Startup Whisperer Blog

The sexiest word in business is ‘scale’

Scale means that as you grow market share, you are able to command higher margins in your business, amortize fixed costs across and ever growing base of topline revenue, and yes "own" your competition.  The steeper the residual demand curve the great the degree of market power.  Man, this is sexy.  Really sexy.  I’ve worked…

Craigslist versus recruiters

I have a lot of recruiter friends.  Recruiters have a valuable place in the industry, particularly for finding executive talent.  However, I am personally not a fan of hiring non-executive talent through recruiters since you pay 6-10%  of the candidates first year salary (even if the hire turns out to be a dud).  I’ve personally…

Nickels out of toilets

One of my favorite comments that I have ever heard concerning what types of entrepreneurs are successful was from venture capital’s wunderkind Mike Moritz from Sequoia Capital.  Mike was on our Board at Atom Entertainment and I remember him telling me years ago that he liked entrepreneurs (and their cultures) that "dove into the toilet…

Align priorities on a weekly basis with 1:1s

Sometimes I feel like startups mirror the famous quote from Erasmus — "startups, can’t live with them, can’t live without them."  Why do I say this?  So much happens on a daily basis that keeping everyone synced up around your company’s initiatives is extremely important.  Hopefully, your objectives don’t change on a weekly basis.  If…

What is your one thing?

Your job as CEO/founder is to make the organizational objectives and goals for your startup clear, concise, and measurable.  I am reminded by Jack Palance’s character as the wise and crusty old cowboy in the movie City Slickers telling Billy Crystal to figure out what his "one thing" is in his life.  In business, you…

Startupwhisperer.com gets recognized

Marcelo Calbucci founder and CTO of Sampa in Seattle just published his lit of influential entrepreneur bloggers in Seattle.  To my surprise, he acknowledged this blog.  Thank you for the recognition and I promise to stay committed to helping entrepreneurs.

Fire your PR firm

I have nothing against PR firms.  I have worked with some fantastic firms in the past.  At Expedia, I had a great experience with Edelman.  When you have the budget and the time, PR firms can be a solid tactic.  However, in startup mode, I have felt that the best salesperson is always the CEO. …

Get advice from entrepreneurs not boneheads

One thing that consistently dislodges my logic chip is when I get feedback from individuals that do not know what they are talking about.  Nothing chaps my hide more than to listen to blowhards from big companies (or VCs) talking about entrepreneurship.  I am not talking about one of those successful entrepreneurs that scaled a…

Size doesn’t matter

A lot of newbie startup founders ask my opinion about how many employees do they need in that hard phase between product inception to pre-profitability.  More specifically, most of the questions are always focused on product development teams.  My answer is inevitably,  smaller than you think.  Sure, there are lots of examples where there are…

Mother Clickers

This little snippet from MediaWeek reminded me of debate that continues to happen.  Advertisers are still too click focused.  I just had this debate recently with an advertiser.  We debated how important optimizing your campaign for just straight click-thrus.  The majority of Internet users don’t click on ads.  The MediaWeek has a great quote from a…

Startup OECs (uh, CEOs) do you have Dyslexia?

A friend sent me this NPR clip about how a high % of entrepreneurs have dyslexia.  The research study showed that 35% of US entreprenerus are dyslexic accoreding to the London’s Cass School Business.  It is a very fasncinating interview.  My Mom told me after college that I was diagnosed as midly dyslexic when I…

Startups are stressful, but always remember the passion

Are you stressed out as an entrepreneur?  My guess is that you are.  You are the few, the brave, and sometimes the most anxiety ridden business people on the planet.  Its not easy forging a new product and/or business.  Serial entrepreneur and friend, Kelly Smith, just presented to the Northwest Entrepreneur Forum and has compiled…