Once again the topic of the day arises from student questions in the Longhorn Startup Lab. Those of us who have accelerated down the startup runway many times have our own experiences and a cadre of trusted advisors to guide us in setting up the important details of a new enterprise. I’m reminded daily that this is not something taught in business and engineering curricula and that it’s generally brand new for even the brightest young scholars. I’m even seeing newbie angel investors in need of similar training.
Here’s a great question that came from a student in our class last week. How do you end a business that isn’t working? I normally write about happy and helpful topics aimed at growing your startup into one of the 20 $Billion companies that are created in the US each year (on average), but obviously there are quite a few that don’t have such good fortune. What happens to them? And, what happens to you as an officer or director in such a situation?
The Longhorn Startup Lab/Seminar class Thursday featured Bob Metcalfe’s lecture on the fundamentals of selling. As he made clear, good selling is as much about good listening as anything else. I’ve often found that customers will actually sell themselves if you’ll just be quiet and let them do so.
There was plenty of buzz in Austin yesterday as we topped HuffPo’s list of “terribly overrated destinations.” Elsewhere in the Southern US, Asheville, NC, was #9, right below Berlin. Personally with respect to destinations, I’m looking forward eventually to the full opening of Cuba where all us baby boomers will be able to drive the cars of our youth.
Yesterday TechStars NYC announced its 2013 class, selected from 1700 applicants from 420 cities. That’s an impressive pipeline from which to recruit top-notch teams. There are no ideas in that group of eleven that I personally have not already seen multiple times in the past couple of years, at least from what I can tell with the limited information available. One is an app for pet lovers, and there were at least 50 of those that applied in 2011 to present at the SXSW Accelerator in 2012 and ap
It’s hard enough to sell a new customer, considering time, effort, and dollars, but what allowance do you need to make for the onboarding process? When money is involved, there’s some amount of effort required to get account numbers right, to comply with the relevant regulations, and to maintain absolute security. There’s more to the process than just downloading an app and clicking away. For example, we’ve just had a careful UX review of our own MeetMeTix product to focus on double-checking this very process.
March 27, 2013: Hall Martin’s Open Angel Network is a 501c3 that meets monthly for the purpose of educating potential angel investors. The format is two presentations, networking, and never any pitches. The attendees include some with plentiful experience as angels and some with none. It’s a good way for anyone considering angel investing to learn enough to be dangerous. (For those of you in Atlanta, it’s pretty similar to Charlie Paparelli’s Angel Lounge.)
Last Tuesday and Wednesday Bob Metcalfe and I attended the 2013 Georgia Technology Summit (GTS) in Atlanta, and he had a number of visits at Georgia Tech (no relation to the Summit) to get acquainted with the processes of innovation at that research university. He described this to me as a “best practices” visit, and I believe the sharing of ideas was of benefit to all parties. GT has a particularly streamlined technology licensing policy for worthy ideas originating from its $600M annual research budget, and the administration there gives more than ample focus to innovation as part of it
March 17, 2013: It’s been a couple of exhilarating but exhausting weeks in Austin, beginning with Rolex Series racing, then the intense local run-up to SXSW, followed by all the Interactive, Film, and Music elements of SXSW itself, not to mention the countless ancillary parties. It was also spring break week for UT and all the local K-12 schools, so that cleared the streets a bit for the extra load of SXSW attendees. This coming week will bring more of a normal schedule, and all those kids and their means of transport are back in the fray. My personal week includes a trip for a couple o
March 13, 2013: The fifth annual SXSW Accelerator presented a global array of strong companies to overflow crowds in the 4th Floor ballrooms of the Hilton. Six technology categories were each represented by 8 companies. They pitched for 2 minutes on Monday, dealt with 5 minutes of questions from expert and often very well known judges on stage, and from them three advanced to Tuesday’s 5 & 10 format leading to a single winner. Below are those winners, with the descriptions they supplied (in some cases edited).