Written by Andrew Bordeaux on Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Most of us are familiar with Ivan Pavlov and his famous Pavlov dog experiments.
2. Make room for those activities on your schedule (and do whatever you have to do to get it done, including scheduling meeting with yourself or working offsite)
3. Focus on achieving those things that need to be done. Don't let yourself get distracted.
4. Get organized.
5. Be disciplined. Do the things you need to do. Don't waste time on rituals like checking email, getting beverages, and socializing with co-workers in the morning.
6. Get back the attitude you had when you first started your company. By focusing on the high value-add objectives and freeing up your time from monotonous and low value-add activities, you will feel a renewed energy and excitement for your business.
To hear a clip of the interview, click the blue triangle on the player below.
Growthink University members can listen to and/or download the full interview here: http://www.growthinkuniversity.com/members/383.cfm
Written by Jay Turo on Monday, December 21, 2009
Barring a massive rally between now and the end of the year, the "00's" will be the worst decade in the history of the stock market.
Very, very tough. Trillions lost. Retirement plans delayed. Heartache and heartbreak.
Given the amazing and world-changing advances in human productivity and connectivity over the last 10 years, may the venture capital industry, and correspondingly the world of emerging technology - re-find its return footing.
This falls into the category of the equity markets being "due" for a big returns decade. A simple, but defensible premise.
3. May The Nation's Entrepreneurs Lead The Way. Never has there been more productive, focused, mature, and cause-driven entrepreneurs alive in the world than there are today.
Take a look at the below list of the top performing stocks of the past 10 year (1999-2008):
Symbol Company 10 Yr. Cum. Return
And you know what? Come 2019 there will be TEN DIFFERENT obscure and small companies that will make this list.
Noone knows who these companies will be. But to attain alpha, you MUST find them.
One thing is for sure - a few investors WILL find them.
The more interesting question of course is - will you be one of them?
I look forward to your attendance and feedback.
Written by Growthink on Friday, December 18, 2009
Looking for venture capital? Or looking for great insights to grow your business?
1. Ed Sim (Dawntreader Ventures)
Inspirational video for entrepreneurs
"Without a bigger sense of purpose, it is hard to be an entrepreneur and stick through the inevitable tough times that will come your way."
2. Josh Kopelman (First Round Capital)
Board Transparency - and the Implicit Web
Discusses the repurcussions of accessible data and the necessity of transparency with your Board of Directors.
3. Jeremy Liew (Lightspeed Venture Partners)
Why the Economics of Social Gaming are So Attractive to Investors
Trend to watch for in 2010: Social Gaming, this article tells you why.
4. Seth Levine (Foundry Group)
Want more jobs? Support Entrepreneurship
Levine recommends taking the steps included in his blog article to boost the economy and create jobs.
5. Chistopher Allen (Alacrity Ventures)
Community by the Numbers, Part III: Power Laws
What defines the success of a community and how can we predict this?
6. Fred Wilson (Union Square Ventures)
Some Thoughts on Email After Dealing with 500 Emails
An inside peak into VC email response.
7. Bill Gurley (Benchmark Capital)
What is Really Happening to the Venture Capital Industry
VC Bill Gurley takes readers through an overview of the ups and downs of 2009.
8. Paul Graham (Y Combinator)
Startups in 13 Sentences
If VC Paul Graham could tell startups 13 things, these would be them.
9. Dave Hornik (August Capital)
Innovation Doesn't take a Vacation in an Economic Downturn
Innovation isn't dependent upon finance.
10. Brad Feld (Foundry Group)
VC Behavior in Board Meetings
Advice on putting the phone down, and paying attention at board meetings.
11. David McClure (Founders Fund)
Startup Metrics that Matter
This vlog teaches new entreprenuers what metrics really matter in the early stages of their development.
12. Erick Schonfeld (Techcrunch)
Venture Funds Raise Only $1.6 billion in 3rd Quarter. Most of That Went to Vinod Khosla
A quarterly overview on VC funds raised from Q3 2007 - Q3 2009. $750 million of the $1.6 billion raised went to Khosla ventures.
13. MG Siegler (Techcrunch)
The Cost of FriendFeed: Roughly $50 million in Cash and Stock
A successful exit for a small social media startup; FriendFeed was purchased in August 2009 for $50 million. Highlights the payout for initial investors.
14. Steve Fredrick and Don Rainey (VentureBeat)
Venture Capital 2009: The Year in Review
Highlights included 3 venture-backed IPOs in Q3 2009, an expanding start-up world and the reduced cash required to start companies.
15. Marc Andreessen (Andreessen Horowitz)
Introducing Our New Venture Capital Firm Andreessen Horowitz
Announcing a new $300 million fund for technology startups. Investing between $50,000 and $50 million, this blog post outlines EXACTLY Andreessen Horowitz's requirements.
16. Laura Grimmer (VentureBeat)
5 Ways VC firms Can Stop Shooting Themselves in the Foot
Excellent advice for VCs looking to grow their business and expand the pipeline of deals.
17. Peter Rip (Crosslink Capital)
What's Broken - Venture Capital or Venture Perceptions?
Refutes the idea that venture capital is the worst place to be because the "old model doesn't work."
18. Rick Segal (JLA Ventures)
The "Take the Deal or Not" Debate
Questions every person should ask themselves before they take a deal with a venture capital firm.
19. Mike Hirshland (Polaris Venture Partners)
More on the Founder/CEO Question
When should the founder step aside as CEO for the greater good of the company?
20. Jeff Bussgang (Flybridge Capital Partners)
Should Entrepreneurs Be More Like Teenage Girls?
Recommendations for a growth mindset and success for reaching goals as an entrepreneur.
21. Tim Oren (Pacifica Fund)
Silicon Valley's Dirty Little Secret
What are the long term social and political impacts of Silicon Valley? Some insightful thoughts into Silicon Valley culture.
22. Eric Friedman (Union Square Ventures)
99.99% (Or It's Totally Going to Happen But Isn't Signed Yet)
Until a contract is signed - it's not a done deal.
23. Mike Speiser (SutterHill Ventures)
Better Incentives Can Improve Online Advertising
Publishers should incentivize advertisers to create good content. Brings up the idea of ad content that enhances, rather than diminishes, user experience.
24. Matt McCall (DFJ Portage Venture Partners)
Do You Need to Be in the Valley?
Addresses the age old question of whether entreprenuers in the tech space need to be in Silicon Valley to succeed.
25. Stu Phillips (Ridgelift Ventures)
Venture Capital - Time for V3.0
Stu Phillips raises an important point - VC2.0 which began with the Internet and resulting bubble - is out. A new system needs to be created.
26. Jason Caplain (Southern Capitol Ventures)
Include Sales in your Strategy
Entreprenuers need to connect with their buyers early on; sales is an integral part of EVERY company.
27. Jason Mendelson (Foundry Group)
Senator Dodd - Making it harder for small businesses to get funded
A VC outlook on the legislation changes proposed that will alter the ability for companies to get financed.
28. Nic Brisbourne (Esprit Capital Partners)
Financial Forecasts in a Business Plan
"Any business plan that has financial forecasts under year 1, year 2, etc. rather than 2009, 2010, etc. is too early stage for us." Brisbourne urges entrepreneurs to be precise in their projections and have a definitive timeline for revenue.
29. Albert Wenger (Union Square Ventures)
Hiring: Lack of Diversity Becomes Self-reinforcing
Historical hiring practices may affect the ability to bring on diverse, younger talent.
30. David B. Lerner (Totius Group, Columbia Venture Lab)
Getting from Zero to One in Your Startup: Founder Compensation Should be Slim to None
An important point for every founder to konw - your investment is on the back end - not from annual salary.
31. Larry Cheng (Fidelity Ventures)
Succeeding with a Potential Single Point of Failure
Two success stories of companies who exited in spite of single point of failure possibilities.
32. Raj Kapoor (Mayfield Fund)
Prediction: Social Nets Will Make More Money Off-site vs On-site their Websites
Interesting take on how social networks will continue to monetize.
33. Will Price (Hummer Winblad)
The importance of being present in the moment AND enjoying it.
34. Howard Morgan (First Round Capital)
UNI- Acquired Tastes in Food and Investing
Morgan talks about business plans that excite him as a potential user - not as an investor.
35. Mark Suster (GRP Partners)
How to (re)Approach People (Advice on the Eve of LeWeb)
"Business etiquette tips for dealing with VCs and Corporates at Conferences"
36. Christine Herron (First Round Capital)
What's the Secret Success of Mint.com? The Real Numbers Behind Aaron Patzer's Growth Strategy
How much does it take to get started? When should you raise money? Interview with Mint.com CEO opens up and answers these questions.
37. Fred Destin (Atlas Ventures)
The Arrogant VC: A View from the Trenches (full length version)
Destin posts the answers to "tell me why VCs are disliked by entrepreneurs"
38. Rob Day (@Ventures)
Conventional Wisdom and Cleantech Venture Capital
Day clears up what Cleantech is, and in which firms "Cleantech VCS" invest.
39. David Feinleib (Mohr Davidow Ventures)
When You Are the Product
A reminder that, regardless of the technology or device, when pitching investors you are pitching yourself.
40. Bijan Sabet (Spark Capital)
Creating an Operating Plan for 2010
Advice for any year really, on creating an operating plan that works.
41. Phillippe Botteri (Bessemer Venture Partners)
Impact of the Recession on SaaS Sales & Marketing Productivity
How has the recession affected SaaS? Not much.
42. Andrew Parker (Union Square Ventures)
How does Microsoft's Bing plan to compete? By paying customers not to compete.
43. Mark Peter Davis (DFJ Gotham Ventures)
Bootstrapping vs. Venture Funding
The pros and cons of two finance methods for startups.
44. Allen Morgan (Mayfield Fund)
Co-Founders vs. Early Employees
Quick thoughts on the differences between the co-founders and early employees.
45. James Chen (CXO Ventures)
Don't Bite the Hand that Feeds
This lesson applies to both business and government: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
46. David Aronoff (Flybridge Capital Partners)
Why do companies fail?
47. Max Bleyleben (Kennet Partners)
The Hunt for Growth Is On
Tech success is creeping into Europe and other markets as the US emerges from recession.
48. Jason Ball (Qualcomm Ventures Europe)
Pitch your startup: VCIC 2009
2009 awards have been given, but 2010 awards are just around the corner.
49. Don Rainey (Grotech Ventures)
The 7 Troublemakers you meet in a Startup
7 personality archetypes an entrepreneur can expect to meet when starting a company.
50. Peter Haas (Founder, AIDG)
In Social Enterprise, Force Yourself to be an Entrepreneur First
Ten rules for starting an international service organization.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Friday, December 18, 2009
This video reveals a common mistake entrepreneurs make when shopping for capital.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Wednesday, December 16, 2009
This video will help you raise capital more confidently and quickly.
And if you enjoyed that video, you may be interested in my new online training course, Secrets to Raising Capital, where I give you step-by-step instructions on exactly how to raise 40 different types of capital to grow your business.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Because of all the negative news in the financial markets, this may come as a surprise to many, but last week, over Half a Billion dollars was given to startups and growing companies.
That's right. In venture capital alone, over $200 million was given out. Startups like Ansca Mobile (mobile application firm) and Branders.com (online seller of promotional items) raised $1 million and $5 million respectively.
And early-stage companies like Lanyon (management solutions to the hospitality industry) and Seeking Alpha (financial commentary website) raised $7 million and $10 million respectively.
And the angel market was also booming from coast to coast. Next Big Sound in Boulder, CO (music services) raised $1 million, PBworks in San Mateo, CA (wiki hosting) raised $650,000 and FitnessKeeper in Boston, MA (fitness platform) raised $400,000 among many, many other deals.
And hundreds of other startup and early stage companies raised debt financing and funding from numerous creative and alternative sources.
So, money IS out there. And lots of it.
The key is, as it has always been, to know what sources of financing are right for you and how to get them.
My brand-new capital raising course - "The Secrets to Raising Capital" - shows you exactly how to do that.
This 14-week course covers 40 sources of capital. It teaches you what they are; helps you determine which sources (note that "sources" is plural on purpose) of capital are right for your business, and most importantly, gives you step-by-step action plans to raise each one.
Click here to learn more about my new course.
Written by Jay Turo on Monday, December 14, 2009
Showing once again where our modern media priorities are, shoved off the front page last week by more lurid Tiger Woods talk, was the very under-reported but potentially game-changing proposal that President Obama made last week regarding eliminating all capital gains taxes on startup and small business investments.
There are so my ways that this is good for small business, for America, and for private company investing. Let me note three:
1. Simple Fairness. It has been a very tough couple of years for startups and small businesses. Unlike automakers and big banks, the nation's entrepreneurs were left to completely fend for themselves through the recent economic tsunami.
And, as befits a class of people that can only be described as modern-day action heroes, given their massive and unsung contributions to the American way of life, the entrepreneurs among us have handled their adversities as they always do - with stoicism, with grace, and with the simple coda that nothing is immutable to hard work.
But it is beyond time that someone lend them a hand. If, miracle of miracle, Congress follows the President's lead and makes this proposal law (and given how lower capital gains has been a Republican mantra since I was in high school, the probability is high that it will), it will unleash a huge investment bull market across the entrepreneurial landscape.
And let's not forget how overdue this is - for the 1st time in history this last decade will go down as the only one where more money was invested INTO venture capital than was earned out. While early-stage private equity investing did much better in the decade than VC's, it has still been a very rough go of it.
The hope here is that this tax break will be a catalyst for capital move from do-nothing and know-nothing investments like gold and into productive ones like technology startups and small businesses.
2. Startup and Small Business Tax Breaks Spur Innovation. The proposed capital gains tax break, when coupled with the proposed tax credits for small business hiring and investment, will provide a much-needed boost to entrepreneurial risk-taking and innovation.
Remember, this information age of ours is a story of "guys in garages." Gates and Allen, Jobs and Wozniak, Page and Brin.
Similarly, the big ideas of the coming "Energy Age" - in battery technology, in cold fusion, in greenhouse gas reversal, will NOT come from the federal government or big business.
Why? Because very simply the most creative people do NOT want to work within any kind of bureaucracy. Rather, they will come from the yet to-be-founded startup, that fluid and flexible small business about to break-out.
Anything that makes it easier for these innovators to have cheaper access to capital - which a waiver of the tax on capital gains effects - is a HUGE positive.
3. Let's Get the Best and Brightest to be More Entrepreneurial. Finally and tied to this point, the central economic and investment issue of our age is not inflation, it is not big bank bailouts, it is not health care reform, it is not Democrat versus Republican and it is not liberal versus conservative.
No, it is what can and needs to be done to spur the "best and brightest" among us to be more entrepreneurial and more successful when they are.
Why? Because entrepreneurs create the innovations that create the jobs that create the wealth that create our whole, cherished American way of life.
So we need everyone in positions of influence in our society - government, media, education, entertainment - to stand-up for the entrepreneurs.
The proposed capital gains tax break in this context is as important in what it signals as its direct stimulus effect.
And for you investors out there, the best thing is that if YOU do the best thing for the economy and the country and invest in entrepreneurs, well guess what?
If you do it right, you will make far more on your money that you could ever imagine.
This is called doing well while doing good. And it is highly recommended.
I look forward to your attendance and feedback.
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Written by Dave Lavinsky on Friday, December 11, 2009
As you know, last month we opened the doors to 100 new Growthink University members.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Tuesday, December 8, 2009
If you're looking for funding to start or grow your business, then you should listen to this.
This MP3 is a preview of my brand-new, in-depth capital raising course, "The Secrets to Raising Capital."
If you want to learn how to successfully raise capital from more than 40 sources of funding, then click here to learn more about the full 14-part course.
Written by Dave Lavinsky on Tuesday, December 8, 2009
When I was younger, I had four full-time jobs before I started my first business.
Looking back, in none of these jobs did my managers ask for my ideas or suggestions. Nope - my business creativity and ideas simply didn't matter. Even though I had a lot of them. And many were ideas that could have really helped those companies.
So what did I do?
I left. I left those jobs until I found one where all of my ideas would receive the proper attention - running my own company.
But now that I'm running my company, I can't make the same mistake that my past employers made. That is, I must challenge my employees and encourage their ideas and suggestions.
Why? Well for numerous critical reasons according to award-winning author and professor Dr. Alan Robinson who I recently interviewed.
Specifically, according to Dr. Robinson's vast research, 85% of new ideas at companies come from front-line employees. Yes, the employees that are interfacing with customers and vendors, and employees that are manufacturing your products or cleaning your facilities come up with the vast majority of your best ideas.
Which is very interesting and dispels the myth that most great ideas are generated by CEOs and top managers. This makes sense though. Entrepreneurs and founders come up with ideas to form companies. But then they must eventually transform into managers of their organizations. In doing so, they move farther away from the front-line operations, making it harder for them to innovate themselves.
Which is why great entrepreneurs make innovation and business creativity a key part of their organizations.
According to Dr. Robinson, the first key to effectively integrating business creativity, idea generation, and innovation into organizations is "alignment." Alignment simply means that everyone in the organization knows the goals of the organization, and what goals new ideas should aim to solve. In an example of poor alignment, he mentioned the angry CEO who found a note in the suggestion box to "offer different flavors of peanut butter in the cafeteria." Clearly, this CEO, and not the employee, is at fault for not aligning his organization around its key objectives.
The second key to effective idea generation is to establish systems or processes. These systems do not have to be formal or costly. For example, giving employees 30 minutes/week to discuss new ideas is enough for them to 1) know that they should always be thinking of new ideas, 2) that their ideas are valued, and 3) that they have a formal opportunity to discuss their ideas.
Implementing idea generation programs not only results in great new ideas that allow companies to outperform competitors. But they result in dramatically higher employee satisfaction and morale.
In fact, one of the top reasons employees give for quitting a job is that management didn't take their ideas seriously. When employees are asked to submit ideas, given time and/or incentives to submit ideas, and see their ideas implemented, they become much more committed to their organizations and perform better.
So, as you grow your organization, be sure to implement formal processes for business creativity and idea generation. Fortunately these processes are easy to implement, and will have multiple benefits to your bottom line.
In the interview, Dr. Robinson gave some great advice for implementing formal processes for idea generation in your company. He also provided great ideas for assessing new ideas, making sure new ideas don't interrupt the process of implementing existing plans, and dealing with bad ideas, among many other key topics.
To hear a short clip of the interview, click the blue triangle on the player below:
Growthink University members can download the full interview here: http://www.growthinkuniversity.com/members/379.cfm
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