Startup Whisperer Blog

Venture Capital 2.0

I will be blogging some more about venture capital in the next couple of months.  In the meantime, there has been an increasingy bit of chatter about the changing world of Venture Capital.  Call it "Venture Capital 2.0."  The current model is not unlike the entertainment industry where returns occur within a firm’s portfolio from…

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Do you have the tenacity of Abe Lincoln?

When my fellow entrepreneurs opine to me that starting a business is hard, I certainly agree but I also know that its some of the most rewarding work one will do.  The one thing that really defines success for entrepreneurs is tenacity.  Sure, you need a talented team, a great idea, and some luck.  We…

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Are you a Batman CEO or an Iron Man CEO?

Every CEO needs to be armed with his/her own set of essentials when he/she hits the road.  I wonder what Bruce Wayne or Tony Stark would take on a business trip?  Send me your ideas.  btw, I am a huge Batman fan as evidenced by this picture.  I’ll do anything for press and the Puget…

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Brand Positioning Clift Notes

There are many great books on positioning.  Starting out in my career, I read a ton of Al Ries and David Aaker.  Aaker is really a guru on brand and has delivered many great books on branding over the years.  He’s a Professor Emeritus at the Haas Business School. A couple of books that I…

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Avoid Strategic Planning Thunderdome

In a startup you should be review your strategic opportunities at least quarterly.  In big companies, you’ll start this planning in early Q3.  You’ll then go thru several months of vetting and enter into what I call the "strategic planning thunderdome."  Fans of the Mad Max films will remember this reference, "two men enter, one…

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The Avis Rule

I have worked at big companies.  Once you get 4+ hops between you (the CEO or business leader) and the customer, you are generally spending more time managing people than actually being an active contributor.  Your job is to provide strategic direction, people development, and communication.  I always have to remind myself of that.  In…

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Open The Kimono

Your job as a leader in a company is to communicate.  Communication is key.  Especially in startups, when you are moving so quickly.  You need to make certain that your employees, investors, and the outside world is caught up with what is happening with the business.  I recommend a weekly update to your company and…

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Eat What You Shoot

I have a proclivity for enjoying (and remembering) random business quotes.    I used to get a kick out of the quotes from Jim Barkdsale (former Netscape and AT&T CEO).  He had a great way of stating the obvious but somehow making it seem profound.  A great example,     "Of course, nothing happens until…

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Write It Down

I have this penchant for writing things down. Everything.  I have what a friend affectionately calls, "FOMS" Disease. FOMS stands for the "Fear Of Missing Something."  For startups (or really any size organization), you need to write things down. Some things that you should codify are: notes on important business meetings – email, cheap CRM…

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S#&% Eating Grin

A good CEO friend used to tell me that no matter what is happening in your company, "wear a s#$& eating grin."  I’d rather put it as putting on the cowl of leadership and stalwartness on every day.  Startups are a roller coaster ride and if you as CEO are having a bad day; that…

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Customer-centric product development

The days of waterfall product development planning are over (unless you work at Microsoft).  Meaning that formal product requirement planning documents, formal specs, development plans etc. all packaged in a linear planning sequence (which make for 12-18 month shipping cycles) are gone the way of the Dodo bird.  However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t…

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Notes From OMMA Global March 2008

Just getting back from the OMMA Global Confernence in Hollywood.  The theme of the show was "welcome to the machine."  Meaning that the advertising business is getting more consistently machine automated and moving online. One of the more interesting keynotes was from Comscore’s CEO, Gian Fulgone.  His speech titled"The Internet Machine Spits Out: Media Dust!" …

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