Three Keys to Startup Success

 

Paul Graham

Paul Graham

Paul Graham has posted one of his talks from Harvard that focuses on the three things you need to be a successful startup: the idea, people, and what customers want.

Google understands a few other things most Web companies still don’t. The most important is that you should put users before advertisers, even though the advertisers are paying and users aren’t. One of my favorite bumper stickers reads “if the people lead, the leaders will follow.” Paraphrased for the Web, this becomes “get all the users, and the advertisers will follow.” More generally, design your product to please users first, and then think about how to make money from it. If you don’t put users first, you leave a gap for competitors who do.

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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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Worst Startup Headlines of the Year

Clara Byrne shares some of the worst press release headlines she’s seen this year at VentureBeat.

In the interest of public service, here are some of the worst press release and pitch email titles of 2011 and our notes on how to avoid making next year’s list. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.

The winner has to be this one:

Startup X’s Scalable, Modular System Combines Shared-Nothing MPP Relational Database with Enterprise-Class Apache Hadoop for Structured and Unstructured Data Co-processing

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The One Minute Entrepreneur

Daniel Tenner writes that the best solution for entrepreneurs is not always the one you know.

Every problem may look like a nail at first, but if you spend a minute thinking about it, and consider other possible types of solutions, you may realise that a screwdriver may be better suited. A good set of questions to ask yourself during that one minute is:

  • Do I actually know what the problem is?
  • Do I know the extent and impact of the problem?
  • Who is the best person to fix this problem?
  • Does this problem actually need to be fixed?

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21 Fundraising Tips for AngelList

Active Angels Ty Danco and Dharmesh Shah have posted 21 funding tips for Startups looking to leverage AngelList:

AngelList may be a game-changer, but most of the same rules are still in place. Angels still look for the same elements in a startup as always: a strong team; meaningful milestones; a differentiated product in a big potential market; capital efficiency and so on. Therefore, the excellent advice listed in OnStartups, Venture Hacks, AVC, Ask the VC, Both Sides of the Table, and the like still applies. What for now is unique to AngelList is the speed and efficiency with which they can harness an all-star network of active investors in front of a breathtakingly large, qualified stream of startups.

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