After some kind feedback on my test for entrepreneurs in my previous post, I’m today thinking about the notion of what Bob Metcalfe calls “scaling entrepreneurs.” Those are the leaders who not only can create a startup but who can operate it to the level that it creates enterprise value. Yes there have been some Valley successes like Instagram where founders built a cool product and were swallowed by a big fish long before they had to deal with the pesky details of actually running a business. But, those are rare exceptions.
Yesterday I was invited to be one of the mentors at Austin Startup Week’s “Office Hours” at Capital Factory. There were a couple dozen tables set up for meetings on 20-minute intervals over 3 hours with an assortment of active investors and mentors. Those who presented themselves for these sessions picked from the available slots on the signup sheets, and there appeared to be more potential entrepreneurs than there were open times. That’s a good sign for the entrepreneurial fever in Austin.
Yesterday I spent some time helping an entrepreneur create tax return info from a year’s worth of bank statements just in time for the October 15 extension deadline. (This was a special situation and not part of my routine; I have a long-term trusted bookkeeper that is very good at this, but there wasn’t enough time to round her up.) I hope my suggestion in this particular case that most businesses actually keep books as the year goes along will be taken to heart.
Here’s another guest post from Jesse Dyer on location in Atlanta. It’s an interesting slant on a topic of much recent discussion, with some unvarnished comments. Read on…
One of Ben Franklin’s famous sayings is that “the bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” This relates to one of the most common fallacies I see in the many business plans that come to my attention each week. There’s often an assumption that a dominant industry player can be disrupted merely by undercutting the prices charged by that player. Yet competing and disrupting is much more a function of an overall “systemic” experience than just one data point.
This week’s Open Angel Network featured a panel on the topic of board service in startup and early stage companies. There was a good discussion about time commitments, potential liabilities, and particularly about how board members often get called to active duty when a company gets in the ditch. I’ve had that experience, and several others in the room had the same.
Today I’m borrowing a term from Bob Metcalfe that was quoted in the Statesman Sunday in an article about the expansion of incubator and accelerator programs to boost both entrepreneurs and the Austin economy. The local granddaddy program Austin Technology Incubator remains strong and is now joined by Capital Factory, Dreamit, and TechRanch, along with several UT programs at graduate and undergraduate levels, and many other resources.
Editor’s Note: Today’s post is another in an informative series from our friends at TriNet. I hear lots of discussion in the startup scene about technical issues, finance, marketing, and other matters, but very little about charting out a course that involves scaling with actual employees. A startup can only get so far with contractors, interns, and students. For one thing, there are limits on how you can utilize contractors before having to classify them as employees and deal with payroll taxes, work rules and benefits. More important, if you are succe
Editor’s Note: Here’s an Atlanta dispatch from Jesse Dyer about last week’s Demo Day for Flashpoint at Georgia Tech. Fourteen companies in this the second “cohort” presented; and David Cummings posted a good summary of each. Coincidentally, I was in a meeting Friday at Austin’s Capital Factory talking about its upcoming Demo Day in October and about the general direction of programming from its swank new location atop the Omni. These two accelerators
The launch of the college football season reminds us anew of plenty of truths that apply to entrepreneurial businesses. As mentioned in an earlier post this week, there’s much more to the startup than just the opening play when enthusiasm is high and hope springs eternal. There’s a lot of work in the trenches before the conclusion of the game and the posting of the final score.
Here’s my list for your consideration: