Video: Why Startups Need to Solve Real Problems

In this video, Alexis Madrigal from The Atlantic presents: The Jig is Up – Why Startups Need To Solve Real Problems.

Alexis Madrigal thinks our modern entrepreneurial climate has a problem: we’re not solving big problems anymore. The startup boom in the late 90s gave birth to revolutionary mobile devices. Now, the best we can do is Facebook. Madrigal offers two solutions: stop the pervasiveness of “free” web apps and increase the diversity among founding teams. Fresh perspectives, he argues, will bring a new paradigm for startups — and for creativity in general.

Video: Stephen Key’s One Simple Idea for Startups

In this video, Stephen Key stops by the Googeplex to discuss his latest book, One Simple Idea for Startups. You can find his book on Google Play.

How many times have you seen a product and thought, “I know how to make that better”?How is it that no one has invented this yet”? And when “haven’t” you thought, “I need to be my own boss”? You’re thinking the right things. Now, the next step is to take action–and that’s exactly what “One Simple Idea for Startups and Entrepreneurs” is all about. Stephen Key, one of the world’s leading experts on getting business ideas off the ground, revealed in his groundbreaking book “One Simple Idea “just how simple it is to make a fortune by selling or “renting” your great ideas.

Choose Influential Customers First

Roy Bahat

Roy Bahat

Over at the Also Blog, Roy Boyhat from Bloomberg Beta writes that Startups need to pick their first customers based on their gradient of influence.

One way to think of it: your first customers are your first hires as marketers. You want them to be as good at their job as possible. Imagine all your customers as you did before (in terms of how valuable they’ll find you, and how easy they’ll be to attract). Then, consider that some of them have influence on others. You’ll find pockets where one kind of customer influences another, and some customer classes who are widely influential, or influential to several important adjacent customer classes. Think of this as a gradient of influence among your customers.

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I JUST FIGURED OUT HOW TO FIX EVERYTHING!

I had a revelation today while trying to buy healthcare. I’m telling you, this idea is a huge opportunity for the right Startup to partner with one of the world’s biggest companies!

Background

Here in Oregon, one needs to use the state’s Cover Oregon web site to sign up for Obamacare. The only problem is, the site does not work.

Having tried myself, I can tell you that it is currently is impossible to get Obamacare through the Cover Oregon web site. I applied a month ago and have heard nothing. Why? Their application is nothing but a PDF form that someone prints somewhere so they can key your data into Oracle!

According to this article in the Oregonian, who is to blame for this debacle? Oracle!

Now it all makes sense.

 
I tried to call Cover Oregon and see what the deal is. After two hours on hold, I never even got through.

I ended up purchasing insurance directly at moda.com. They know how to do business and have a web site that works.

So I’m asking myself, why do we need to apply in the first place? We are required by law to buy insurance.

And then it hit me.

The IRS needs to adopt Obamacare’s business model and hire Oracle to do the web site! You’ll have to apply to pay your taxes.

We will all be much richer in the end.

Hardest Lessons from Startup School

Paul GrahamPaul Graham from Y Combinator has posted lessons some of the Hardest Lessons from Startup School.

Improving constantly is an instance of a more general rule: make users happy. One thing all startups have in common is that they can’t force anyone to do anything. They can’t force anyone to use their software, and they can’t force anyone to do deals with them. A startup has to sing for its supper. That’s why the successful ones make great things. They have to, or die.

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The Jeff Bezos Regret Minimization Framework for Building Your Startup

Over at Forbes, Jeff Tyler writes that budding Entrepreneurs should consider what Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos calls the Regret Minimization Framework.

Bezos weighed the pros and cons over and over again. And finally, he came to a realization that made the decision to pursue his startup idea “incredibly easy.” He called it the regret minimization framework, in which he imagined himself as an 80-year-old man looking back at his life. Foremost, as an elderly man, he knew that his life’s regrets, more so than anything, would keep him tossing and turning late into the night. At the same time, he strongly believed that the 80-year-old Jeff Bezos would not regret having tried building a startup that had a chance to make real impact — even if it most likely ended in failure. What would deeply haunt him would be the regret of having watched the opportunity pass him by.

In what may be their best ad ever, Harley Davidson applied the Regret Minimization Framework in their marketing for great effect.

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Biz Stone on the Importance of Failure for Entrepreneurs

Biz Stone

Over at Inc. Magazine, Abigail Tracy writes about the importance of failure for Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.

Earlier this week, Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter, presented at the New Context Conference in San Francisco and highlighted the fumbles from his start-up career–a nice lead up to today’s much-anticipated Twitter IPO.

Stone reflected on his time at Xanga, and said that not focusing on building a strong company culture was his greatest mistake with the start-up. Unhappy with the company’s shift away from innovation and the culture that had developed, Stone quit Xanga. “What I should have done was work really hard to make a change in the company culture,” said Stone. “The lesson I learned was that company culture at the beginning is incredibly important. You have to tend to it…almost as much as you tend to your product.”

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Video: Sources of Funding for Startups – What Works and What Doesn’t


 
In this video, Ankit Agarwal from Micello and Nikhil Bhat from PRS Technologies discuss Sources of Funding for Startups: What Works and What Doesn’t.

How do you plan on getting your startup funded? When is the right time? And from whom? These questions vex all founders during their finance process and are a constant source of frustration and challenge. There are various models and ideas out there, but few get creative enough to stay lean and cash comfortable. For some industries, (Enterprise & B2B) making a viable product without any funding is nearly impossible, while for some consumer startups, their go to market strategy can be as simple as developing a mobile app.

Failure as a Means of Success

Over at the Summation Blog, Auren Hoffman writes that in most fields, a good success rate is about 25%. If you are succeeding more than that, you are likely not innovating enough or you are settling.

It is a bad sign if you are an entrepreneur and every investor you meet with wants to give you a term sheet on your terms. Either you should be going after better investors or you should be insisting on better terms. A lack of rejection is the surest sign that something is scarily wrong.

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