Yesterday’s Open Angel Network was led off by a presentation by Kevin Castello of the Baylor Angel Network on the topic of due diligence. He was kind enough to provide some interesting handouts, and I think you’ll benefit from my reporting some of his insights.
This time of year Austin is revving up with the return of UT students and a long list of tech networking groups holding their inaugural events of the season. Enough vacation, it’s time to get back to business. The topic of this evening has come to the fore based on a number of experiences I’ve had over the summer downtime. In an age where anonymous customers can magically be acquired via Google keywords or Facebook marketing, entrepreneurs can easily come to believe that they are making it happen on their own and aren’t depending on others. In truth that is never the case. And, no, I’m
TechDrawl began in 2008 as a blog covering entrepreneurial topics across the South. It was then a wordpress site. We later brought in some technical partners in 2010, and they did a remake of the look and feel and converted our platform to Joomla with a major expansion of features. However, after spawning an unrelated startup that took the full focus of that technical team, in early 2011 we moved onto a much simpler Posterous site where I could concentrate on content with little distraction from platform complexities. Our following continued to grow nicely and includes an A list of mov
One clear trend in the US today is that state and local governments are starving for more tax revenues. Look at the major cities and counties that have gone bankrupt, and pay attention to all the budget cuts being announced. The Presidential contest over Federal taxation is going to be the headline for the next few weeks, but I personally think the country as a whole cannot to continue to function in the manner to which we have grown accustomed without additional taxation at all levels applied to those who can afford it. We’re damaging our educational system and our physical infrastruc
On July 13 Salesforce.com sponsored a seminar on Sales & Business Development at the ATI. ATI’s Aruni Gunasegaram moderated a panel consisting of Adam Berman of TVA Medical, Shelia Burns of Luminex, Jason Mathias of HomeAway, and Randy Potts, recently of Convio.
Much of the discussion focused on the issue of finding the right sales talent for a startup. Here are some of the points raised:
Conversations with a number of entrepreneurs in Austin and Atlanta this week got me focused on the concept of “MVP” – Minimally Viable Product. In this era of lean startups, and particularly those that are mobile apps, this approach is often recommended. “Just get something out the door fast and see if the dogs will eat the dog food.” Then risk your capital, or your investors’ capital, when the dogs give you some proof along with the woof. (Sorry couldn’t help that.)
This has been a week of pitches for one of the businesses I’m involved in, and I’ll be seeing five more in a Capital Factory practice session this afternoon. Whether you’re seeking to recruit a key person, to motivate an employee, to make a sale, or to land an investment, as an entrepreneur you’re always pitching. That has to become your most finely honed skill. The great successes I’ve seen have been the ones where the out-front person could make the pitch under any circumstances and cause good things to happen.
Last week brought a range of experiences including two days at the ATI’s Clean Energy Venture Summit. This event was rich in content and included the expected array of science-based projects but also a surprising amount of discussion about connected devices and their role in energy conservation. Others more focused on energy than I Tweeted a running transcript of the event (#CEVS2011), and I direct your attention there for more information. It was good to see Ben Hill (and
Peter Drucker famously said: “the purpose of a business is to create a customer.” However, in my travels through the investor scene I believe today the emphasis is more on retaining that customer. The era of lean startups and easy 3-day creation of businesses whose sole product is an app is flooding the market with shiny new objects that can capture a customer’s attention. It’s very easy to see why yesterday’s toy can get discarded in favor of today’s, and why apps can easily get displaced to that 20th screen on your iPhone and forgotten. I’m familiar with numerous examples of roaring s
The Wall Street Journal Saturday featured an article on the “high beta” rich – those who own multiple mansions and multiple jets one day, nothing the next, and then may well bounce back to the top. I can name a long list of people in this category, perhaps the most notable being the Ted Turner of a few years back. Turner was “all in” on every iteration of his original television empire, but fortunately his major bets always paid off. He is now well beyond the high beta stage of his life.