Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Blog Archives

Market Opportunity From Customer Hostility, Exhibit 802.11: Airline WiFi

Entrepreneurship is often born of founders’ sheer frustration with the status quo.  One class of clear business opportunity, which wouldn’t exist in an ideal world, is created by the service that seemingly makes it as difficult as possible for potential paying customers to make it take their money.  This sort of chronic customer dissatifaction flies in the face of both

Read more >

Cohort Analysis

Don’t mean to disappoint you, but this idea isn’t nearly as devious or dark as the name implies.  It’s just a straightforward, really smart, thing to do.

The term derives from sociology: groups of people who share certain characteristics are “cohorts”.   Instead of focusing on average behaviors of a large population, cohort analysis looks to find and understand patterns among

Read more >

Investors Like Ideas, But Measure You On Execution

After the idea, it’s all about execution.  I often hear from investors that a great idea is necessary, but not sufficient. The most important thing is a proven team, meaning one who has built a startup before, and has experience with the execution process in this domain. I’ve talked before about the best personality traits for a good entrepreneur, but

Read more >

Of Birchbox and Bricks

Without a doubt, Birchbox is one of the hottest startups on the planet right now.  They are mentioned in any print, website, or television content concerning beauty, startups, New York, great entrepreneurs, women leaders, or the next generation of IPOs.  So, its almost impossible to avoid them.

Investors Fund Solutions Rather Than Technology

Too many entrepreneurs develop a new product without regard for market demand, then build an entire strategy based on creating a need, rather than acting on an existing market need. Investors characterize this approach as a “solution looking for a problem.” These don’t get funded.

The best startups find a way to drive the market with their technology, rather than

Read more >

Jack and the Startup Bean Stalk

If only there was a single idea that could make any startup succeed, huh? Well, it does exist: a business seed that, planted and watered, will grow to the sky. And you can have it without even giving me a gold coin.

The Rhythm Method of Product Iteration

Of course, Steve Jobs left us a lot of incredible lessons.  Unfortunately, some of the really key ones, like “Be a genius”, can be tough to execute (I’ve been trying for years).  But one crucial one that you can implement might be called the “Rhythm Method”: imparting a well-known beat to your product and service upgrades.

Possibly the most shopworn

Read more >

Marketing Beyond Acquisition

In my conversations with people in the startup world – from angel investors through entrepreneurs and employees with vast startup experience – I often hear about their perceptions of the marketing role as being pretty limited to acquisition. It is shocking to me how prevalent this POV is. I can’t count the times I heard people saying that “product development

Read more >