January 25, 2013. A board meeting yesterday for a P2P marketplace venture swung to a focus on what field-testing data is really telling us. Creating a P2P company requires sellers, buyers, and actual transactions. Like any consumer venture, there are plenty of unknowns in consumer behavior when a shiny new object is made available to them. Trying to interpret each week’s worth of data can be a lot like Whac-a-Mole. A/B testing becomes more like A-Z testing when all the variables are factored in. You think you understand one side of the equation, but you tweak the other side and get ve
January 17, 2013. Editor’s Note: Today we welcome a guest post from TechDrawl contributor Cindy Grossman, a partner at Giordani Swanger Ripp & Phillips LLP in Austin. Cindy specializes in business transactions, particularly with respect to tax implications. This is a bonus edition of TechDrawl, about twice the normal length, but it’s a complex subject that deserves your attention if you are scaling up a technology company.
December 15, 2013. Entrepreneurs frequently question me about how you protect your prized IP or your business methods from theft by others. The less you disclose, the less help you will get from your mentors and peers as your company evolves. And, potentially, fewer opportunities will come your way if you hold your cards too close to your vest. I’ve repeatedly seen companies hide or delay their best product features for fear others would copy them, only to see themselves surpassed by competitive surprises. What’s the point in waiting until you look like the follower and not the innova
January 10, 2013. Bob Metcalfe shared yesterday a syllabus from a Harvard undergraduate course called “Introduction to Innovation and Entrepreneurship” – similar to Longhorn Startup Lab at UT Austin, but with the project version of the course aimed either at starting a real company or preparing to enter a significant business plan competition. One requirement of the students stood out: “In addition to the course’s faculty, students MUST engage a ‘content expert’ to help focus the projects and to add real world context and expertise.
January 8, 2013. In the startup world we talk a lot about assembling the founding team and getting an initial product to market. We begin our companies with collegial groups of smart, well-educated peers who are trusted partners. They generally have the capacity to get things on time, to spec, and within budget without close supervision. It’s all peachy.
My daughter Audrey Dyer retweeted the accompanying photo from @buzzfeed, and how true it is! Most everyone spends some time in reflection around the Holidays and resolves to do things differently in the coming year.
After the year of SoLoMo, I’ve been trying to divine some trends for 2013 based on all the plans I’ve seen floated for startup incubators, accelerators, riots, weekends, hours, havens, barns, ranches, combinators, factories, labs, hackathons, sackathons, and whackathons coming up in the months ahead. Here’s my stab at pattern recognition in all that.
It’s probably good for many of us in the tech community to have a bit of a pause in the action over the next couple of weeks. We need time to reflect on a horrific national tragedy and to watch our government grab onto the cliff’s edge at the very last possible moment. We’ll all work more productively after letting our minds regroup and allowing ourselves to focus on family and friends without distraction.
As you who follow my Tweets know, I've spent a few days in Atlanta surrounding the semi-annual Georgia Tech Research Corporation (GTRC) board meeting. GTRC administers all the contracts and licensing with respect to research conducted by both resident faculty and by the mighty Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) with its 1000+ full-time researchers. There is considerable cooperation among the teaching faculty and the researchers, and with other universities, on many projects.