Startup Advice

The Demo

The best part of any interaction with an entrepreneur (whether it be a pitch, an informal meeting, or a massive presentation) is without a doubt the demo.  The demo invokes nostalgia...

What Makes an Awesome Founder?

Since I posted my Seed VC Decision Tree, one of the most frequent requests I’ve gotten is to define what makes an “awesome founder”.  I’ve hesitated to define this...

It Took Me 25 Years to Meet Mickey Mouse

By now, hopefully you have heard the news — Punchbowl has been named the exclusive provider of digital invitations featuring Disney characters. To say I’m excited...

The VC - CEO relationship

I’m in the process of closing a new investment right now and getting to know this CEO has been a particular joy. There is a long road ahead, but it’s a great sign when we can...

10 Things I Learned in 2013

Before last year fades completely in the rear view mirror, I want to share a presentation I gave recently. Jorge Soto from Sales4Startups asked me to speak at one of their...

2014 Brand Resolution: 5 Ways to Connect your Brand with Your Customers

Branding gives marketers a bad name. People hear the word “brand” and conjure images of Superbowl ads, money burning holes in agency pockets, hipsters in skinny jeans...

Go Broke and Ignore Customer Feedback – Succeeding in the Startup World

What comes to mind when someone mentions “startups”?  The archetypal image of two guys in a garage cranking out a tech-based, soon to be VC-backed startup in...

Boston Unicorns

Last week, I used Aileen Lee's excellent TechCrunch article on Unicorns as a jumping off point to analyze the role of the MBA in creating these unusually valuable companies...

Build, Borrow, or Buy

Almost every week, it feels like it’s time to add a new piece of technology into the mix. That could mean a new product feature, a project management tool...

3 Ways Video Helps With PR

The statistics are everywhere: people are hungry for online video. Overall, research estimates that video views among Internet users grew by 23% this year. If you think that number...

My Golden Rule for Pitching Your Startup or Product

There’s a simple rule I use when pitching a product or even a company to someone. I call it “No Ands.”  The “No Ands” rule is simple: You have to be able to describe your idea...

Bend the rules of the game – succeeding in the startup world

Harvard Business School’s TechMedia Club held its 19th annual Cyberposium technology conference this past weekend.  With so many successful startups at the conference, it was...

Trivial Ideas Are Deceiving In Their Simplicity

This week I encountered three different people whose opinions I respect who made an argument that generally goes something like:  "Entrepreneurs should stop working on...

Does Passion Matter

Scott Adams, the man behind Dilbert, has a new book out about career success. He discusses some concepts from the book in this Wall Street Journal article, and the most interesting...

10 best mobile market research & analytics tools

While the web measurement & analytics space is quite mature, the mobile landscape is still emerging and open. Here are ten of the research & analytical tools that I’ve found...

Visual Fun with Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg & Eric Schmidt

I had a chance to attend the Montana Jobs Summit in Butte, Montana and watch several amazing speakers, including Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg, and Eric Schmidt.  I spend most...

Users Recruiting New Users

When you’re building a company where the lifetime value of a user is still  unknown (which is virtually all early stage consumer-facing startups), your most healthy source of new...

The Product/Market Fit Mirage

I’m a big believer in the key tenets of Steve Blank’s The Four Steps to the Epiphany and Eric Ries’s The Lean Startup. Particularly, I like to see start-ups follow the...

The Other Founder

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the unsung hero of many start-ups:  the other founder.  A lot has been written about the founder/CEO and her growth and evolution...

The Voice of the Customer Series (3/4): Analyzing Customer Needs

After you have performed your research to gather a full set of customer needs the job is to organize those into a structure you can address by product development and marketing...

Scaling Sales: From Craft to Machine

I've been thinking a lot lately about scaling sales.  In every start-up, finding initial product-market fit is a magical moment.  Before this occurs, the sales process is a craft or...

The Demo

The best part of meeting an entrepreneur is without a doubt the demo.  It’s like “show and tell" but instead of seeing someone’s pet lobster, you get to glimpse (often crudely)...

The 3 dirty little secrets of eCommerce success

Ah, the land of eCommerce. What once was a place where online retailers bought gobs of PPC ads, cornered the market on display inventory and tried to outwit Google for prime...

Think Like an Investor

Experts in product development will tell you to understand your user. Some people are naturals at this, most have to learn. Raising money is no different. Some people understand...

Minimize use of CxO titles at early company stages

I'm about 10 months into helping a bunch of startups through organizations like TechStars, MassChallenge, and others.  And I've seen an emerging trend among startups that I want...

Bonuses Are Toxic At Startups

Venture backed startups are incredibly ambitious. A startup team comes together to try to create something highly improbable and well beyond what can reasonably be expected...

Throwing a Fastball Down the Middle

Right after OMGPOP released DrawSomething to rave reviews (and traction), I was catching up with my friend Nabeel Hyatt and chatted a bit about the game’s meteoric...

Wondering What Colors To Choose For Your Brand? Take The Color Quiz!

Color theory is nothing new. If you paint a room yellow, supposedly it creates anxiety. Grays and blues are soothing, but also depressing, and red is alarming and urgent. When our...

Seed to A Round: The 5 mistakes that can crush your company

Some are calling it a start-up bubble. It’s filled with 23 yr old bright shiny faces with big ideas to change the world. They are getting funding and they are building...

Do I Lead or Manage?

If leaders are supposed to lead, and managers are supposed to manage, then what do I do? The good news is that you don’t have to choose…do both. Whether you...