink reader. Gift this book to your friends. Get a special surprise.. no matter what is going on around you.. The analysis by hindsight intensifies. Find a dharma that fits your karma (more on that when I review Strategic Intuition: The Creative Spark in Human Achievement from Columbia Business School. I was merely helping perpetuate this silliness.Beyond The Blog: Burning. and most of the online publications known to man put together their “year in review” and their “new year prediction” editions. The energy that goes into the “year in review” and “prediction” stuff seems to be significantly greater in “extreme” (both good and bad) times. At some point I started getting asked for my predictions and succumbed to my ego for a few years and participated in the prediction folly. At some point I realized that there was zero correlation between my predictions and reality and that by participating. It doesn’t benefit anybody..

NOT the Same.. NOT the Same. Meet the New Boss.. Meet the New Boss.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Beyond The Blog: Burning.... NOT the Same as the Old Boss Hyperink Blog to Book Series 35 Hyperink Blog to Book Series ... Meet the New Boss. VI.

the burning entrepreneur won’t get fooled again! Having a CEO’s command begins even before you become one. becoming a category of behavior throughout your career. and she kept coming back and saying. Go figure it out. Leaders figure out ways to solve issues/problems while victims look 2 place blame. Fred Wilson. Support.... also an investor in Zynga. It stuck with me and I’ve thought about it many times since. I think that was a big lesson for me because what I realized was that if you give people really big jobs to the point that they’re scared. She was young.. You’re the person in charge.. Mark Pincus.” And I said: “I don’t want to hear about it. which really nails this concept. Do NOT become the type of “leader” who gets ahead in the traditional corporate world by enshrining mediocrity and exterminating talent. the CEO of Zynga.” She spent a week or two meeting every vendor and figuring it out. But Fred left out a great example from one of Mark’s earlier companies.. Same as the old boss.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Be the CEO of Your Job @JeremyBloom11 “2 types of people. Congratulations… now don’t blow it! Do NOT morph into every manager and executive you’ve ever hated. She ended up running our whole office. Beyond The Blog: Burning. they have way more fun and they improve their game much faster. riffed on the phrase “be the CEO of your job” in a board meeting a year or so ago. (BTW. wrote a post in 2010 titled “Empowering Your Team” that talks about one aspect of this. Meet the New Boss. of Something?” Among other things it explored the idea of being the CEO of your job. Just buy it. “We had this really motivated.” April 10. A burning entrepreneur must be a new type of CEO and demand similar innovation from the core team.” Instead of spending a lot of his time solving the problem.” However. or setting up a committee to Hyperink Blog to Book Series 36 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . smart receptionist. She was so motivated by that. “Mark. Meet the New Boss..O. NOT the Same.. 2012 It’s your startup. We kept outgrowing our phone systems. org charts make great kindling for your flame!) The Who gave us one of the saddest and truest lyrics in rock history: “Meet the new boss. The NY Times did a great “corner office” interview with Mark titled “Are You a we’ve got to buy a whole new phone system..Leaders and Victims. NOT the Same.

she was the one who felt the most pain from the inadequate phone system and was probably in the best position to figure out a solution. While this is pretty meta. but most of the time I let the CEOs be CEO. spend a month figuring out the phone system. Some CEOs do this naturally and. Beyond The Blog: Burning. I realize I haven’t done a good job of encouraging the CEOs to make everyone in their organization CEO of the job.. However. do you encourage everyone in the company to be CEO of their job? Is this culturally (and functionally) acceptable? Do they get rewarded for taking risks and succeeding (or failing) like you do? If not. I’m certainly not perfect and have moments where I just jump in and try to solve a specific problem. Meet the New Boss. not surprisingly.. if you applied the lens of “be the CEO of your job” not just to your techniques in managing others. Meet the New Boss. when I contemplate that type of managing-the-details behavior. consider the following questions: If you are the CEO of an entrepreneurial organization.. would they be more effective if they did? Finally. he gave her the responsibility of solving the entire problem. it’s an important starting point as I already think this way all the time. NOT the Same. So I’m naturally wired to encourage them to be CEO of their own job.” As the receptionist.. would you behave any differently? Hyperink Blog to Book Series 37 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . He anointed her “CEO of her job. Applying these practices to your situation. but to your own job..Beyond The Blog: Burning. NOT the Same. or asking someone more senior to the receptionist to figure it out.... these are generally the highest-achieving companies. I work with CEOs every day.

confidential discussion. NOT the Same. I concur with the idea that it would be great if the board would also subject itself to a Hyperink Blog to Book Series 38 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Most interestingly to me was the value of the conversation. Meet the New Boss. It is an important message to everyone. direct. It reminded me how powerful this is when it’s done correctly.Beyond The Blog: Burning. you’d better! Comment by Carl Robinson. I conduct CEO 360 reviews on a regular basis for both developmental purposes and to get a read on. By having this type of a candid conversation across the team and the board. “is this CEO cut out to lead this company into the future?” It takes guts to go through one of these and... What makes the situation extraordinary is the fact that he’s comfortable enough with himself (and his team) to step out of the room and allow us (board and management) to have a candid. Do you have the guts.. the results are not what the CEO wants to hear. CEOs with healthy egos can use this type of assessment to help them accelerate their growth.. Beyond The Blog: Burning.D. In this particular case. frequently. The Power of a CEO 360 Review Here’s another way to not be the “old boss”: Get your ass out of the room! I sat through an annual CEO 360 review at a company that has been very serious about executive development since inception. honesty and commitment to excellence to embrace this process? If you want to be a burning entrepreneur. The facilitator is not an employee of the company but has worked with the entire management team on executive development as they’ve grown over the past 5+ years. it creates real clarity around where the personal growth opportunities for the CEO are... This company is doing extremely well and the CEO is excellent.. but this particular CEO 360 Review motivated me to rethink that and encourage it in more cases. if they are willing to use the data to fine tune how they go about leading. NOT the Same. the entire board and management team had an hour-long facilitated discussion without the CEO in the room.. Meet the New Boss. A minority of the companies I’m on the board of do this. but are what they need to hear. the company continues to evolve and the CEO knows he has opportunities to continue to grow. Even though this group has worked together for a long time. Ph.

“What can I do differently to help the CEO or the board work more effectively?” December 2010 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 39 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . NOT the Same...Beyond The Blog: Burning. Meet the New Boss. Beyond The Blog: Burning... review of this type. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard CEOs lament about the challenges they have trying to get their board members to work more effectively together... but the board members never ask. NOT the Same... Meet the New Boss.

. The VP of People must be part of the executive team and report to the CEO. This isn’t just the CEO to VP interactions. intellectual. NOT the Same. This used to be called “professional development” but. Since I believe that life is one big video game. NOT the Same. level up. And. I view it as a key role if you are growing headcount at least 50% year over year and have more than 20 people in the company. The VP of People is the go-to person on the executive team for other executive team members. It’s the VP of People’s job to A) Help everyone work through the issues. Beyond The Blog: Burning. but by having another executive in the mix.” I think it misses the broader point as I’m not just talking about professional development. including the CEO.. as several of our portfolio companies continue their incredible growth rates. especially executives in a company. it focuses energy on solving the problems.. I’ve had the privilege to work with a handful of amazing VPs of People. like “HR. or avoiding.. The VP of People is responsible for helping everyone on the executive team. Today. Meet the New Boss. Many companies that I’ve been involved in have viewed the VP of HR as “key recruiter and HR administrator.” This is not very useful. I think it’s worth asking the question “Why not?” Aren’t people the most important resource you are adding to your company? 2. Every CEO I’ve ever worked with either pays too little attention or too much attention to the dynamics of the people on the executive team. And... it’s the VP to VP interaction dynamics. I prefer to call it “VP of People” since we are people after all. Over the past five years. and B) Summarize what’s going on to the CEO. Meet the New Boss. iin a startup that is growing. 3. If the CEO isn’t willing to have the VP of People on his executive team. not “human resources” or “HRs”.Beyond The Blog: Burning. and personal Hyperink Blog to Book Series 40 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I have three basic principles for each of them. The VP of People A decade ago I didn’t pay much attention to the VP of HR position. rather than stacking up. When VP issues blow up. I’ve been involved in recruiting a few new ones to these companies. 1. issues... title inflation not withstanding (see following). In particular. leveling up in your job should be the goal of everyone. CEOs often lose huge chunks of time to trying to figure out how to manage through or mitigate the issues. There will be cases where the CEO needs to get involved. this perspective quickly and dramatically underpositions the VP of People as you’ll see in my next principle. but emotional.

grow in value.. The VP of People can do this assuming he is on the executive team and is a peer with the other executives. CFO. and Senior Counsel and I can tell you from personal experience that reporting anywhere other than to the CEO guarantees that the position is primarily administrative with a side order of toothless cheerleading. If you are a CEO of a fast-growing company with more than 20 people...Beyond The Blog: Burning.. development. NOT the Same.. Meet the New Boss. NOT the Same. I can’t agree more. And thanks for replacing the tired and misguided “most important asset” line by calling employees a company’s “most important resource”: people aren’t assets. Meet the New Boss. At various times in my career. There is no possible way a CEO can focus on this effectively across his team. and now CEO of my own start-up.. June 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 41 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . do you have a VP of People? Comment by Allen Price As the former “VP of people” for three successful start-ups.. when treated right. I have reported to the CEO. Reporting to the CEO and sitting on the executive team is the only way the people in that position can have any real effect on the culture and the emotional intelligence of the organization. former Human Capital consultant.. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Assets are purchased and depreciate but people. Brad.

I always carry this metaphor around in my head (e.” More importantly. I like to think of them as “head of something. I heard the phrase “be the CEO of your job” from Mark Pincus and have used it many times over the years. being an effective CEO of your job?’). Beware of Title Inflation Even though I believe in creative. Suddenly. Take everyone that directly reports to you and change their title to “head of X. Meet the New Boss.” I hate title inflation. Keep doing this down the hierarchy.. CSO. NOT the Same. As I mentioned earlier.. when I meet someone new and I see that their title is “Senior Technology Strategist – Digital Products Division.. have each of your direct reports do this for their direct reports. it’s everywhere. regardless of where the person sits in the organization. I’ve seen more business cards or email sigs lately with adjectives like “executive” or “senior” or “senior executive” or “special” or “chief” in front of more traditional titles (e. such as a COO. CRO. And. “vice president”). CDO.. This scales up and down the organization since the receptionist in a company is the “head of meeting people when they walk in the door and making sure they are comfortable and find their way to the meeting they are there for. I’m always trying to figure out what they are going to be the CEO (or head) of.. When I think about roles. To follow. Then examine whether there is overlap that is unnecessary. CPO. Then when I have the inevitable board member/executive discussion about roles and responsibilities when there are issues. authentic titles like “VP of People. Whenever I’m talking to someone about their role in a company. it forces senior execs. this is a problem.” even if it is one specific thing...” That lets me focus on the “something” that the person is responsible for. are the right people the right heads of things? Then. Do you Hyperink Blog to Book Series 42 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . put “head of X” for each person.” Scribble this on a white board and see if you have all the X’s you need for your whole company covered. NOT the Same. If you are CEO of a company.g. in and of itself. Forbes even ran a funny/sad piece on some of the more ridiculous new “chiefs” in Corporate America.Beyond The Blog: Burning. CIO. Beyond The Blog: Burning.” I try to figure out what they are “the head of. CAO.. try the following exercise. CTO. the executive. and see if there are big holes. Rather than worry about titles.g. The “chief” one is especially bizarre since it’s not always obvious whether the CSO is a “Chief Sales Officer” or a “Chief Security Officer”. Meet the New Boss. or CFO to define clearly what they are the “head” of. ‘Are you.

Beyond The Blog: Burning. don’t let it confuse you when you think about who is doing what in your company. Comment by Dave Taylor Thank you for writing this..Beyond The Blog: Burning. If it’s just three of you. NOT the Same. Meet the New Boss.. Meet the New Boss.. if you are a CEO...and power-driven).... May 2011 Gift this book to your friends.for free. and considering how to make your organization most effective. Brad. Become a Hyperink reader. I was recently talking with an early- stage startup and had to repress my snicker when they introduced themselves as CEO..and culture-driven) or external to a company (mostly ego. Get a special surprise. you’re probably not “chief” or “officer. You are stepping back to figure out how to best execute your goals. CTO and COO. NOT the Same.” My druthers: identify your functional area (“tech guy”) and don’t worry about the corporate management structure until you have enough employees to justify the effort. have what you need covered? Is there duplication and overlap? Are the right people heads of the right things? While it may not be possible to kill title inflation for a variety of reasons.. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 43 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . both internal to a company (mostly ego.

. Hire the Right People Hyperink Blog to Book Series 44 Hyperink Blog to Book Series ..Beyond The Blog: Burning. Hire the Right People VII... Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning.

We lost $5. I think we broke even for a month or two but then lost $10. but was an outstanding programmer). We called Nynex and got some phone lines. but they also didn’t produce anything and since we were doing everything on a fixed price basis. We had some business. We borrowed someone’s pickup truck and went and bought some shitty used furniture somewhere for a couple of hundred dollars. On Monday October 19th. Mike (a friend from Petcom who lived in Texas but moved to Cambridge for the summer to work on our first product.. but was an equally amazing programmer). Dave brought his old college half-refrigerator into the office. We figured we’d find some business somewhere. We decided to rent an office across the street from our fraternity (the fourth floor of 875 Main Street) and go for it.6% of its value. but not much. I took the T home that Hyperink Blog to Book Series 45 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . This was true. thinking about what mistakes we made (and boy did we make a lot of mistakes. ft. and Rob (I can’t remember where we met Rob). a bunch of DOS API calls). Ever the optimistic entrepreneurs.. beyond Bellflower. We went to Service Merchandise (I think that’s what it was called) and bought a few phones.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Our “team” went back to school (including me — I was doing the second year of my masters degree) so we rationalized that our costs would be lower because people wouldn’t be working as much. We then hired about a half-dozen people. We rented 1600 sq. We “borrowed” a plant or two from somewhere.. Hire the Right People Don’t Hire Too Early I was pondering the early days of Feld Technologies tonight. Both Dave Jilk and I started working full-time on Feld Technologies in the summer of 1987. we kept losing money.) I wound the clock all the way back to the beginning (sometime in 1987) and tried to figure out what the first major mistake we made that could have killed the company.000 or so the next month (I’m making the numbers up. 1987 the stock market lost 22.000 in August when we had an office full of people but no business. Dan (another frat brother who was also frequently stoned. Mike (a frat brother who was usually stoned. we didn’t panic. Bellflower Dental Group). I remember sitting around in Dave’s office listening to the radio. and Dave had recently quit Viewlogic to help start Feld Technologies. DOSBox.. I had just gotten my undergraduate degree from MIT. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. I remember all of them: Pat (who was already working for me and had worked for me the previous summer on our one major client. these are the approximate ones).

and moved our offices into the spare bedrooms in our respective apartments (we both lived in One Devonshire Place in downtown Boston. wondering if the world was going to come to an end.) It took us another year before we hired our “next first” employee. Hiring too early almost killed us. We also realized that we (Dave and I) were doing all the work. Hire the Right People night. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 46 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I didn’t have any stocks of significance. but this was my first real awareness of financial panic.) We started paying $50 / month for an office share in Faneuil Hall Marketplace so we could have a real business address (6 Faneuil Hall Marketplace.) We had no overhead (I think we used the same desks and phones for a couple of years.000 a month after paying ourselves decent salaries. By that time... We somehow got out of our lease. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. they were good guys. we were making a profit of $10.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. put almost all the crap we had bought (except a few desks and phones) into storage in Somerville. Shawn. so this didn’t really impact me. Now. but they were going to school and our clients and our business weren’t their top priority.. but paying everyone else. We fired everyone a few days later. We realized we couldn’t keep losing money because we had none (duh).

vibrant room-wide group conversation. May 2012 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 47 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. because they won’t.. but Angus’ line made me think about always showing up with something that everyone will remember.Beyond The Blog: Burning. “drunk food” mecca before deciding what to bring. He said something like: “If you want to recruit great software developers. I haven’t decided what version of pizza I’m bringing for each. It was a dinner for about 50 angel investors – a mix of experienced ones and new ones – organized by Jon Pierce. especially in an entrepreneurial context.m.” While he said this in the context of recruiting software developers. in addition to simply showing up in the first place. Just show up and be generous with your time. I think this is true of building relationships with anyone in college you are interested in working with. If they’re working hard. rather than wait for them to come to you. great developers tend to be decided about what they are doing for a while. But I’d ask around to find their local 3 a.. they’ll remember that forever. He had a bunch of great ideas. show up at the computer science lab with a bunch of pizza the night before a major project is due. A few of us (including me) gave short talks and there was a long.. The market is fully employed and while there is some movement between companies. but one stood out. Just show up and bring pizza. Engage and go to where the people are. which is probably the most important point of all. Just show up and do something memorable that is helpful in the moment. Angus Davis followed me for the short talks. This afternoon I’m teaching a class at Harvard with Jeff Bussgang and then tonight I’m teaching a class at MIT with Ken Zolot. Hire the Right People Bring Pizza Once again we are in a zone where hiring software developers is incredibly challenging. Comment by Noel Baron This is a perfect way to connect on their level while planting seeds of loyalty. and you suddenly show up with the food they all crave. Last night I was at Angel Boot Camp in Boston..

continue to aggressively search for great software developers to join their team. when I look at the Foundry Group Jobs Page. Be careful who you pick to do the interviewing. Program with the person live. and headcount) in 2011.. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. like many of the companies we’ve invested in. Hire the Right People Keep These 4 Things in Mind When Recruiting Programmers to Your Startup Chris Dixon has an excellent post titled “Recruiting Programmers to Your Startup. In the feedback was a great short list of four additional things that Niel Robertson. You can do this on a whiteboard or on a computer. which includes a four hour coding exercise. I sent the link for the post out to the Foundry Group CEO email list and it generated a great discussion thread. and I know this list undercounts since not all of the companies we are investors in are listed there.” The post.. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 48 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . 4. are full of super useful stuff that every entrepreneur should read carefully. They. had spectacular growth (both revenue. customers.. and others. and the comments. 3. You want to showcase your best engineers in the process balanced with those who are good interviewers (which can be wildly different). We lost a great candidate because our process was in flux and he sussed out our eng management wasn’t committed to the new way. We’re going to move to the on-a-computer version: over and over I’m hearing this is the best way to learn someone’s skills.. 2.Beyond The Blog: Burning. including one of the companies sharing about their full-day interview/evaluation process. I see well over 100 open positions for developers across our portfolio. Reference check — oh man how many times do I have to learn this lesson! Trada. the CEO of Trada (and an amazing programmer in his own right) has learned over the years: 1. Have an awesome engineering process that you are pros at and can showcase in the interview.

if you are hiring. PERSON MUST BE AWESOME 2. I expect this to continue for a while given the obvious supply/demand imbalance for great people. So. Hire the Right People It’s an extremely tight hiring market for software developers right now... THEIR AWESOME MUST FIT WITH YOUR AWESOME. read Chris’s post and be thoughtful about how you go about this..Beyond The Blog: Burning. December 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 49 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Comment by FAKE GRIMLOCK TWO KEYS TO HIRE: 1. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning.

People are “acting” in order to get a job.. The candidate’s responsiveness during the interview process. that will eventually be revealed. and is an awesome place to work.. Hire the Right People Two Burning Entrepreneurs’ Philosophies on Interviewing 1. Never sacrifice your culture. Today it is a profitable. 250-person company that is growing quickly. Someone who is self-aware and mature will take it in and own it. so I very much value her point of view on interviewing. then make sense of how she had that impact. People can’t help but be themselves. This creates a bit of productive stress and Hyperink Blog to Book Series 50 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Does your candidate send a thank-you note? Data point. An immature person will get defensive or refute it. but she’s been there for as long as I can remember.) Angela Baldonero’s Philosophy on Interviewing I can’t remember when Angela Baldonero joined Return Path. Interviews take time and people can only fake it for so long. Here are Baldonero’s main points: Everything is data. If they’re “putting on a show” in the interview process. suck up a ton of management bandwidth. I invested in Return Path eleven years ago at the very beginning of its life. Fiercely protect your culture. Highly-qualified yet bad-attitude hires wreak havoc with your culture. dominates its market segment. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. People are wiggy about feedback. It doesn’t matter if the candidate has cured cancer or invented Jell-O: an asshole is an asshole. and the candidate’s ability to communicate are all data. Are you interviewing someone for a tech leadership role who doesn’t have a Skype account? Data point.Beyond The Blog: Burning. The interview process is flawed. You want to know how this person really is to see if they’re a good fit at your company. how the candidate treats the admin staff. Give your candidate something to do.. Give the candidate feedback and see what she does with it.. Do you fly a candidate out for interviews who then nickels and dimes you on expenses? Data point. and ultimately don’t get anything done. I hope you do also. Is it well written and specific or a lame generic note? Data point. Angela has been a big part of both hiring many of the people and orchestrating the culture of the company.

Interviews hopefully consist of the following: Introduction from the person doing the interview including name. Explanation of what will happen during the interview (i. has a great interviewing philosophy. role. ask a salesperson to do a presentation. Enjoy Nishioka’s wise words: Interviewing sets the tone of the culture to everyone that comes into the company... For example. tenure. Just because they understand the Microsoft interviewing philosophy and conducted interviews there for 10 years doesn’t mean they know how to interview at a small startup. that should be shared. or what that startup is looking for. Ring totally gets it. 2.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Offer of a beverage and the opportunity to use the restroom.” then reinforce that. I’d like to be able to answer any questions you have at the end. A long time you think? This is the vehicle that will vet out the folks that you are going to pay thousands of dollars a year. If you want a culture of teamwork. If you want a culture of “always closing. It can be an effective tool to use to not only set the culture with new hires but to reinforce the culture to existing hires involved during interviews. we would dedicate an entire day to interview training through an interviewing class..e. This is the very first exposure to the company. The candidate should have a consistent experience between interviews. HR will tell you what your next steps are) When I worked in Corporate America. and also has a fun blog called HRNasty. If your company uses behavioral interviewing. Ring the bell during an interview and let the candidate know you celebrate closers.) Ring Nishioka’s Philosophy On Interviewing I’ve loved working with Ring Nishioka over the past year as he’s helped grow the BigDoor team from five people when I first invested to the 20 or so people it is today. Even if the person doing the interviewing is a senior person. We’ve axed many salespeople because they fell apart during the presentation. Interviewers should understand exactly what the company is looking for in the position. reinforce that during the interview process. they should hear from the HR department what the company’s interviewing philosophy is. what specific questions need to be asked and how to represent the culture. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. I believe that everyone who comes into contact with a candidate should go through interview training.. we have some questions for you. maybe hundreds Hyperink Blog to Book Series 51 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Hire the Right People shows you what they’re made of. and what they like about working with the company.

when folks are not able to answer an interview question.Beyond The Blog: Burning. and can set us apart. Most of our initial interviews are at a local coffee shop. I believe that if you have the support of your peers. I am trying to create a situation where the candidate is a little less nervous. and it is a more of a personal atmosphere. You don’t have either of these in a sterile interview room. You want the candidate feeling like your company is a great place to work and remembering the experience as one of the best. I want to create a personal connection between our company and the candidate. Even if the candidate is not qualified. interview training can reinforce the culture. you know what is expected of you. especially if they made it through a few rounds. I don’t want to see their “nervous worst. the person doing the interview feels like they are wasting their time and body language conveys this. but again. they won’t perform in the work environment. Sometimes.” Some folks will feel like if they aren’t able to perform in a job interview. and especially your team. I want to see the best in a candidate. and you will perform better. There is nothing worse than feeling put out while going through an interview process. This is free advertising and the person that you are interviewing probably has friends with similar interests. Hire the Right People of thousands. they may be a fit for another position in six months or two years. We wanted folks to complete six mock interviews before letting them loose on our next potential candidate and chasing them to the competition. or stupid. your products. Just like we all share are car-buying stories. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. At BigDoor. This isn’t something that most recruiters at the larger companies will do. Why wouldn’t you invest a little time into interview training? This will be way too long for most startups... We had a lot of exercises including mock interviews in this class. You want them telling their friends and family about your company. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 52 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Even if they are dumb or stupid you want them to walk out of the interview wanting to work with your company.. your openings. we all share our interview stories. you don’t want the candidate walking out of the interview feeling crushed. I spend about one hour explaining our philosophy and then follow up with candidate-specific training. dumb.. If the candidate isn’t a fit now.

If you agree. it would be helpful to get the following information from you: . Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. you need to ensure that a candidate has fully considered their compensation needs before you make an offer.. I’ve refined a simple and effective approach to facilitating this discussion.. Hire the Right People Getting The Compensation Conversation Right Chris Moody is the president and COO of Gnip. From a skills and values standpoint.. there is the old saying that people spend more time planning their vacation than they spend planning their retirement.. it seems like we are both excited about the possibility of you joining our company.Current compensation. Please breakout your base salary from any variable compensation if applicable. Over time I’ve found Hyperink Blog to Book Series 53 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . As the hiring manager.Beyond The Blog: Burning. I’ve found the same concept sometimes applies to job candidates when thinking about their compensation requirements.Your view of your current compensation as it relates to your next opportunity. The process starts with an email to the candidate: “Dear Candidate. . These are his thoughts on negotiating compensation with a prospective employee: When hiring managers are communicating with candidates about salary requirements. It is particularly helpful if you provide this feedback by selecting from either a) I believe I’m fairly compensated and would anticipate making the same salary at my next opportunity b) I’d be willing to take less for the right opportunity c) I feel I’m currently undervalued and looking for an increase of $X in order to be excited about my next opportunity. I’d prefer to have this communication via email. the next step in the process from my perspective is to determine if we are aligned from a compensation standpoint. I’ve used this technique countless times with great results. As such. Over the years. If it works for you.

it puts both parties in an awkward position and it can be hard to recover.. The goal here is simply to get a clear understanding of how the candidate is thinking about their future compensation by using their current compensation as a frame of reference. You can avoid this potential pitfall with one simple email. and transparency.. A couple of additional points: 1) Even if the candidate has expressed salary requirements during the screening process or during your discussions. but it makes a huge difference in terms of requiring people to give thoughtful answers instead of answering on the spot. I know it can seem silly or impersonal. perhaps your conversations along the way changed their perspective on salary requirements for the position.Beyond The Blog: Burning. we offered $X. Explain your compensation philosophy to the candidate – are you leading the market in salaries? or just meeting the “going rate”? Do you prefer to compensate wholly with salary? or do you have a mix of salary. bonus. honesty. the candidate’s expectations align with yours and the offer moves forward with a high probability of success. Chris” Of course there are no right or wrong answers. and then they responded with “I was thinking about it more and I really need $Y to feel good about joining”. Asking the questions you ask in your email without stating the company’s position up front seems unfair. to maintain parity within the company. Comment by Jeff Sherard Trust is a two-way street and requires a relationship between both parties based on openness. Hire the Right People that putting this stuff in writing helps people think about it more before responding. Worst case your expectations don’t align but you now have a thoughtful starting point for negotiations if you still want to move forward with an offer.. You are not willing to fully disclose the company’s position. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. You have a number in mind that you can afford to pay for this position. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 54 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . 2) The key to this approach is to do this communication in writing. Love. to be competitive in the marketplace – share that number. Before using this approach I had more than a few occasions where candidates indicated verbally that they wanted $X. Best case. I strongly recommend you have this written conversation as the final step before you make an offer. It seems like you are asking the candidate to do all the trusting. Once you hit this situation. For example.. options.

.. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 55 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Become a Hyperink reader. Get a special surprise. I believe the reason is that trust has been established early and consistently reinforced throughout the process. As I mentioned in another comment. Hire the Right People performance based compensation? etc. Hire the Right People Beyond The Blog: Burning. To just ask the candidate to fully disclose and say “just trust us” seems a little one-sided. If someone asks me about salary ranges for the position. I’ve taken this approach over a hundred times and I’ve never received any “you go first” push back. I’ll give them an answer. your assumption is that this conversation is the first opportunity to establish trust. May 2012 Reply from Chris Moody Jeff..Beyond The Blog: Burning. My approach is to establish trust throughout the interviewing process by having very open and honest conversations throughout.for free... I encourage candidates to ask hard questions and I will do my best to answer them (see my last post to see the type of questions I encourage candidates to ask during an interview).. May 2012 Gift this book to your friends.

.. Stupid! VIII.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. Stupid! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 56 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . It's the Product. It's the Product.. It's the Product.

priced and presented to delight your customers. And these CEO’s love to show their product to anyone that will listen. They don’t explain the company to people with Powerpoint slides. The majority of the early teams are focused entirely on the product. They don’t send out long executive summaries with mocked up screen shots.. They don’t try to engage you in a phone conversation about the great market they are going after. Make sure that product is designed. Now. but it’s really not about you. product. It's the Product.” The great companies that I’ve been an investor in share a common trait – the founder/CEO is obsessed with the product. They start with the product.. Stupid! Obsession with the Product The title of this e-book may be Burning Entrepreneur.Beyond The Blog: Burning. but obsessed. Every discussion trends back toward the product. not familiar with. Not interested. I love to invest in companies where I can be actively involved as a user of their products. and could really dig into them.) When I think back over the past dozen years that I’ve been doing this. and what seems compelling (vs. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 57 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . it’s a really satisfying approach to this business. including the non-engineering people. could use their products. product. not aware of.. my most successful investments were ones that I personally related to. And stay with the product. how the ecosystem around them evolves. I get asked the inevitable. All of the conversations about customer are really about how the customer uses the product and the value the product brings the customer. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. I’m always amused by the answers from my co- panelists as they are usually the same set of “VC clichés. Plus.” which makes it even more fun when I blurt out my answer: “A complete and total obsession with the product. Product. It's the Product. just interesting or clever.. One of the benefits of actively blogging over the past two years has been an opportunity to play / work with numerous entrepreneurs in my own “lab” (my blog) to understand how their technologies and products work. In many of the interviews I do. It’s about the product: the insanely great offering that brings you dollars and evangelists. “What makes a great entrepreneur?” When I’m on a VC panel. I know I’m not the broad market user — and I never confuse myself with that person (especially with enterprise related products) — but I do play one on TV.

So I find that oftentimes it helps to unwind and remove yourself from the product (whether that’s not using it for a day or some other method) to get a fresh perspective of what a first time user might see..Beyond The Blog: Burning. I get even more obsessed. May 2010 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 58 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. and instantly got a reply from Dick. How a founder/CEO reacts to this speaks volumes to me.. you may end up seeing things outside of your customers perspective because you are so close. And. Plus I’m happy to just grind and grind and grind on the product. I’ve got a great feel for how to simplify things and make them cleaner. Comment by vinniv Solid post. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. Over the next six months we interacted regularly about the product and when he was ready to start fundraising. Plus. I really like to play with software. I quickly made him an offer and we became the lead investor in the round. but there’s one aspect to being obsessed with the product that people should always continue to keep in mind: when you get super close to the product that you are building. I had no idea who Dick was. While my UX design skills are merely adequate. My obsession with the product didn’t stop there (as Eric Lunt and many of the other FeedBurner gang can tell you — I still occasionally email Steve-O bugs that I find. as I realize what results in success in my world. It's the Product. sent support@feedburner. but I wrap up by saying that I’m just as obsessed with product as the founders. Stupid! I don’t create products anymore (I invest in companies that create them). I had an issue. offering both detailed and high level feedback indefinitely.. I am FeedBurner publisher #699 and used it for my blog back when it was “pre-alpha”. I probably first noticed this when interacting with Dick Costolo at FeedBurner when I met him.) I can give a bunch of other examples like FeedBurner. I’ve always been good at this for some reason — bugs just find a note. but he helped me and I quickly realized he was the CEO. but I’m a great alpha tester. It's the Product.

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 59 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . but is actually doing something much more interesting.” It’s five minutes long and worth watching. Stupid! Start with Customer Experience I was reminded of the importance of starting with the customer experience while I was watching a brilliant video from WWDC 1997 of Steve Jobs. both hardware and software innovations). some of them embody this philosophy deeply in their culture. even though their products embody an incredible amount of technology (in each case... he thinks carefully in real time and makes a critical philosophical point about his — and Apple’s — approach to creating new products.. upgrading the product. I completely buy the premise that the consumer experience trumps all technical decisions in any context. It's the Product. And I think it’s going to get a lot more important going forward..Beyond The Blog: Burning. Jobs appears to be responding to attack by a troll. Rather than take the bait and react. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. buying the product. and getting help with the product. The entrepreneurs running these companies are completely and totally obsessed with the consumer experience of their products. Oblong. Fitbit. Orbotix. especially in the context of “software eating the world” or my view that the machines have already taken over and resistance is futile. It's the Product. implementing the product. In the video. The punch line happens early when he says. When I think about this abstractly. When I think about the companies we’ve invested in. including being exposed to the product. MakerBot. if only to see how incredibly durable Jobs’ philosophy has been over the past 15 years. and Cloud Engines immediately come to mind. Apple has proven this throughout the entire customer experience. “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards for the technology.

. as our premise was that organizations would have between 1 and 100 early users of the product. the founders had been scrappy and have cobbled together a really impressive prototype that they’d been using to get early customer feedback. However. It's the Product. In their case. or once a quarter release cycle. I didn’t dictate for them to have a once a week.Beyond The Blog: Burning. they were faced with two choices.. once a month. having 100. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. We left it up to the founders to figure out what they wanted to do and what they wanted the cadence to be.. they had a minimal viable product. We encouraged them to look at where they want to be in a year (remember. But I was fine with any of them as long as they picked the cadence and stuck with it. A seed deal in Q2. 2011 reminded of the importance of the cadence. Given that the company had no funding to date. so we have plenty of ability and desire to continue to fund as they make progress. twice a month. Consequently. but we encouraged a one year top-down view.The second was to use the prototype to continue to explore and understand the specific customer fit while building a production version from scratch that incorporates much of what they learned during the prototype development. The entrepreneurs of this company had been living the specific problem for a long time and believed they have a unique and very informed way to solve it. In lean startup language. We spent a lot of time in a key meeting talking about this choice as well as overall product cadence. Stupid! The Product Cadence The product cadence is all about knowing how to pace product releases. I didn’t really Hyperink Blog to Book Series 60 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . It's the Product. I loved the company’s product vision. Given my deep belief in an agile development approach.000 free users was not important in the immediate term — I wanted to see them have 100 paying customers which could translate in several thousand users across all of these customers.. The first was to polish and release the current prototype. It was an ambitious product vision that required some time to fully roll out. rather than a quarterly bottoms-up view. this is a seed deal. with or without new investors) and work backwards to a product cadence that works for them. the customer was a business customer rather than a mass market consumer web product. it was in an area that I’ve been working in for a while across a variety of companies and will take a new approach to a very old and persistent problem.

It reminded me of something I often tell TechStars teams: “slow down to speed up. without thinking hard about what that stuff is and why anyone would care... It's the Product. closure can be “completed” or “released with known bugs” or “killed because it sucks”… just a non-zombie ending.” as in “let’s get closure on this before we open that.Beyond The Blog: Burning.” I see so many startups rushing to just get stuff out...” But in the absence of a cadence.g. but some of this is a lack of product cadence. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning.” BTW. a monthly release) you can focus on “what’s next” while in parallel explore “what’s after next. My mantra to the product development teams at a startup is “get closure. When you have a clearly defined cadence (e. Comment by Brian Lim Product cadence is a good discipline especially at the seed startup mode when culture and good habits get established. Part of this is lack of understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. you are always working on “what’s next” and never looking out any further. April 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 61 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . It's the Product. Stupid! care what’s in the actual incremental releases at this point as I fully expected the furthest out they would be able to see was one quarter..

While many pricing curves assume a decay curve toward lower prices over time. this is the opposite of some very popular (and successful) pricing strategies.g. In general. a digital good (e. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. you have a lot more variable manufacturing capacity (as Hyperink Blog to Book Series 62 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . such as Apple’s for the iPod and the iPhone.. if you are a digital good. this approach makes sense. nicely divided into the following topics: Beware of too many pricing tiers Have a clear delineation between product tiers How about overlay features that you charge by the drink for? Be careful what you put a tariff on The freemium myth Don’t be afraid to charge for your product Beware the long “trial period” It is worth noting that Seth has become “the pricing model guy” at Foundry Group — we’ve been dragging him into every pricing conversation whenever they come up. software). I have one counterintuitive thing to add — it’s often easier to raise prices early on than lower them. Interestingly. don’t forget to thank your early customers for their support. both from a manufacturing supply perspective as well as a volume manufacturing perspective. a phone) vs. early in the life of your business you should consider gradually raising prices until you hit a natural price ceiling.Beyond The Blog: Burning. the Freemium Myth and Why You May Not Be Charging Enough for Your Product.” It’s worth going and reading right now. Stupid! Should You Charge More for the Product? My partner Seth Levine has an outstanding post about the freemium model. they’ll feel like they’ve gotten a great deal for being an early adopter.g. especially for a physical good (e. He covers a bunch of stuff. But.. If you are an established premium provider of a high demand product. It's the Product. Grandfather your early customers into the old pricing for a period of time (three months to a year). It's the Product.. High early prices for premium demand followed by steady price reductions over time as new products are introduced. It’s titled “Pricing Models..

. Stupid! Beyond The Blog: Burning. Seth makes an important balancing point that you shouldn’t start out with too low a price point.. if you have no idea where to start..for free. consider a relatively low price point “guess” and then move it up until you find a ceiling. It's the Product.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Stupid! long as you know how to quickly scale) and more margin to play with (ahem. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 63 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Gift this book to your friends. But. and have the courage to increase price quickly as you find early demand.. Become a Hyperink reader. usually 99.9%).. Get a special surprise. It's the Product. This is especially true if you aren’t willing to raise prices to their natural ceiling over time.

Learning to Program: A Case Study Hyperink Blog to Book Series 64 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Learning to Program: A Case Study IX. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning....

) The first question I asked them about learning to program was. I regularly get asked questions by non-technical entrepreneurs how they should get started if they don’t have a technical co-founder. which is obviously a prerequisite. It’s one thing when you don’t know how to do something (e. but also because they starred in last year’s TechStars: The Founders video series. ROR. we talked about how Nate and Natty learned to program. The first week was spent just googling "web site design". validate email addresses or change a button’s hover state). Learning to Program: A Case Study Getting Started A while back. they would learn how to program. but neither had a clue how to build a web app. Natty was an econ major. They decided that rather than find a “developer” to team up with. One is “learn to program.. But neither were computer science majors. Our goal was to piece together the list of skills that we were going to collectively learn in order to create a web service like Everlater. Nate was a math major. they were both young finance geeks on wall street. both Nate and Natty are smart.” In Nate and Natty’s case it’s worked out great and their story is an instructive one. AJAX). But we didn’t know what we needed to learn. It’s the same feeling I get when I’m starting a long bike ride in the mountains. JS. When they came up with the idea for Everlater. nor were they “hackers” (although apparently Nate is pretty good at a wide range of video games. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. There are a variety of answers. During that lunch. "web site architecture" and "web server" to try to get a handle on all of the acronyms we were coming across (such as CSS. the same feeling I got when I first got to college.. or when I got Hyperink Blog to Book Series 65 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . and that made it difficult to even start down a path. HTML PHP MYSQL. Now. “What Was Day 1 Like?” Nate responded first: Day one was totally overwhelming. I had lunch with Nate Abbott and Natty Zola. Day one was also thrilling and exciting.. Nate and Natty are two of my favorites – not only because they regularly kick my partner Seth Levine’s ass on bike rides. Overwhelming because we didn’t know what we didn’t know. the co-founders of Everlater.Beyond The Blog: Burning... a TechStars 2009 company.g.

there’s nothing more exciting than beginning a large task. AJAX. The other interesting thing was that before we put any code down or started day 1 of our idea. nouns. and challenge each other. Worse. This gave us ideas of where we should start our research. While this was pre- day 1 it enabled us to focus on making code/tech decisions and learning the code rather than also having to think about what we were doing with it. problem solve. and sentence structure. Lastly. To summarize. To me. I think this sped our research because we had a framework within which to think about the decisions we were making. Learning to Program: A Case Study my first offer letter for ibanking in New York.Beyond The Blog: Burning. I was excited like Nate. Focus on the idea. but much harder than a foreign language because we couldn’t rely on familiarities like verbs. Natty responded shortly thereafter with a few things to add: We also researched sites we liked and benchmarked what they were doing/using to get a feel for what the popular/hot sites were using. if you get caught up on that you’ll just spin in circles forever. April 2010 Reply from ryanschneider There’s always some new or alternative tech you can use. it made it significantly more fun knowing we were diving into the unknown together. CSS. but fearless — they just jumped into the swimming pool off of the high dive and hoped there was water in the pool. we had spent a month brainstorming what we wanted to build. Plus. they were simultaneously overwhelmed and excited. it really helped to research with Nate because we could bounce ideas around. we would have to learn the basics of speech in becoming functional at the command line.) to have confidence that you were applying the right ones in the right situations. but also somewhat afraid. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. Thanks again. 90% of what Hyperink Blog to Book Series 66 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . databases.. I’m going through this myself – I don’t want to learn PHP just to find out that my site should have been built with something else... We quickly realized we were going to be learning another language. and get something (anything) done and in front of people. Most notably I remember looking at Facebook and seeing . and editing programs.php at the end of the url string. etc. and nothing I had done was quite like the task at hand. Comment by Bing Chou I’d be interested in how and when (if ever) you knew enough about the tools (HTML..

..Beyond The Blog: Burning.. but have an actual product to show for it. but also by the computer that turns your code into web pages). you’ve only “wasted” 10% of your time. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning.. it’s process: how to take ideas and transform them into something understandable (most importantly by your end users. Learning to Program: A Case Study you learn when programming isn’t language syntax. So even if you never touch PHP again. April 2010 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 67 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .

books. they concentrated on being smarter than the problem. really thinking it through and isolating what they needed to learn. XHTML.Beyond The Blog: Burning. They discovered that there are an amazing number of programmers who publish code on their personal blogs. On the other hand. The other two were HTML. and blogs they consumed at the beginning of their journey when they knew nothing about programming. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 68 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . they waded through the Rails API. they’d use Google. refine their search. and keep trying. As they were trying to get basic stuff to work. and even the WC3 documentation. the jQuery API. Learning to Program: A Case Study Websites and Books for Novice Programmers The next questions I asked Nate and Natty revolved around which web sites. They felt the HTML/CSS book was so-so but it was enough to get them started. While they felt this was a little corny.. It turns out that Nate and Natty spent most of their time simply searching for what they were looking for. While they like sites like Stack Overflow and Github’s wiki pages on different open source projects. it also ended up being very effective. As Nate and Natty landed on a language and a set of frameworks to work with (more on that in another post) they spent a lot of time with the API documentation for languages and frameworks. Instead... and CSS published by Visual Blueprint and RailsSpace by Michael Hartl and Aurelius Prochazka. Nate and Natty never found a great site on the web that has comprehensive documentation on how to program. Whenever a specific topic came up. they thought RailsSpace was an incredible book that taught Ruby on Rails by walking through the steps to create a social network for Rails programmers. and then being patient in searching for and researching the answer. they spent time searching for and then reading the full posts and comments. be patient when reading through the search results and forums. It turns out that Nate and Natty have only bought three programming books in the history of Everlater and one was a forgettable SEO book that doesn’t even merit being mentioned.. As dry as it might be. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. But they often quickly ended up back at Google searching away.

Beyond The Blog: Burning. the Engine Yard blog. And when they needed a break from development they read Tech Trader Daily which was a holdover from their old life as junior investment bankers. and entrepreneur blogs like 37signals blog Signals vs Noise. they went with SpeckyBoy and Smashing Magazine. they sat down in front of their computers and just got started. it’s not a book at all but I ran into an ex-employee on Friday. Learning to Program: A Case Study Not surprisingly. April 2010 Comment by Sean Tierney The Pragmatic Programmer is a timeless book that spans languages and is a treasure trove of concepts like code debt. Because the API is king when learning a new language. and learning it. But when they went deep technically. Also I read [Object Technology: A Manager's Guide] many years ago and found it to be an excellent book for getting one’s head around the concepts of OO programming to the level of being able to better interface with a team as a PM. For design. reading it. He’s now a comp sci teacher at a local community college and speaks very highly of “Scratch” for a self-guided software-based learning of programming concepts.. It’s a project that came out of MIT similar to the “Alice” program created at Carnegie Mellon but is apparently linear in approach as opposed to the “open world” style. they spent a lot of time with RailsCast. Learning the ins and out of the API will help you learn how the language functions internally and will help you write better code.. Nate and Natty read a lot of blogs. April 2010 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 69 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Lastly. Comment by JChauncey Pickup a good beginners book to learn the syntax and then find a simple problem to solve and go to town.. As I reflected on this. broken windows and other useful abstractions that can help any programmer be better. True to form. popular VC blogs like Fred Wilson’s and Dave McClure’s. and Yehuda Katz’s blog. All of the information was already out there — they just had to be disciplined about finding it. I found it fascinating how little they relied on books. They read typical tech news blogs like TechCrunch and VentureBeat. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning.

. having some basic workflow where you have several stages of planning is a solid foundation. We do something like this: Mock up the pages super roughly with pen and paper and figure out the different database models Do Photoshop mockups and build the routes and models Actually build the pages in HTML/CSS and build out the controller actions associated with each view Finishing touches (usually javascript). and testing At each point in the process Natty and I would sit down and talk about how it was going. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. The first and most important decision we made was to work together and divide the tasks we had to learn in half. and Natty needed to know a good deal of Ruby for creating and displaying the content coming out of the database. While I believe the process and communication about what you’re doing is pretty personal. and we think it’s paid huge dividends over the lifespan of Everlater. and Natty took everything that appears to the user — everything from learning Photoshop/Illustrator to HTML/CSS and quite a bit of javascript as well..Beyond The Blog: Burning. Here’s Nate’s advice on how to coordinate and divide tasks between partners: Having good systems in place around your coding is just as important as the coding itself. Nothing too special about our division of labor. I (Nate) took most of the backend server tasks — everything from SysAdmin stuff to Ruby/Rails and a good chunk of the javascript that interacted with the server too. The following worked very well for Natty Hyperink Blog to Book Series 70 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Learning to Program: A Case Study Working Together Splitting everything up so that you make progress with a manageable workload is an important step. it bears repeating that this is also a highly personal part of learning how to program. Natty and I spent a huge chunk of our time figuring out a great workflow that would allow us to program more effectively.. Once again. but it bears worth repeating that this worked well because we worked so closely together to make sure that the other person still had an idea about what was going on. We’ve worked on how we pass work back and forth to develop a certain technique. and implement our side of the task. I needed to know the basic structures of the HTML Natty was creating so I could work on the javascript..

.. but other people might be better off pair programming the whole thing. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 71 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . The most important thing is thinking about the workflow in general terms and making sure it’s a conscious decision rather than something that just happens. work at completely different speeds..Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. etc. Learning to Program: A Case Study and I.

Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. debugging is essential. but at the beginning I would take a debugger and walk through the code myself to try to figure out exactly how their code was working so I could make my own code better. but the real silver bullet I discovered was just to start from the beginning of the method and step through it using the ruby debugger and figure out where I had gone wrong.. By far the most important is a good version control system. or how to figure out why an AJAX request didn’t respond the way you would expect. Ninty-nine times out of a hundred I was wrong and the code would blow up with some ugly exception that I had no clue about. When I first started writing code. it makes Hyperink Blog to Book Series 72 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . This is something that they don’t ever teach even in college classes. It allowed us to do two things: fix our own code when it was broken and parse through others’ code to better understand how they were doing things. This is a great. Using tools like Firebug or Web Inspector to take apart existing sites and figure out how they’re doing something or making something beautiful is a great way to learn better techniques for front end development. you will run into problems and obstacles while building your product. I’m better at understanding it now. Nate and Natty had the following advice to offer on debugging..Beyond The Blog: Burning. The other huge thing that is related is that I read and still read copious amounts of open source code written by other people. This is super important on the front end as well. Copying and pasting the exception into google got me decent mileage. They’re also essential for figuring out how to fix a layout when it’s broken. When coupled with GitHub. Somewhat related are tools that help you keep your code/team in order. free resource to use when learning how to program and really helped us to bridge the gap from a basic programming book to what current philosophies on development were. We use git at Everlater and it’s been an amazing choice. Learning to Program: A Case Study Debugging and Source Code Tools Inevitably. From a backend perspective. Almost always I had forgotten to assign some variable or I was calling a method that did something different than I thought.. but it’s hugely critical to building a project in the real world. I would write what I “thought” was the correct way to do it.. One of the most important techniques we used when learning how to code is debugging.

Learning to Program: A Case Study working in a team of two seamless even if you’re working on almost the same code. Comment by starttowonder One important reason to use debugger for languages like Ruby that do not give you a compile time error is to make sure you are able to go thru each and every line of code in the debugger and are sure code is doing what it is supposed to.. Learning to Program: A Case Study Beyond The Blog: Burning. and a good way to know when there’s something wrong in your application (Hoptoad is great for Rails devs).. This includes a good issue tracker (we simply use the to-do list feature of the free version of Basecamp). Get a special surprise. Become a Hyperink reader. I know preparing test cases is important. July 2010 Gift this book to your friends.. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 73 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . but I am not sure if someone can hit all the lines of code using different test cases unless they are using a debugger to write the test cases itself.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Because there might be a typo buried in an if statement that might not be caught when testing but this might blow up later on when that if is hit. Also important is some way of keeping track of the quality of your code as your project grows...for free..

Neither Should You Hyperink Blog to Book Series 74 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Neither.. Neither. X.... I Don't Hate Marketing. I Don't Hate Marketing....Beyond The Blog: Burning. Beyond The Blog: Burning. I Don't Hate Marketing.

However... it’s wired into the DNA of the business. not an extra thing that is attached on. community — these things don’t happen by accident. Why a New Startup Shouldn’t Have a Marketing Budget Buzz. “let’s get the damn thing out there so we can serve people. Fred Wilson has a phenomenal blog post titled “Marketing.. Marketing is not just reserved for the corporate world (actually… the crappy. As my partners at Foundry Group know. However. I hate traditional marketing and have always resisted it early in the life of a new company. it’s driven by an obsessive focus on the customer and the product.. Neither. I Don't Hate Marketing. Startups need marketing. When I think of all of the companies in our portfolio that are growing like crazy. reveal flaws in our service and improve.. as a start-up owner I have to say also. “marcomm”. “PR”.” February 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 75 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Beyond The Blog: Burning. coolness factor. they all spend money on marketing. Of course marketing is a key part of the success of these companies. the type that’s authentic.. traditional variety is). I don’t give a shit about marketing budgets or the whole social media paradigm. were a key part of every startup plan.Beyond The Blog: Burning. like it used to be in the 1980s and 1990s as “marketing”.. I Don't Hate Marketing. then get it out there some more. Neither.” Among other things he demonstrates his mastery of marketing by sending me an email this morning pointing me to the post and saying that he’s channeling me knowing that it’ll likely inspire me to blog something about it and link to his post. etc. My first thought is always. increasing the chance that he’ll be the first Google result for the search “Marketing” (he’s already #6 for marketing VC). and when they do I vomit a little in my mouth. the type that burns.. every time I hear the word “marketing” I throw up a little in my mouth.” And phrases like “social media marketing” and “marketing spend” rarely surface in discussions. rather than a “marketing budget” or “marketing initiative. Comment by Clinton D Skakun Interesting angle.

I have no doubt missed some brilliant thoughts you’ve offered to the community and I’m sure you’ve provided countless pieces of good advice to individual entrepreneurs in one-on-one situations. Chris Moody: “At this point I’ve probably heard/read most of your basic philosophical points on the various aspects of building a successful business. me) are also good at marketing.. they are extraordinarily good at marketing and some people suggest we (Foundry Group. The topic is marketing.Beyond The Blog: Burning. I Don't Hate Marketing. I see a very common thread around how you guys approach marketing. there is one area where I’ve consistently felt that you have underrepresented your true feelings and it feels like your general input on the topic has been mostly nonconstructive... a long time friend and COO of Gnip. etc.” Have a new product Hyperink Blog to Book Series 76 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I would characterize the theme as “marketing through thought leadership...” When I think about the first time entrepreneur.. you heard the “throw up in my mouth” line about marketing.. thought it was 100% correct. I said that I hate traditional marketing. I Don't Hate Marketing. Focus on building a great product or all the marketing in the world won’t matter. If you don’t have a great product. If you look at many of our successful investments. But. and asked if I could republish it verbatim both as (a) an explanation of how I actually should / do think about marketing and (b) an example of how I learn through direct feedback. finance. the sound bite version I’ve heard from you on a few occasions goes something like this “I hate traditional marketing.” I read it. I agree with most of them of course. And. Chris Moody. I’ve been joking about this long enough that it’s become conventional wisdom that I hate marketing. this response feels particularly unhelpful. look at me. when I see how Foundry Group approaches marketing and when I look across your portfolio companies. none of the other shit matters. However. Now for the other side of the coin. Neither. sent me an extremely thoughtful email titled “Food for Thought. And yet. Beyond The Blog: Burning.” In more basic terms it is expressing marketing ideas via “this is why we are doing what we are doing and why it is important” instead of “hey. I’d like to try to help change that for the good of the broader entrepreneur community (and to make you look even smarter). Neither. And remember. the second part of the quote could be applied to almost all aspects of a startup business including sales.. I Don’t Hate Marketing OK.

I’ve recently talked to/interviewed a few current/former people from Rally and Return Path. we sold Y”. I Don't Hate Marketing. Not sure it is always a conscience effort by the companies. Neither. Instead. The decision to create a “thought leadership” website isn’t something we apply to every project. “thought leadership” proved to be the best path to achieve the results that they wanted. We first look at the business goals. but spend way more time on why the feature is important to your overall purpose and beliefs. but it seems to be pretty consistent across the portfolio. When I think about FG itself I see tons of “marketing activity” but most of it could also be just be labeled: thought leadership.. Focus on becoming a thought leader in your space. You guys spend countless time and effort expressing your opinions on this topic. you can build real engagement with people who care/believe the same things. you can only talk about what you do one or two times before people think ‘got it’ and stop listening. Beyond The Blog: Burning.. If you only talked about what you do with your startups “we invested in X. though. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 77 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. target audience. Neither.” In fact..Beyond The Blog: Burning. When I ask them “what is the most significant thing you did from a marketing perspective to accelerate the business” the answer across the board has been “we focused on being a thought leader in our space. If I were going to create the Brad Feld sound bite for marketing it would go something like this “Don’t do marketing..” As you well know that is the same approach we are taking at Gnip and I see it in many of your other portfolio companies too. You sponsor conferences around topics that you care about. You write books to support your beliefs. I Don't Hate Marketing. feature? Sure blog about the feature. the conversation would be short and have a limited audience. Talk everyday with your customers. Foundry Group clearly believes that startups have the power to change the world. you talk about what you believe and why startups matter. perspective customers. Return Path. and the world about why you do what you do and why you think it is important. The reality is. and desired results. In all of those cases. and Foundry Group websites. created various incarnations of the Rally. To illustrate the point. As a result. But..” Comment by kmenzie Our company.. partners. if you talk about what you believe and point to countless examples that exemplify your beliefs. Slice of Lime. your whole theme-based approach is really about thought leadership focused in a few areas. Your blog post are rich with “here’s why we did it and why it matters” instead of “here’s what we did. you have built a real following around people that care about the topic..

simply focusing on amazing customer support will be what acts as your startup’s initial “online marketing plan.Beyond The Blog: Burning. product demos. and Foundry Group. Other times..” September 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 78 Hyperink Blog to Book Series ... Beyond The Blog: Burning. Neither.. video content.. however. For some startups. whitepapers. we felt that highlighting blog posts. In the case of Rally. I Don't Hate Marketing. or a strong focus on social engagement will be a better path... Return Path.. Not all clients require that strategy. I Don't Hate Marketing. and so on (presuming that someone is actively creating this content on their end) would be a great way to engage with their target audiences and to position them as best in their industry. Neither.

Neither. so they were confident that they wouldn’t pull the trigger on hiring if they didn’t see the sales ramp happening. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 79 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . A big part of the discussion — not surprisingly — was on the sales ramp and the corresponding expense base (and timing of opex growth throughout the year based on a prediction of sales growth and performance. Early Stage Marketing and Sales: The “Why” Vs.. So.” We had a sales force to comp. I knew. the “What” I was at a Rally Software board meeting where we spent a chunk of time finalizing and approving the 2005 operating plan.. Neither... that the 2005 revenue forecast was wrong — we just didn’t have enough data to have any precision on it. 2005 was their first full year of product ship. I Don't Hate Marketing. why they become customers. The reasons are often logical and non-fatal. So I wanted to learn the “why” in 2005. So the “what” was important. their operating expense ramp (pre-board meeting discussion) assumed they would make the sales plan. However. The going-in proposal (and plan) that assumed they hit their numbers relied on management backing off hiring if they missed their numbers. with certainty. why they turn into real prospects. the way to calibrate things is to set up the operating plan so you are in a position to increase opex as you are successful versus having to back off spending (or hiring) if you fall short of plan. in my experience. They had a nice.. I made the strong point that I actually cared LESS about “making our 2005 revenue plan” then I did about learning why people are interested in what we do.Beyond The Blog: Burning. I Don't Hate Marketing. I’d rather go to a board meeting mid-year where the management team says “we’ve hit our revenue ramp so far this year so we want to pull some head count adds forward” vs. Occasionally they outperform. a team to motivate.) Rally started shipping their product in mid-2004. not that “what.. but the dynamic that gets created is one where the business is always “behind plan. active customer base that is growing as expected... The growth curve was ambitious (but achievable). but they almost always underperform for some reason. The guys running Rally are responsible and know how to sandbag a plan. None of the companies I’ve been in involved with to-date have made their operating plan on their first year of product ship. and why they buy more stuff from us. and a plan to achieve. Beyond The Blog: Burning.” This sucks. However.

However. we’ll rejoice. talk about “why”. A smart executive team understands this and sets the right expectations and parameters around it. we can’t hit the goal because we need the resources.. Neither.Beyond The Blog: Burning. the meeting that says “we missed our revenue ramp so we’re holding off hiring folks in the plan. Beyond The Blog: Burning. you haven’t assumed more resources (e.” If we exceed plan..” The nuance is subtle but the dynamic is important — as you succeed.. I Don't Hate Marketing... and add more resources. I Don't Hate Marketing. you get to apply more resources. we won’t spend a lot of time agonizing over “what we should do because we missed plan..g. we’ll focus on “why.” Financial planning is imprecise early in a business..) It also reinforces the focus on the “why. Neither. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 80 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .” If we fall short of plan. if you don’t reach your goal..

I listened as the entrepreneurs told me they needed a $2 million financing to do the first production run of the product (1. print ads. I suggested to my portfolio companies that they fire their VP of Hyperink Blog to Book Series 81 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I had a meeting with a new consumer product company with a cool invention that was created by a friend/neighbor. I Don't Hate Marketing. In this meeting. often poorly executed and measured. Later in the morning. the only one that was working effectively was Google AdSense.. they either needed $0m of additional financing (yeah. At the end of the day I had a meeting with a $400k two-person software company that is trying to figure out how to accelerate their growth. Several years ago. In my first meeting. Oh. If they did. “Marketing” is vague and non-specific... I kept hearing the word “marketing” used generically. get a marketing guy hired. In both cases. the effective approaches have been evolving a lot lately. Neither. the company has plenty of leads. I had the word-of-mouth theme in my head from the StillSecure product review post. I found out that his existing customers are ecstatic with the product. That day started out with an email from Raj Bhargava. In the second meeting. and while there are plenty of “tried and true” approaches (that any marketing consultant would be happy to charge you plenty of money to explain to you). Neither. and usually a huge waste of money relative to the output. the CEO of StillSecure. but he can’t figure out how to motivate the leads to quickly turn into customers.. depending on how they rolled out the next wave of marketing. Beyond The Blog: Burning. right) or $8m of additional financing. the founder told me that of all the marketing approaches he tried (trade shows.” build channel relationships.. Are Your Customers Your Best Marketing? On one special day.. When I probed. do “marketing. I Don't Hate Marketing. and see if things worked. the recurring theme of the power of word-of-mouth marketing came several times for me. I despise the word “marketing” as it’s often the weakest link in a startup company.000 units) done..They had built 25 prototypes and had 24 of the 25 users of the prototypes rave about the product. especially as user- generated content becomes ubiquitous. cold call of industry lists).. that pointed to an unsolicited positive review of StillSecure’s StrataGuard product on an end-user’s blog. he suggested that he was going to try a bunch of new (and the same) things.Beyond The Blog: Burning.

online interviews.. Neither.. this VP of Demand Generation understands the incredible power of having your customers so happy with your product that they’ll talk about it online. measurable variable compensation.for free. To see an example of this.. and at cocktail parties (these are both products that the target customer will ultimately start talking to a friend about over a drink). FeedBurner has been doing a great job of highlighting this with their Publisher Buzz blog where they link to posts from “people who kind of dig FeedBurner. Marketing and hire a VP of Demand Generation (it could be the same person if the VP of Marketing was willing to accept a quota and meaningful. Get a special surprise. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 82 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Gift this book to your friends. I Don't Hate Marketing. Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Become a Hyperink reader..) Hopefully. I Don't Hate Marketing. references.. substitute the phrase “lead generation” for “marketing” in every conversation you have and see what happens. Neither.” I suggested to both companies that I met with that they stop talking about “marketing” and instead focus on getting their existing customers to tell the world about their product through blogs..Beyond The Blog: Burning... Try something: for 24 hours.

Beyond The Blog: Burning... OK, It's Really the Money, Stupid
Beyond The Blog: Burning... OK, It's Really the Money, Stupid


OK, It's Really the
Money, Stupid

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 83
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning... OK, It's Really the Money, Stupid
Beyond The Blog: Burning... OK, It's Really the Money, Stupid

How to Raise Capital as a First-
Time Entrepreneur
“Not all good ideas/fires have to make money.”
January 9, 2012

“But they all have to be “funded” – whatever that means.”
January 9, 2012

“A fire can’t burn without fuel.”
January 9, 2012

Despite everything this book does to get you to work on yourself, your products and most
importantly, your customers, I know what’s really on your mind: the capital you need to
start and sustain your venture. This following explains the lifeblood dollars and the people
behind them. And remember, investors want to see a burning entrepreneur!

Dave Lavinsky, author of the Growthink Blog, conducted a podcast interview of me on
how to raise capital as first-time entrepreneur. Find below Dave’s written intro and
summary, along with a link to the actual interview.

Dave Lavinsky:

“For those of you who are not familiar with Brad, his background includes starting and
selling his own software company, investing as an angel in 40 to 50 companies, and
founding or co-founding three venture capital firms: Intensity Ventures, Mobius Venture
Capital and Foundry Group, where he currently serves as Managing Director.

While there were several invaluable points for entrepreneurs seeking capital in the
interview, I found the following to be most interesting:

1. Your VC firm is your partner.

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 84
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning... OK, It's Really the Money, Stupid
Beyond The Blog: Burning... OK, It's Really the Money, Stupid

Many first-time entrepreneurs view VCs simply as providers of capital. In actuality, VCs
are partners. They exert control over your company. They have experience in product
development or scaling companies, or both, and can provide significant value beyond the
money they infuse in companies.

Because VCs are partners that exert control, you need to assess them much like you
would other partners. Mainly, you need to make sure that there is a really good fit.

2. Angel investors are the friend of the first-time entrepreneur.

First time entrepreneurs should strongly consider angel investments prior to venture
capital. Angel investors often have financing experience which can help entrepreneurs
navigate the VC waters when they are ready (there are a ton of terms and issues
involved with venture capital that most first-time entrepreneurs don't know about).

Angel investors also tend to have relationships with VCs. Also, angels often have the
operational experience to help grow the entrepreneur's company. And finally, the angels'
funding can help the company grow to a point where it is more suitable for venture

However, when structuring angel deals, it is imperative to keep the pricing/valuation fair
and the deal terms as simple as possible. If not, raising subsequent venture capital
rounds becomes more challenging.

3. Don't look for investors who are not a good fit.

Brad mentioned the 80/20 or even the 99/1 rule. Essentially, entrepreneurs should spend
a ton of time on the 1% of investors who are a great fit. And not waste their effort on the
other investors.

Two key aspects that Brad mentioned for ensuring a good fit are: 1) geography (many
VCs will only invest in certain geographic regions), and 2) sector (Foundry Group simply
doesn't invest in Clean Tech; no matter how exciting the company looks). I would also add
"stage" to this list as many VCs focus on companies at specific stages (e.g., some only
want post-revenue companies, etc.).”

To find out more, go to Dave’s blog and listen to the podcast.

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 85
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

but the pitch. so they say things that are not necessarily on the slides. map this to the five minute pitch context. I think we’ve been helpful and have found that when everyone is in the room (e. I learned a long time ago (probably junior high school) that I learn by reading. I drift quickly. Furthermore. It’s really hard to do well. not by listening. you may have noticed the look in my eyes when I drift.. We’ve done Pitch More Faster in about ten cities now and it’s been really interesting. listen” problem. I need to sit quietly and read it (or about it). I’d much rather read and write email that talk on the phone.) In my experience. When someone wants to explain something to me. if you don’t keep my attention. Stupid Learn How to Pitch More Faster As part of our Do More Faster book tour. when you talk to me. In college. I’ve noticed one consistent thing in virtually every presentation. OK. or talking at 732 word per minute and being impossible to follow.Beyond The Blog: Burning. doing a 5 minute pitch for the first time (and having no comfort with the material). all four companies that are presenting) the conversation becomes even more impactful and robust as by the fourth presentation everyone is weighing in with feedback. There are lots of variants of suckage. Most of the presentations have slides with lots of words on them. we held a pitch session each day called “Pitch More Faster. If you’ve ever interacted with me.. And when I want to really understand something.. I was a “go to the minimum number of lectures that I can get away with but read everything” guy. Most presenters know not to simply read their slides. Since the presentation is only five minutes long. Now. It’s sort of the equivalent of my eyes rolling up into my head. I’d much rather they just email me. OK.. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning.” During the hour. we’d hear four pitches (five minute each) and give direct feedback and suggestions on the pitch itself (not the content or the business. It's Really the Money. not a you problem — it’s just hard for me to process a lot of verbal information for a continuous time. the stuff being said is important. including cramming a 30 minute pitch into 5 minutes. most people suck at the five minute pitch. As an adult. It's Really the Money. And that’s the essence of the problem.g. It’s definitely a me problem. or if I don’t purposely focus on you. It’s what I call the “read vs. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 86 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I can concentrate on you for five minutes.

you probably have a mix of “readers” and “listeners” in the audience. And then I can’t hear anything you are saying. If I close my eyes the next time you are presenting to me. not because I’m falling asleep. It's Really the Money. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 87 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. I spend all my time on it trying to read everything and absorb it. OK. In a five minute pitch.. I go straight to the words and start reading them. If there are a lot of words..Beyond The Blog: Burning. It's Really the Money. When you are presenting. Many of them don’t realize it. It turns out there are a lot of people like me. OK. you want me to listen the entire time since your goal is to get me to engage and want to spend more time with you.. I’ve long been a fan of minimalist slides — a few words and/or a picture to use as a guide for whatever is going on. So the words on the slides are a distraction. Stupid But if there are words on the screen. I never completely understood why — now I know. it’s because I’m trying to concentrate. And I hear nothing.

As we worked through the StartupVisa stuff. we came up with the definition of a “Super Angel.. other than them presenting themselves as “angel investors. we realized this wasn’t a high enough threshold for the type of angel investors we thought should be able to sponsor a Startup visa. a retainer).000. So. if an angel investor has been investing for four years. Basically. OK. or employees (where they end up trying to get a job).000 invested. So. if you can’t (or don’t) invest at least $25. Now. It's Really the Money. I don’t think you should call yourself an angel investor.000 each in each of the three years. they have at least four separate investments of at least $25. This is a total of at least six equity investments totaling at least $300...” A Super Angel is an angel investor who has been investing for at least three years and has made at least two equity investments of at least $50. there is nothing wrong with this. Stupid The Definition of an Angel Investor Historically. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 88 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I’ve always said that someone can call themselves an angel investor only if they actually make angel investments! I’ve been exposed to many “angel investors” who have actually never written a check for an equity investment. OK.000. Most of the people I consider Super Angels are substantially above this threshold.” Oh. “brokers” (where they help you raise money for a percentage raised).Beyond The Blog: Burning..000 each for a total of at least $100. My historical viewpoint was that an angel investor was defined as someone who makes at least one equity investment in a seed or early stage company each year of at least $25.000 per year. It's Really the Money. These non-angels come in many shapes and sizes and often end up either offering to become “advisers” for equity (or worse. and there are some people that just like to be in clubs with other people who presumably make investments. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning.

In this middle of what was a rambling conversation.. This was apparent in the interactions: was she trying to “please us. the entrepreneurs. It's Really the Money. While the team wasn’t a rookie team. And sometimes we won’t show up. ultimately.” listen to us and do what we said. it was clear that the kitchen was getting crowded. Stupid VC as a Produce Supplier I was in a meeting with Rich Miner from Google Ventures with some entrepreneurs we are working with on a potential investment. Rich said “think of us as produce suppliers. but viewed us as some combination between sous chefs. all of us. OK.” The CEO was talking about how she realized she was the lead chef in the kitchen. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. they’d never worked with VCs before and they’d been wrestling around the dynamics of how to interact with the two VCs in the room (Rich and I) and the various angels that were part of the seed round we are planning to do.. OK. It's Really the Money. or won’t fit in your recipes. In the middle of the discussion. or put us to work? This was made even hard with the handful of angels involved — where did they fit in? And. Some of it will be awesome and you’ll want to use it immediately. the investors (VCs and angels)..” He said something like: “We bring you produce. Rich used a brilliant metaphor of “VC as produce supplier.Beyond The Blog: Burning. And. and the employees are the owners!” Hyperink Blog to Book Series 89 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Other times you’ll politely ask us to get out of the kitchen so you can get some work done.. owners. Occasionally you’ll want to put us to work in the kitchen teaching you how to make a new dish with our produce. and the diners in the restaurant. Some will be moldy. or you won’t need any more of it.

They should be impactful. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 90 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Explain that you want to develop a cycle of accountability for each board member to the company and use this to: (a) develop deep engagement from each board member between meetings.Beyond The Blog: Burning. go to board meetings. low insight. They should provide leverage for the leadership team..” However. ask if they are reasonable.” Rarely have I heard a VC say something like “My plan is to just hang around. ask a few nonsensical. The assignments should be specific. what was done. (b) benefit from the experience and wisdom of each board member on a continual basis.. I think you can break this cycle early in the life of your relationship with your VCs by giving them assignments. but not mission critical. eat the crummy food.. and what the new assignments are until the next board meeting. It's Really the Money. rhetorical questions. Stupid Give Your VCs Assignments Most VCs will quickly say that they want to help the companies they invest in to success. At the end of the first board meeting. and then disappear until the next board meeting. but be clear that you’ll spend a little time at the next board meeting going through individual assignments.. the statements a VC makes (or doesn’t make) don’t necessarily correspond with his behavior. as any entrepreneur who has ever worked with multiple VCs knows. OK. Make sure the assignments play to the individual board members strengths and interests. Acknowledge that it will take a few board meetings to get into a good rhythm with this. if they are general (such as “help with strategy” or “help with the financing”) they will be useless. and then go around the table and ask each board member what they’d like to specifically help with between now and the next board meeting. Some will go further and say things like “I’ll do anything I can to help my companies. not create make work. spend some time talking about your expectations for your board members (including your VCs). It's Really the Money. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. and (c) set a strong tone for the leadership team (and the company) that everyone has functional responsibilities that they are held accountable to. OK.

. Over time assignments become less “stiff” and the regimen of passing them out and reviewing them at the board meeting will fade away over time as everyone gets used to being held responsible for what they sign up for. It's Really the Money. OK.. I’ve experienced an awesome tempo after about six months.Beyond The Blog: Burning. OK. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 91 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Stupid In companies where the CEO hands out regular assignments. The board members begin holding themselves accountable and the management team is much more comfortable working directly with the individual board members.. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. It's Really the Money..

low maintenance for me. Bootstrap: Smart. OK. and in several cases actually benefit me. It was: “No sweat. eliminating debt or equity positions and increasing the future value of the business. He called me for feedback on his fundraising strategy as well as to see if it’s something that we’d be interested in investing in. and (c) I have a lot of confidence that he’ll build a successful business and there are several VCs who I know that I think would like what he’s working on.) So. All of them are easy. I spent some time with a long-time friend and entrepreneur who I’ve funded in the past. but I have a better idea … help us avoid the need for funding (700 clients gets us to profitability). Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. I knew it was a longshot. OK.” He then went on to detail a handful of things he’d like me to do assuming that I’m a happy user of his product. It's Really the Money. Stupid Don’t Forget to Bootstrap Bootstrap: Using your own money or resources to start a business. I sent my friend a note with my explanation for why we are passing. It was outside our themes and different than the type of business we invest in. I love that my friend is much more focused on ramping up his customers than raising Hyperink Blog to Book Series 92 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I offered to help with introductions because (a) he’s an awesome entrepreneur. I’d like to take you up on your offer to help us get funded. He’s working on a new company that I think is really neat and I’m already a user of. Given our long relationship and the fact that he’s an awesome entrepreneur.. We spent a few days applying our process to it (each partner touches it and we give each other real time qualitative reactions) and quickly realized that it really wasn’t something for us as it was far outside anything that we felt like we could help much with beyond money and moral support (which my friend is going to get from me anyway.. and decided to take a look. so I appreciate you even considering it. I squinted hard at one of our themes. turned my head sideways. His response was dynamite. I know how many deals you have to pick from. It's Really the Money... (b) it’s a very fundable business — just not by us.Beyond The Blog: Burning.

such as Occipital. Comment by Niko The vast majority of the entrepreneurial world bootstraps. but in some sectors of the startup world (e.. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. On the the other hand.. you might just not have a good enough team regardless of who is financing you. It's Really the Money. and was profitable before we ever thought of approaching a VC. There is no glory in giving up equity for capital. then some external bank debt. we’re self-sustaining. Now. many companies would be better off using debt funding (internal or external) instead of equity financing. It’s easy to get lost in the soup of “X company raised $Y” and forget that it’s not about fundraising. As entrepreneurs. there is an incredible amount of satisfaction in turning down money because you’ve built a sustainable business. you should do it because you’ve exhausted all other alternatives. Stupid money. they bootstrapped for several years before raising any money (well documented in the book Do More Faster) and even then could have easily built their business without raising any money.. OK. November 2011 Comment by John Evons This is why I respect you as a VC. My company funded with internal debt. but on terms dictated by us… Bootstrapping can provide fantastic negotiation leverage.. OK. this VC focused tech sector) it seems odd to avoid outside.g. Many people like to use their VC for help in staffing and expertise.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Even within this VC focused sector of the world. We may take them up on it just to let some of our partners divest and to expand our software staff. even if just as a seed round. It's Really the Money. but in many cases. and we’ve got VCs calling us constantly attempting to find some reason we need their money. When I think of some of my favorite TechStars companies. if your existing team doesn’t have the talent and experience to get beyond the early stage. etc. but building a business. November 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 93 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Don’t forget to bootstrap. we need to build businesses for the future rather than for the exit. equity-based financing.. I’ve always believed in the value of bootstrapping and it has taught me several invaluable lessons that I may not have learned on someone else’s dime..

a $500k investment can receive between 25% and 50% of the equity in the company and. It's Really the Money. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. Stupid What’s the Best Structure for a Pre-VC Investment? I received the following question: “What’s the best/preferred structure of investment money pre-VC investment? We’re in the beginnings of raising angel capital (~500k) and were wondering what. but usually with lighter terms due to the relatively low valuation associated with it. OK.. This note should be a real promissory note with the conversion and redemption characteristics clearly defined to protect both the investors and the entrepreneurs from any misunderstandings.. say $1m of total investment). OK. The note will either convert at a discount to the price of the qualified financing (usually in the 20% to 40% range). Convertible Debt: This is the easier approach of the two. there are two different typical structures for the first angel financing: (1) convertible debt and (2) preferred equity. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 94 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . It's Really the Money.. Preferred Equity: This is also known as a “light Series A”: it’s preferred stock that is similar to what a VC will get.. This discount and/or warrant coverage gives the angel investors some additional ownership in exchange for taking the early risk. as a result.Beyond The Blog: Burning. or both. considerations we should make regarding the investments to allow for VC later. In this case. if any. will have warrant coverage (usually in the 20% to 40% range). the investment is in the form of a promissory note that converts into equity on the terms of a “qualified financing” (where qualified financing typically is defined by having a minimum amount. For a very young company. many of the terms associated with a typical VC investment are overkill. Should we take convertible loans or issue straight preferred stock? What are the other options that are out there for investment structure? Is it too much of a hassle to handle future investments when there is an ‘angel group (say 5 doctors banded together)’ versus a singular angel?” My answer: Assuming that you are planning on raising VC money some time in the future.

you’ll find some angels that strongly prefer one over the other. It's Really the Money. the preferred equity approach is fairer to the investors as they’ll more clearly be participating in the upside on terms that are agreed to early in the life of the company. Finally.. OK.. Stupid While either of these work. However. a single angel investor. I don’t think there is a difference between having “an angel group” vs. you should try to insure that all of your investors are accredited and.. if you don’t believe you are going to raise additional VC money and will only be relying on additional small angel-type investments. It's Really the Money. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 95 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .Beyond The Blog: Burning. In addition. if some aren’t. OK. make sure you understand the implications of this..

I’d still be skeptical of the equity ask at this stage and encourage the founders to (a) vest it over time and (b) make sure there was a tangible commitment associated with it that was different from other investors. Stupid Warning to All Entrepreneurs About Bad Investor Behavior I received an email from an entrepreneur today asking me about something that made my stomach turn.” I was shocked when I saw the name of the person and the firm he has been with (and is leaving) — it’s someone who has been in the VC business for a while and should know better.Beyond The Blog: Burning.There are two founders and they’ve been talking to a VC they met several months ago. It's Really the Money.. but I want to be a co-founder of the company and have an equal share of the business. fast... The first was “is he going to be full-time with the company?” – and the other was – “Do you want him as a third full-time partner?” The answer was no and no.. I asked two questions. see the chapter “Beware of Angel Investors Who Aren’t. the CEO of TechStars. my impression of this particular person is that he’s not a constructive Hyperink Blog to Book Series 96 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . If the person was offering to put in $25k – $100k in the round and then asking for an additional 1% or 2% as an “active advisor” (beyond whatever the investment bought) to help out with the company. More specifically. OK. my feedback was to run far away. It’s a first time entrepreneur who is raising a modest (< $750k) seed round). the VC told them he was leaving his firm and wanted to help them out. Recently.” I dug a little deeper to find out who the person was in case it was just a random dude looking for gig flow. the VC was positioning himself as “the founder that would help raise the money. Unfortunately. OK.” In my email exchange with the entrepreneur. for example. Instead. It's Really the Money. This was obviously appealing until he dropped the bomb that prompted their question to me. has written extensively about this in our book Do More Faster. David Cohen. given the facts I was given. I find this kind of behavior disgusting. This soon to be ex-VC said something to the effect of “I can easily raise you money with a couple of phone calls. Entrepreneurs beware! This is the kind of behavior that gives investors a bad name. Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning.

B) focused on discouraging you and discrediting your model (to make you think you need them) before making their offer... you can spot these guys by the following characteristics: A) 2+ degrees of separation from someone you trust. It's Really the Money. ridiculous advisor agreements. and D) you feel like taking a shower after meeting with them. Stupid early-stage investor but rather someone who is trying to prey on naive entrepreneurs. 10% common stock kickers and other low-ball tactics. Just be careful out there. C) always want to spend 20+ minutes reviewing their accomplishments. OK. Get a special surprise.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Whenever the markets heat up. Comment by Brian Egan While raising our seed round we had lots of “investors” try to extract value w/ finder’s fees. network and general awesomeness.for free.. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 97 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Stupid Beyond The Blog: Burning. It's Really the Money. June 2011 Gift this book to your friends. OK.. Become a Hyperink reader.. this kind of thing starts happening. Founders.

.Beyond The Blog: Burning... XII.. Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Keeping Your You-Know-What.. Keeping Your You- Know-What Together Hyperink Blog to Book Series 98 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Keeping Your You-Know-What...

) While I have plenty of things that I’m working on that have a much longer arch than one week. And they should all be able to be completed by the end of the week. Keeping Your You-Know-What. including things that regularly come up that are as important (or even more important) that whatever I’ve Hyperink Blog to Book Series 99 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Keeping Your You-Know-What.. And they are always important. Beyond The Blog: Burning.g.... and I regularly tackle hard stuff that just needs to get done. During an intense but enjoyable and satisfying business trip. “two down. one to go. Now. But. others I have one or two. I was thinking to myself. Some weeks I have three.. accounting and administration will make sure you have the foundation to support your “burning” ambition.” And I realized I have been using a construct of “three priorities a week max” for a long time. But most importantly. on Monday mornings as I’m going through my daily information routine. I have a clear sense of accomplishment on a weekly basis. I should be able to recite them without thinking. I do a lot more than three things a week. Occasionally I can’t get one done and it rolls over into the next week. don’t forget about the “mundane” stuff that keeps your business viable. I limit myself to three as I don’t think you can have more than three “highest priorities” at any given time.. I always have at least one.. I also have many more than three things that I complete each week. if you walk up to me and ask me what my P1s are for this week. I was getting ready to go to bed in order to wake up in time to make my 6:40am flight. I was rolling my one remaining priority for the week around in my head. I think about what I need to do to get closure on these priorities. I clear the decks of big priorities. When I start the week. I find this weekly rhythm to be very grounding.. And I can never have more than three P1′s. I make a clear mental commitment to get these priorities (or P1′s in Zynga speak) done. Each day when I wake up. I usually carve out a few minutes to make sure I have my priorities for the week firmly lodged in my brain.Beyond The Blog: Burning. but once something becomes a P1 it stays a P1 until it gets done. Managing Priorities Amid the passion of being an entrepreneur. they are clearly defined and easily explained (e. The following tips on time management.

by having the big ones for the week set at the beginning of the week.” Comment by davidifishman I have been doing a form of this for the last few years. It certainly helps bring the most important goals for individuals and companies to the top. February 2011 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 100 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. I kept saying to myself: “One more to go.. Keeping Your You-Know-What.. Beyond The Blog: Burning. I’ve got two days to get it done. Keeping Your You-Know-What. since people feel like they are accomplishing goals every week. defined as my P1s for that week. This not only helps productivity but morale.. One aspect I would add though is that I try and break them into things you can control (like complete product spec) versus things you can’t control on your own (like get deal signed with company name)... And I’ve got plenty of time on my remaining two plane flights to knock it off.. But I don’t shuffle the priorities around. I have a clear set to focus on whenever I need to re-ground myself..Beyond The Blog: Burning. I also ask anyone who works with or for me to do this as well.

..” In fact. and annual tempo.. Raj Bhargava (who recently co-founded two companies I’ve invested in – Yesware and SkedulMe) sent me a blog post by Michael titled “Tip for Getting More Organized: Don’t. They fit within a daily... simplify”.” I couldn’t agree more. “simplify. Beyond The Blog: Burning. quarterly. Keeping Your You-Know-What.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Keeping Your You-Know-What. or – “simplify fucking everything”" April 19.. and the idea of productively organizing yourself is obsolete. the weekly ones are the three things I want to Hyperink Blog to Book Series 101 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .” In it Michael makes the argument that the notion of spending time each day organizing your tasks. makers. 2012 I had a great breakfast meeting at the Cambridge Marriott with Michael Schrage. Focus on Outcomes. it’s that we haven’t become dependent enough. The daily and weekly outcomes are dynamic — I have to think about them regularly and they change and shift around (I have new ones each day and new ones each week). Not Organization @bfeld “I have three words for you. the concept of email folders. I no longer have a task list. the more wasteful and inefficient we become. It’s not that we’re becoming too dependent on our technologies to organize us. it’s to get the right technologies that respond to our personal productivity needs.. a research fellow at MIT. The money quote at the end is: “The essential takeaway is that the new economics of personal productivity mean that the better organized we try to become. Our job today and tomorrow isn’t to organize ourselves better. weekly. We’ll likely get more done better if we give less time and thought to organization and greater reflection and care to desired outcomes. simplify. I have outcomes I’m going after. I spend almost no time “organizing my tasks. he challenged some of my thinking. We had never met before and I loved the conversation. I call these my Daily P1s and my Weekly P1s (which I wrote about recently in a post titled “Managing Priorities”). and we had a deep and awesome conversation about open source hardware. The daily ones are the three things I want to accomplish before I go to sleep. His brain was bubbling with ideas that are relevant to many of the things I’m interested in. and MakerBot..

If you are someone who spends 30 minutes or more a day “organizing yourself. reading.” I’m an aggressive user of whatever exists and when I reflect on where I’m at. But that’s it.. Keeping Your You-Know-What. where I need to be.Beyond The Blog: Burning..” I encourage you to step back and think about what you could change and how that might shift you from focusing on organizing to working toward outcomes. not on organizing myself.” I love the notion of focusing on outcomes rather than organization. thinking about. I have a daily schedule that is highly structured (and managed by my assistant) so I don’t have to spend a millisecond thinking about who I need to meet with. What’s the right thing? That’s the whole point! January 2012 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 102 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Beyond The Blog: Burning. Keeping Your You-Know-What.. If you know me. I’ve been hearing about. I definitely feel like I’ve gotten to the place where I’m spending almost all of my time and energy on outcomes and achieving them. It’s liberating. accomplish each week before Monday morning.. Comment by Pete Griffiths I couldn’t agree more. or what I need to schedule for later.” What’s the point of being efficient if you are doing the wrong thing? The key to being effective is focusing on the right thing. For as long as I’ve been an adult... and experimenting with different technology to be “more organized and productive. you know that I just “go where my schedule tells me to... I have long drawn a distinction between people who are “efficient” and people who are “effective.

founders need to have a working understanding of the basics.. Keeping Your You-Know-What. of which finance is the most critical. However. Nothing else in this article matters if you run out of money. better and cheaper. they’re intimately involved with their core product or service. In other words. Often. Always. understand. “While creating a growth business can be exhilarating.. founders don’t have formal training in finance. An elementary level of financial literacy means they’ll work more intelligently with their financial advisors and become the first line of defense for spotting potential problems in the young company. Keeping Your You-Know-What.. the founder) or thousands of employees in your business... I think it’s useful whether you have one employee (you. While it’s aimed at an early stage entrepreneur. Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs I wrote the following article on “Financial Fitness for Entrepreneurs” for the Kauffman Foundation’s Entreworld web site.. professionals putting together advertising. or super-salesmen types who’ve figured out how to sell a pizza or deliver a package faster.Beyond The Blog: Burning. they’re “techies” launching the next Apple Computer or Netscape.. It’s aimed at any entrepreneur — not just those running venture funded companies. no matter what their background or inclination about finance.. management consulting. such as their CFO and outside auditors or CPAs. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Often. don’t run out of money. I got a lot of positive feedback and it ended up in USA Today. What follows are some fundamental financial tenets that all early-stage entrepreneurs should be aware of. don’t get caught Hyperink Blog to Book Series 103 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . This means know your burn rate (the net cash that is flowing out of your business each month) and be aware that your low cash point for any given month may not be at the end of the month. they are too busy to burrow into the details of some of the company’s functions. and heed. many entrepreneurs — especially those starting a company for the first time — don’t pay enough attention to some core issues surrounding the financial management of their businesses. Cash is king: No matter what. or human resources agencies. These entrepreneurs are savvy enough to know they must work with financial professionals.

Use your vendors to fund your business: Vendors love to get paid on time (or early). and cash flow statements. planning based on full month figures only to find that you do not have enough money to pay your most important vendor on the 15th because your customers don’t pay you until the 30th. This is your easiest benchmark to measure against: your own expectations. that rarely happens. However. you are on solid financial footing. Tell them when you are going to pay them. Measure everything: If you have real financial systems in place. Don’t be bashful about asking them to prepay. and then make sure you follow through. send regular payments. You should have it finished before January 1. Use your customers to fund your business: Customers — especially ones that value your products and services — will often be willing to pay on very short terms. Put in real financial systems from day one: Lots of entrepreneurs figure that they’ll “get around to putting in real financial systems someday soon. If you don’t set them. it’s typical to stretch payables 45 to 60 days. balance sheet. make sure you evolve and expand what you measure to best reflect the current state of your business.. Be careful of personal guarantees: Banks love personal guarantees. Beyond The Blog: Burning. “It’s better to build on a strong foundation. you can measure everything. As your business grows.. Some things that you’ll measure will be similar to what most other businesses measure.. not just where it has come from.. The key is to pay consistently — if you have a vendor from whom you continually use services or buy products. Financial systems can and should capture more than just historical financial results.. Other things will be unique to your business. as a young business. Put the foundation in place early so that as your business grows. Be obsessive about it. Entrepreneurs hate them.” applies. Build an annual operating plan: Be disciplined about creating an annual operating plan and budget every year. While most vendors will want to be paid within 30 days (or less). You should avoid them if you can —only sign one as a last resort. Also. you won’t know how you did. Keeping Your You-Know-What. your vendors will appreciate consistency of payment over timeliness. especially if no one on the founding team has a strong financial background.. Look especially for metrics that will help tell you where your business is going. Instead. oriented around your specific customers or products. such as your P&L. especially if you are a service business. You are Hyperink Blog to Book Series 104 Hyperink Blog to Book Series ..Beyond The Blog: Burning. Keeping Your You-Know-What. don’t dodge calls from vendors about paying late. don’t store up your bills and pay in one lump sum sporadically.” Of course.. The cliché.

Choose professionals carefully: It may be tempting to use your wife’s brother’s friend’s neighbor as your lawyer. already investing a huge amount of your personal assets and energy in your business. state.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Don’t take anything for granted: Double-check everything. Beyond The Blog: Burning. the personal guarantee doesn’t matter. it probably is: While this is generally true in life. missing or delaying tax payments is often a serious crime. familiarize yourself with it.. You’ll then be able to work deftly with your pros to put the company of your dreams on the sound financial footing necessary for success. Find professionals who know what they are doing and have experience with young companies. Pay your taxes on time: Unlike customers and vendors. Ask questions. Correspondingly. Keeping Your You-Know-What. it doesn’t make sense for a capital-intensive company that needs to build a plant to raise $250. and know what you are getting into. If you have the right systems (did I mention that you should have good systems?). our local. Keeping Your You-Know-What. reread the second bullet point and put in the right systems. because he will give you a great rate and you see him at the neighborhood barbecue. but you get what you pay for. In addition to potentially incurring onerous penalties. be wary. and federal tax authorities don’t appreciate being used as financing sources for your business.. it’s especially true concerning financial issues surrounding an early stage company.. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 105 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .000 of angel money. It makes no sense for a service business that could potentially be a $5 million company within three years to try to raise $10 million of venture capital. It’s the downside case you should be worried about.. when your business succeeds.. If it sounds too good to be true. financings will always have a cost.. Read it over. because you could lose major personal assets like your house. you should question whether it’s the right kind of financing.. this is easy.” That’s the list. and investors are always going to have strings attached to their money. The same is true for accountants and other services that your business will use. If you don’t. If you can’t get financing based on the strength of your business. In the upside scenario. Finance your business appropriately for what you are trying to create: One of the most common mistakes an early stage entrepreneur makes is trying to raise the wrong kind of money for the business. Your books should always balance.. and begin developing a lay entrepreneur’s understanding of finance.

e. 2. Dick emailed his friend Josh.” They had limited formal business accounting experience. Create monthly snapshots on a rolling 12 month basis.. to see how they figured out all of this stuff.. Dick and Jane. But. Keeping Your You-Know-What. for now. 5. They reached out to their friend John. 3. but it included phrases like 409a and VSOE. Be sure to use accrual accounting. John also mentioned a bunch of other stuff that Dick didn’t write down because they weren’t really sure what it meant.. He summarized Dick’s advice and Josh replied: “That’s great advice and you should do all of that stuff — eventually. Tie each round of funding to a set of key milestones in the development of your product/business. focus on the following:” Hyperink Blog to Book Series 106 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Build a financial model that forecasts the P&L. Feeling overwhelmed.Beyond The Blog: Burning. with a venture in mind they’re calling “SayAhh. Revenues and costs should both be based off of a robust set of assumptions. John took an hour out of his day to do a conference call with Dick and gave SayAhh advice on how to set up their accounting system. determine how you will raise capital to ensure liquidity and be sure to properly account for the debt or equity transaction on the balance sheet and Cap Table. This should tie to your GL for “actuals” (i... Setting Up Your Accounting System Let’s say we had two burning entrepreneur partners. Set up a double-entry accounting system and use it to track all financial transactions.. a CFO at a late-stage VC-backed company in Boston that was about to file an S-1 to go public. His advice included the following: 1. Anytime the financial model indicates that SayAhh will run out of cash. 4. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Tie the P&L forecast to the Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement and generate snapshots of what the Financial Statements will look like each year for the next 5 years. historical data)... Keeping Your You-Know-What. but they both knew how to balance a checkbook. the CEO of an early-stage startup in Boulder. not cash accounting. 6.

. 1. However. At the end of each week. including on Day 1. make sure you’ve properly labeled each transaction using the QuickBooks Chart of Accounts. Keeping Your You-Know-What. Keeping Your You-Know-What. As you build your business. Beyond The Blog: Burning. his advice missed the mark because he didn’t have a lot of experience at the early stages... Think through all of the expenses that you anticipate over the next 12 months and enter them.. Know exactly when you run out of money. It is easy to get caught up in all the administrivia of of forming a company.. It required a small investment of time and money to get QuickBooks up and running. And. building a business plan. How do you know what matters most when? This is where developing a network of trusted and qualified mentors comes in handy. you need to know about a wide range of issues affecting your business. Setup a simple accounting system like QuickBooks and sync it with your bank account. 2. Dick and Jane followed Josh’s advice. To be successful. 4. In contrast.. Josh was an experienced entrepreneur who had started several companies and likely learned his lessons through experience. well before the time you hit a wall and go splat. and be sure to start raising any needed cash well in advance. 3. surround yourself with as many Josh’s as you can. you should focus intently on forecasting your cash flows as accurately as you possibly can.Beyond The Blog: Burning. QuickBooks allows you to forecast expenses. but you’ll pick it up. Update this every time you become aware of new transactions and maintain this on a rolling basis. but it was a manageable distraction from building their core product. Ask me if you have questions.. Running out of cash will either kill your company or force you into a very painful financing round. you do not have to become an expert on each and the degree to which you need to understand various issues evolves along with your business. make sure you find mentors like John to help you at at the appropriate stages. While John was trying to be helpful. as you grow. Build a plan as to how you will inject more cash into the business any time QuickBooks shows you running out of cash. QuickBooks will show you if/when you will run out of cash within the next 12 months. and developing financial forecasts that you fail to spend time building your product.. At all points in the development of your startup. This takes a little getting used to. Make sure you both have business credit/debit cards and that you use them (or checks) for all transactions. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 107 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .

As Josh suggested. Dick.g. See Dick burn. marketing analytics)... You can and will become increasingly sophisticated in analyzing and interpreting that data over time.. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 108 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Beyond The Blog: Burning. The end. on the things that mattered.. but you cannot analyze it if you do not have it. and SayAhh focused when it mattered.. Jane. QuickBooks and other accounting software programs will do this for your finances. Keeping Your You-Know-What. customer behavior.. See Jane burn. Keeping Your You-Know-What...Beyond The Blog: Burning. support inquiries. when you first start your business you should focus on building systems and processes that allow you to accurately capture as much data as possible from the start. but you should also implement tools for tracking other key metrics (e..

I felt like I had been run over by a truck. Keeping Your You-Know-What. As I was looking up at the sky. I hung in there. but a nice number survived and ultimately thrived. dust themselves off. kept getting up every day and doing my best. a steamroller came and flattened me.. the steamroller backed up and smushed me again. Then 9/11 happened. get up.. One of the great things about entrepreneurship in America is that failure is an accepted part of the cycle. By the summer of 2001. I noticed a number of articles that I’d put in the “how to not fail” bucket. you can fail gracefully and hopefully learn something from it. I realized that every day had been worse than the previous day. and helping all of the companies I was an investor in however I could. evolving.. After I got up. If you accept reality. and growing stronger and better. large and small.” When great people fail. Things eventually got better.” Throughout my life and career I’ve failed at many things. partnership. It’s never fun — and it can be really stressful / painful / emotionally hard — but it’s a part of learning.. working hard to make informed and intelligent decisions. Keeping Your You-Know-What. instead I resolved myself that every day would be worse. As I grappled with this.. I used to say something like “one of the great things about America is that failure is acceptable. I read a few of these and noticed a consistent tone of “failure is bad — here’s how to avoid it.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Beyond The Blog: Burning. I view failure as a fundamental part of every entrepreneurial endeavor. And I learned a lot. I’ll never forget the deepest cycle of failure I’ve been in to date. relationship. learn from it. Then. Have You Ever Failed? As I was going through my morning information routine. and then dropped a flaming stick on top of me. lead. they acknowledge it. As the Internet bubble popped exploded. I realized I was lying on top of a hole and the top fell in and I tumbled down to the bottom. whether it’s a failed project. until it eventually got better. company after company that I was an investor in failed. customer. hire.. some jerk came into view.. and get back at it. The Hyperink Blog to Book Series 109 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I no longer got up in the morning and said “ok. the best leaders understand that failure is an integral part of things. As I was peeling myself off the ground. or even the entire business. A few more failed. poured gasoline onto me. today will be better than yesterday”. In my worldview. While I fail at stuff regularly.

Going forward... Keeping Your You-Know-What..for free. You gotta have that notch on the belt. and try again. Another is the famous line from Atlas Shrugged: “Nobody stays here by faking reality in any manner whatever.. I’ve learned a hell of a lot.. Keeping Your You-Know-What..” Deal with it.” I don’t believe that “failure is bad. rather than team up with someone who is green on the failure front. cliché “fail fast” is one of my favorites. more humble person. Though my failure has been an extraordinarily painful and embarrassing process. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 110 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .Beyond The Blog: Burning.. I’m very thankful as it has made me a stronger. I’d much rather go into business with a partner who has experienced their own failure at some point and learned from it. Become a Hyperink reader. in my future business endeavors. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Get a special surprise... March 2009 Gift this book to your friends. While I accept “the experience of failure” feels “negative / crappy / depressing / hard / sucky. When things aren’t working. wiser. pick yourself up.” Denying that failure is part of our existence is akin to faking reality.. the business eventually failed and it completely wiped me out personally – and I mean completely. learn from it. Comment by Michael Gates I left a lucrative career in investment banking to pursue a lifelong dream of opening up a restaurant lounge in Manhattan. Suffice to say. deal with it.

.. Burning Examples Hyperink Blog to Book Series 111 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Burning Examples XIII...

Beyond The Blog: Burning. Sometimes the writer gets this right and links it back to John Underkoffler. The NY Times got it right in their article “You. Too.. the product excellence and the determination not to suck.” This is a picture of John Underkoffler at TED on Friday giving one of his jaw-dropping demos of Oblong’s g-speak spatial operating environment.. you know that I’m a huge believer that the way we interact with computers in 20 years will be radically different than how we interact with them today. For the past few years. every time someone talks about next generation user interfaces. a reference to the movie Minority Report pops up. but many times they don’t. Lest you think this is science fiction. Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning. evidenced in companies that are supernova-hot.. Burning Examples Oblong Dazzles More Than Just Me The following are examples of burning entrepreneurs. the co-founder of Oblong. If you are a long time reader of my writing.. Pay attention to the focus. I can assure you that Oblong has several major customers. Can Soon Be Like Tom Cruise in ‘Minority Report. I’ve put my money where my mouth is as Foundry Group has invested in a number of companies around human computer interaction. is generating Hyperink Blog to Book Series 112 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . including Oblong.

one machine. one screen is passé.. As John likes to say. but we’ll save those for another day... one mouse. The TechCrunch article “The iPad Is Step 1 In The Future Of Computing. and is poised to enter several mainstream markets with g-speak derived products. Oblong shipped steps 2 and 3 while most were working on step 1. This Is Step 2 (Or 3)” gives you a little of the history. While there is an amazing amount of interesting stuff suddenly going on around HCI (and we have invested in a few other companies around this). I personally have stories going back to 1984 when I first met John. The company has been steadily building momentum over the past few years since we invested.” Hyperink Blog to Book Series 113 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . “the old model of one human.. More of the history is at Oblong’s post “origins: arriving here” that go back to 1994.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning. Burning Examples meaningful revenue.

And between that milestone and their birth in 2002. Rally had 17 babies (well.cnn. Rally’s leadership team decided to do something about this. the founder. I remember when Ryan Martens.. By The Blog: Burning.. would sit for entire days in a small conference room near my office covering the white boards on the walls with his scribblings. Now you’ve just got to get these kids using software from Kerpoof at an early age. Burning Examples Rally Software Builds a Great Company… and the Media Agrees Lots of little things go into building a great company over the long term. people that work for Rally have had the babies. but you probably figured that out). Rally was a 150-person company that planned to add another 75 people on the heels of its $16 million financing led by Greylock. Rally Software is one that I’m proud to have been involved in from the beginning.. and everyone else at Rally.. which CNN picked up. KUSA ran this terrific feature on Rally’s baby-friendly culture. I wonder how Agile Parenthood works? Hyperink Blog to Book Series 114 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .kusa Nicely done Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning. http://www.

just let SendGrid to it. While mobile phones used to only really work effectively with SMS. hard to do well. They directly address the problem Fred describes which every software developer knows is a pain in the ass. they are growing like crazy. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 115 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . My partners and I have continued to invest aggressively in what we believe is social media’s secret weapon which we refer to as the comm channel in a hat tip to the TV show 24. the comm channel is email.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. my very first Boulder-based investment which I believe was the very first email service provider (ESP) and was acquired by MessageMedia which was then bought by Doubleclick. So we invested in Urban Airship who does for push notifications what SendGrid does for email. Our investment here is in SendGrid. sending out over 60 million transactional emails a day. a company that came out of TechStars Boulder 2009 and is one of the white hot companies in Boulder. Every web app sends transactional email — rather than build all the code yourself. Everyone that uses apps on a mobile phone is likely experiencing push notifications as an increasingly important as a form of engagement. are in use by over 10. Fred and I are both investors in Return Path which he calls out in his post as the category creator and market leader in email deliverability. In Fred’s post. uninteresting. but needs to be done right. Like SendGrid.” I’ve been investing in email-related stuff for over 15 years going back to Email Publishing. I love Return Path as a company and am incredibly proud of what they’ve done as a business.. and push notifications... and just sent their 10 billionth transactional email. email.” I completely agree that email is the key communications channel for social media and have written about this before in posts like “100% Click Through Rate.000 companies. But email isn’t the only comm channel. you now have SMS. Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning.000 customers and have sent over 3 billion push notifications. They are now doing it for over 24.” “Email: The Original Social Graph” and “Email Is Still the Best Login. Burning Examples In Praise of Return Path and SendGrid: Implementing Social Media’s Secret Weapon Fred Wilson had an excellent post titled “Social Media’s Secret Weapon – Email.

use Urban Airship.. Burning Examples My message to all web developers: if you are serious about what you are doing. And if you are a mobile developer. You likely no longer sit around with a screwdriver setting up a server in a datacenter — instead you are using a cloud provider like Rackspace or Amazon.Beyond The Blog: Burning. focus on your app.. Don’t waste precious development time on all the activities around the app. Don’t spend your time coding up an email notification infrastructure... don’t waste your time writing a bunch of code for push notifications. Most importantly. use SendGrid. Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning. don’t ignore the thing that will actually make your web app get adoption and retention: comm channels! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 116 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .

Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning. But don’t take my word for it. you can make extra bucks by being one of the optimizers for Trada’s service. hear it directly from Niel the scarf maker: Google AdWords) worked and whether a crowdsourcing approach could materially improve their performance.Beyond The Blog: Burning. ask him what he thinks of the If your company does anything around PPC Niel and Seth made a second video in a series that continues the saga of Niel the scarf maker. It was started by Niel Robertson. if you run into Seth on the street. he and my partner Seth Levine spent a few months really going deep and figuring out how (PPC) pay per click marketing campaigns ( Trada announced that in addition to Google and Yahoo. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 117 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . they support Bing. has been absolutely killing it. When Niel first came up with the idea. one of our investments that is based in Boulder. take a look at Trada. Rather than putting out a turgid press release. Burning Examples How Trada Works: Now Improved with Bing Trada.. if you are doing any sort of PPC marketing you will see dramatic improvements by using Trada’s service.. And. And.. It turns out that it does.. if you are a PPC expert. who we’ve worked with in various forms going back to the mid-1990’s. http://www.

. His one-year CEO anniversary is approaching. I expect we’ll look back and see Hyperink Blog to Book Series 118 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . I’m super proud of Jud and the team he’s built at Gnip. across the spectrum (business. was executing flawlessly on the product and operations side as it scaled up. negotiating several significant deals including the first Twitter data resyndication deal.. While Gnip was building a business based on the idea that led to its creation. Burning Examples Gnip Is on Fire One of the favorite times for me in the life of a company is when it finds its sweet spot and really turns on the juice. Burning Examples Beyond The Blog: Burning.. including several that we funded) and a different approach to the product. and they hired as fast as they can find great people. Jud is an extremely experienced CTO/technical product manager and developer. Gnip started around 2008 and is a testament to our belief at Foundry Group that it often takes several years for a brand new company to really find its mojo. The beginning of 2011 was pleasantly insane. At this point. Jud Valeski. growing the team. The first version of the product was based on an architectural approach that didn’t aptly satisfy all players in the ecosystem and wasn’t flexible enough. Oh. sales. The most recent Boulder-based company to really hit its stride is Gnip. stepped up to be the CEO. and things are going great. Gnip added customers at rate that any investor would be proud of.. and engineering). and unleashing a very compelling set of products on the world. like most firms breaking new ground it had its share of bumps along the way. but had never been a CEO. This approach worked much better. and he’s much happier today). including a layoff of almost half the team (who were quickly absorbed into a number of other local Boulder companies. Over the past year. but by this point one of the co-founders was frustrated with the customer dynamics (all business-facing) and decided to leave to start a new consumer-facing business (he left on good terms. The investors in Gnip committed to supporting Jud in any way he needed and he’s done a spectacular job of building the product. This led to a reset of the business. and posted month over month growth numbers that put it in the “they are killing it” category. we are still good friends.Beyond The Blog: Burning. the other co-founder. we’ve had a number of our Boulder- based investments find this magic moment. including Trada and SendGrid.

Beyond The Blog: Burning... Burning Examples
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Burning Examples

how Gnip went from a highly product development-focused company to a company that
was firing on all cylinders. Chalk up another substantial software/Internet company for

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Hyperink Blog to Book Series 119
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning... Conclusion
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Conclusion



Hyperink Blog to Book Series 120
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning... Conclusion
Beyond The Blog: Burning... Conclusion

What It Is to Burn
Behold the burning entrepreneur. Everything you’ve heard about leaders of successful
startups is true. They are a different kind of people. However, don’t think X-Men (or
should I have said Johnny Storm of the Fantastic Four?). Burning entrepreneurs don’t
have mutant strands of DNA. They aren’t born to greatness. Their qualities are learned
and practiced. That means you can be a burning entrepreneur too.

I’ve had the thrill and honor of observing hundreds of entrepreneurs and funding many of
the best. After starting companies myself, I decided I never wanted to climb out of the
trenches. This has allowed me to see the components of successful entrepreneurialism in
myself and others. There are common elements and repeated motifs.

You need passion and control. How do you combine such different qualities? Be in love
with your business and don’t halt your commitment at 99%. You need to be a different
type of leader. How do you accomplish this “easier-said-than-done” mission? Make
everyone in your organization the CEO of his/her job and tune out the distractions of
bubble predictors, Wall Street palm readers, and other extraneous naysayers. Want to
blow away your customers? Focus on your product and replace stale marketing with
people-oriented demand generation. Are money worries strangling your muse? Manage
your financiers AND your finances.

There’s a reason so many rock songs are about fire and burning (and you thought it was
all about sex and cars). Think 1965: the Beatles have established the beachhead and the
Stones, The Who and everyone else waving a Union Jack and a Rickenbacker is charging
in. So play today’s rock and roll. Join the startup invasion. Start burning!

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Hyperink Blog to Book Series 121
Hyperink Blog to Book Series

Beyond The Blog: Burning. Recommended Books for Burning. Recommended Books for Burning. Beyond The Blog: Burning... XV....... Recommended Books for Burning Entrepreneurs Hyperink Blog to Book Series 122 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .

follow: Atlas Shrugged : While I’m not an Ayn Rand fanatic.. The question in the email was: “I’m looking for some book recommendation that has made an impact in your life. along with brief reasons. Chabon is an incredible storyteller and he takes the philosophy-fiction genre to a new level.) While this book is a fictionalized account of the creation of the comic book industry it really is a treatise to entrepreneur as superhero. This is a very long book that should be read slowly and carefully. Three Entrepreneurial Books to Read Before You Turn 21 I regularly get asked some variant of “what books would you recommend to an entrepreneur?” I typically send a quick email answer along with a link to the list of all the books I’ve read in the past few years. it should also be read slowly and savored.. every entrepreneur (or aspiring entrepreneur) must read this book to better understand the morality of self-interest (which is at the root of Rand’s Objectivism philosophy). Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values : Robert Pirsig’s first book is a brilliant essay on quality. especially John Galt’s speech near the end. Beyond The Blog: Burning...” Fred’s answer included two of my top three books for entrepreneurs. I find the contrast (and conflict) between “producers” / “founders” and “looters” / “moochers” to be a powerful characterization that will meaningfully impact any young entrepreneur. Recommended Books for Burning.. Recommended Books for Burning.. or books that you would recommend that would benefit me in a beginner’s life of entrepreneurship..) While Zen and the Art isn’t as long as Atlas Shrugged. I’ve never been particularly good at reading classical philosophy — Zen and the Art was one of the first philosophy books that I actually felt like I grokked (assuming you don’t include Stranger in a Strange Land in the philosophy genre. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 123 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . My top three.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Fred Wilson forwarded me and Jerry Colonna (his old partner at Flatiron Partners) an email exchange he had with an entrepreneur.. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: I didn’t read this until a few years ago and it was the second Michael Chabon book that I read (after The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – also a fantastic book. Earlier this week.

Recommended Books for Burning. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 124 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .... All three of these books are on my “must read” list for entrepreneurs of any age....Beyond The Blog: Burning. Recommended Books for Burning.. Beyond The Blog: Burning..

Now a lot of that focus has shifted to deal making and exits. Beyond The Blog: Burning. As the world becomes fascinated with exits. We’ve worked closely together on the Startup Visa Movement. The Lean Startup Many of the tech blogs/news blogs that I’m reading are suddenly about deals: financings. It was with this backdrop that I read The Lean Startup by Eric Ries.” especially around product. and great style and approach to things. I’ve been a fan of Eric’s for a number of years ever since I first started reading his blog. he’s the pioneer of the Lean Startup Movement. Several years ago....’” April 30. and team. Recommended Books for Burning.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. nothing else matters in the entrepreneurial chain. but applies throughout the lifecycle of any business as all product initiatives. building on the great work of one of his mentors. and I put him on my short list of people who I’d support in any endeavor that was important to him based on his attitude. Both Eric and Steve have must read blogs and Eric’s new book will join Steve’s as a critical book for any entrepreneur working on a tech startup. IPOs.. deep thinking. Steve Blank who wrote the seminal book The Four Steps to the Epiphany. there was a lot more about “how to start up a company. If you don’t know Eric. We spend a lot of time on this at TechStars and you see a lot of the lean startup principles reflected in the stories in Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Entrepreneurship. Recommended Books for Burning.. valuations. and bubbles (or not bubbles)... vision. @bfeld “Every time I hang out with @ericries I think to myself ‘man – I wish I spent more time with @ericries. vision. I’m going to keep focusing on startups because without them. 2012 Hyperink Blog to Book Series 125 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . especially new ones. The Lean Startup is focused on the early stages of a company. benefit greatly from the Lean Startup approach.

Recommended Books for Burning. which of course. The Thank You Economy takes it to another level. Books like The Thank You Economy are easy to read.. you sort of are. so I’ll stay with that) but I was fascinated with Gary’s reach and what he was creating.. My first real dose of Gary was Wine Library TV... his endless examples that are right on the money.. and I highly recommend it for anyone who is doing anything in business today. you feel like you are a having a long conversation with Gary.. they are full of great examples knitted together with Gary’s thoughts and ideas.Beyond The Blog: Burning. While reading the book. inspiration. his irreverence for the status quo. Recommended Books for Burning. What I love about Gary is his intense passion for what he does. The Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk’s book The Thank You Economy is dynamite. Beyond The Blog: Burning. I’m not a wine guy (there are a lot less brands of single malt scotch. and insight. and his obsession with mastering anything he gets involved in.. written in a very accessible way. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 126 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Crush It! was his first book and was full of energy.. his complete dedication to his ideas.

. Steve Jobs – Howard Roark Paul Krugman – Ellsworth Toohey John Allison – John Galt Angelo Mozilo – James Taggart Bill Gates – Henry Rearden Barney Frank – Wesley Mouch T...... as evidenced by his Wikipedia page and entertaining conflict with Paul Krugman (who he skewers in the book).m. But if you are. Recommended Books for Burning. this book isn’t for you.Beyond The Blog: Burning. my dad said to me. without the book.” That’s all the recommendation I needed — it went to the top of my Kindle reading list. The author. I read it one night in a jet lagged haze on my couch. Rodgers – Francisco d’Anconia Alan Greenspan – Robert Stadler Milton Friedman – Hugh Akston My only disappointment was that he didn’t tackle a character for Dagny Taggart. while writing an original narrative on the character and biography on the person being referenced. Donald Luskin. “Brad. Recommended Books for Burning.. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 127 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . If you aren’t an Atlas Shrugged fan. go grab it now — you’ll love it. is polarizing. but it had me consumed for a few hours. He does a magnificent job of deconstructing the people in the context of the Altas Shrugged character. I was wide awake at 2 a. Beyond The Blog: Burning. You’ll love it. you have to read the book I Am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It.J.. Luskin does the biography of the following nine men by lining them up with characters in Atlas Shrugged. I Am John Galt A while back.

and investor–founder relationships. David Frankel.. Recommended Books for Burning. roles of founders. and many I know from a distance. alignment between founders.. Noam systematically marches through all of the major dilemmas I could think of for founders: career. Noam and I had exchanged several emails over the past few months and he sent me a review copy of the book. and with stories. I decided to put it on the top of the stack. and the list goes on and on and on. failure-versus- Hyperink Blog to Book Series 128 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . relationship. Genevieve Thiers (Sittercity – we looked hard at investing but ultimately didn’t). Recommended Books for Burning.. The Founder’s Dilemmas was the first..... investor conflicts (other than mine) with founders. equity allocations between founders. As a result. role. hiring. Dick Costolo (FeedBurner – I was on the board). reward. I’ve never seen a book before that was particularly helpful. transition in roles between founders.. There are plenty of books lots with stories. He covers it three ways: with data. including two that I know reasonably well. but none that are particularly systematic about going through all of the issues. with analysis. anecdotes. and he totally nails it. solo founders. optimal number of founders. He’s done a ten year quantitative study that he follows up with his own analysis and then intermixes this with actual stories from a set of founders.Beyond The Blog: Burning. The Founder’s Dilemma The Founder’s Dilemmas by Noam Wasserman is another book that belongs on every entrepreneur’s bookshelf. emotional struggles with founders as businesses grow and change. It’s excellent. I was able to back test the stories and anecdotes and they were completely factual in contrast to many other books like this where the qualitative stories are embellished to fit either the ego of the participants or the point being made by the author. Noam’s book is the first I’ve read of this precise type. to a founder.. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Kate Mitchell. about the wide range of issues a founder will face. I get asked endless questions about founder dynamics. I met Noam for the first time last week when I was at HBS. but it got lost in my infinite pile of books to read. and I) talking to a room full of HBS alumni who are VCs. I’ve been involved in many conflicts between founders. investor. I laid on the couch all day yesterday with Amy and the dogs and demolished a pair of books. solo-vs-team. After seeing him and talking to him briefly. and suggestions. I was on a panel of VCs (Mike Maples Jr.

Hyperink Blog to Book Series 129 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . success... and anecdote to make and support his points.. buy The Founder’s Dilemmas right now.. or considering being a founder. yes — you can be king and rich. including my favorite around wealth-versus-control: “do you want to be king or want to be rich?” He looks at each of these from all sides (e. This book will help a lot and you won’t regret the time you invest in it.. and wealth-versus-control. One of your goals should be to do everything you can to maximize your chance of success. a board member.g. founder-CEO succession.Beyond The Blog: Burning. If you are a founder.. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Recommended Books for Burning. analysis. but there are other options that may get you where you want to go faster and with a much higher chance of success) and uses a great blend of data. Recommended Books for Burning... I believe he’ll coin several new reference phrases. or an investor.

.”" February 20. much more interesting. and in many ways. thought hard about how he was trying to portray Jobs. Sometimes he makes me want to scream when he missed the mark. both good and bad. He should have probed deeper on the character of Jobs and explored things that people might not have been willing to say.. I’ve long admired Lashinsky’s writing in Fortune. If you. It’s much better. but as time passed I felt mildly unsatisfied. I liked it a lot. but often he gets under the surface of what is going on an covers it in an interesting and compelling way. 2012 I expect many of you have read at least one book on Steve Jobs and Apple since Jobs’ death. Inside Apple @cdixon “Every book about Apple should be forced to label chapters “recycled old stories” or “stuff that is actually new. he should have paused. Recommended Books for Burning. He doesn’t write puff pieces while at the same time avoiding the trap of always writing nastiness. Beyond The Blog: Burning.. like me. Go buy a copy of Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired — and Secretive — Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky. I have a recommendation for you. that many journalists seem to have fallen into the trap of (which — I expect — was prompted by competition from bloggers and the endless fight for headlines and link bait).. more revealing.. It came up randomly in our conversation and after I told him what I thought he responded that he thought it was a huge disappointment. which makes me enjoy reading him even more. yet profound one..Beyond The Blog: Burning. My friends suggestion was a simple. I wrote a short but extremely positive review of Isaacson’s bio on Jobs. Isaacson should have publicly stated that he was delaying the book for a year and then gone back and re-interviewed many of the people he’d talked to. when Jobs was alive. Recommended Books for Burning. He said that Isaacson totally blew it and his publisher. Lashinsky has avoided this trap. and the pressure of “publishing now” undermine the potential for what he was working on. I couldn’t put my finger on it until a dinner conversation with a friend who knows Isaacson and some of the back story of the book.. especially unfounded stuff. and worked incredibly Hyperink Blog to Book Series 130 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . And he should have taken his role as official biographer more seriously — rather than rushing a book out on the heels of Jobs’ passing.. grabbed and consumed a copy of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

use their products.. another level of research. curious about it. he focuses on Apple. and how it really works. Recommended Books for Burning. We all know that Apple is an intensely secretive company and the external (and internal) messages are tightly controlled. as I read through Inside Apple I kept thinking about what my friend said. As a bonus. it’s a contemporary look at the company. And yes. I highly recommend this book. I read it on an iPad. Hyperink Blog to Book Series 131 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .. In a section about “the narcissist (Jobs) and his sidekick (Cook)” he discusses how the narcissist/sidekick relationship can be incredibly effective. what makes it tick.. or are curious about Steve Jobs and the other leaders at Apple.. hard to nail it. Recommended Books for Burning. he does a magnificent job of exploring and revealing Jobs. I give this book an A+.. This is what makes Lashinsky’s book so interesting.. than the normal “pathological narcissist” discussion that follows many entrepreneurs around. Now that Jobs is no longer around. Regardless. which captures part of the psychology of many successful entrepreneurs I know. His words rang true. the dynamics around this might change. A tweet about this section in the book from me generated an email exchange with an organizational psychologist friend which gave me an even deeper understanding of this dynamic. Beyond The Blog: Burning.. thought. Lashinsky gets to some provocative stuff. It certainly would change in anonymous conversations with an official biographer. And. and analysis would be powerful. he nails the notion of a productive narcissist. It’s much more subtle. But by focusing on Apple. this isn’t yet another story of Jobs’ progression from adopted son to the Apple II to Next to Pixar to Mac to iPhone to iPad. Overall. In this one section.Beyond The Blog: Burning. If you are into Apple. He doesn’t focus on Jobs. and useful. By Jobs.. Instead.

while he mixes in lots of biographical information. the creation and evolution of the industry. Draper III) has written a gem called The Startup Game. I do not like consultant roadmaps and have decided I won’t read them anymore. the chronology is self- admittedly random and he bounces between stories of his father and son along with his sojourn to Washington DC which he calls his “lost years.Beyond The Blog: Burning.. including Draper & Johnson. The Startup Game After writing Do More Faster with David Cohen. Recommended Books for Burning. And William III started several firms. I like the practitioner stories best. and (c) practitioner stories. I have deep appreciation for the effort involved in writing a book. and many of the early players whose names are well known to any VC insider.” SF Gate published an interview titled “William Draper.. His son.) started Draper Gaither & Anderson. I’ve decided there are three categories: (a) autobiographies. This isn’t an autobiography.. but they’ve all collectively accomplished some amazing things.. Sutter Hill Ventures. After reading a bunch of entrepreneurship books. It’s a mix of practitioner stories with some autobiography mixed in. In The Startup Game. Draper is one of the original wrote a review titled “Venture Capitalist Bill Draper Adds ‘Author’ to His Résumé with ‘The Startup Game. Like the book? Support our author and leave a comment! Hyperink Blog to Book Series 132 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Draper talks about the early days of venture capital. Draper Richards. one of the first VC firms on the west coast that coincidentally was the first firm to use a limited partner (LP structure). (b) consultant roadmaps. Recommended Books for Burning.. Along the way he tells stories about companies he’s funded (or missed funding) and generally teaches at least one lesson in each story. and Draper International..'” Both capture the spirit of the book which I view as a must read for any practicing or aspiring VC or entrepreneur. followed closely by autobiographies. Become a Hyperink reader.for free. his father (William Henry Draper. Beyond The Blog: Burning. Jr.. Veteran Venture Investor.. Tim Draper. Reflects” and SiliconValley. lots of Drapers. Yup. started Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Gift this book to your friends. Bill Draper (officially William H. Get a special surprise.

..Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Recommended Books for Burning.. Recommended Books for Burning. Beyond The Blog: Burning..... Like this book? Hyperink Blog to Book Series 133 Hyperink Blog to Book Series .

and on the board of Startup (acq. WEBM). he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital and. by GOOG). AmeriData acquired Feld Technologies. a company that helped launch and operate software companies. Oblong. ServiceMetrics (acq. He also directed the diversification into software consulting at AmeriData. and Standing Cloud for Foundry Group. FeedBurner (acq. a firm he founded in 1987 that specialized in custom software applications. IACI). Brad is also a co-founder of TechStars. Brad is a nationally recognized speaker on the topics of venture capital investing and entrepreneurship and writes the widely read blogs Feld Thoughts and Ask the VC. DataPower (acq. IBM). Critical Path (CPTH). NYT). co-chair of Startup Colorado. Brad currently serves on the board of directors of BigDoor. ServiceMagic (acq.Beyond The Blog: Burning. Previously. VIA). Feld Group (acq. Brad served as chief technology officer of AmeriData Technologies.. EXDS). Book contains contributions from Jason Karpf Jason Karpf is an editor/writer with more than 20 years experience in a wide range of Hyperink Blog to Book Series 134 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Notable companies that Brad has invested in and/or sat on the boards of include Abuzz (acq. PALM). and Zynga (ZNGA). Cyanea (acq. Gnip. Gist (acq. Fitbit. In addition to his investing efforts. Cheezburger Networks. RIM). Brad holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Management Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Anyday. Dante Group (acq. Brad is also an avid art collector and long-distance runner. Prior to co-founding Foundry Group. He has completed 21 marathons as part of his mission to run a marathon in each of the 50 states. MakerBot.. Harmonix (acq. founded Intensity Ventures. Brad had grown Feld Technologies into one of Boston’s leading software consulting firms prior to the acquisition. a $1.5 billion publicly-traded company which was acquired by GE Capital in 1995.. Orbotix. About The Author Beyond The Blog: Burning. prior to that. IBM). by EDS).. Brad has been active with several non-profit organizations and currently is chair of the National Center for Women & Information Technology. NetGenesis (IPO). About The Author About The Author Brad Feld Brad has been an early stage investor and entrepreneur for over 20 years.

A history and trivia aficionado. Jason was a four-time champion on the TV game show “Jeopardy!” Hyperink Blog to Book Series 135 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . history and religion.Beyond The Blog: Burning. About The Author Beyond The Blog: Burning.. Jason holds a master’s degree in Organizational and Professional Communication from the University of Denver and is an adjunct instructor in public relations. marketing and communication.. He has published numerous articles on communication... About The Author media.

especially if you've already produced content on the topic.. If you have interesting knowledge that people are willing to pay for. About The Author Beyond The Blog: Burning. Get in touch: Hyperink Blog to Book Series 136 Hyperink Blog to Book Series . Hyperink is based in SF and actively hiring people who want to shape publishing's future. please reach out to us! There's no writing required and it's a unique opportunity to build your own brand and earn with the title of this book in the subject line. We'll send you a PDF copy. so you can access all of the great content we've included as clickable links.. from Android apps marketing to barefoot running. About The Author About the Publisher Hyperink is the easiest way for anyone to publish a beautiful.Beyond The Blog: Burning. We work closely with subject matter experts to create each book.. Email us if you'd like to meet our team! Note: If you're reading this book in print or on a device that's not web-enabled. high-quality book. please email books@hyperinkpress. We cover topics ranging from higher education to job recruiting..

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