What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Grateful Dead

Tweedledee & Tweedledum“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “If it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”
Lewis Carroll, from Through The Looking Glass

Entrepreneurs often must take counter-intuitive, contrarian positions in order to succeed. As noted in Entrepreneurship Is A Compulsion, entrepreneurs often view the world from a slightly different vantage point, rejecting the oxymoronic term Conventional WisdomContinue reading “What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Grateful Dead”

Kevin O’Connor Discusses The Secrets Of Success

FindTheBestNearly one year ago, I published my first infoChachkie interview, with Kevin O’Connor, Co-Founder of FindTheBest.  At that time, I was not utilizing video. Thus, I was very excited when Kevin graciously agreed to make an encore appearance via Skype. If you care to review my prior discussion with Kevin, you can do so HERE.

Before starting FindTheBest, Kevin was the Co-Founder and CEO DoubleClick (sold to Google, $3.1B and a seed investor ISS (sold to IBM, $1.3B). He is truly an Internet pioneer, having also been a seed investor in 1-800 Flowers and HotJobs.

Quote from Kevin O'Connor

He jokes that in the photo below, he was the only guy who could get up on the file cabinet. You may recognize a few other folks in this photo, including: Jeff Bezos, Jerry Yang and Steve Jobs.

Internet Icons

You can watch my video interview with Kevin below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/is3NrWti6aI

Continue reading “Kevin O’Connor Discusses The Secrets Of Success”

A Serial Entrepreneur’s Take On Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson’s Venture Deals

Venture DealsAs an Instructor of entrepreneurship at UC Santa Barbara, I welcomed the chance to read Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson’s Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer And Venture Capitalist. As the authors make clear in the book’s preface, their goal is to create a “definitive guide to venture capital deals” and “demystify the venture capital financing process.” Their primary intended reader is a “first-time entrepreneur”, but clearly other stakeholders within the startup universe can also benefit from the book’s hands-on advice.

Even though I have raised significant venture capital as an entrepreneur and have participated in dozens of transactions as an investor, I still found the book to be informative, especially with regard to the dilutive impact of some of the more onerous deal terms that we avoid at Rincon Ventures.

Continue reading “A Serial Entrepreneur’s Take On Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson’s Venture Deals”

Eleven Startup Tips From Richard Branson

Article first published as Eleven Business Tips From Richard Branson on Technorati.

Note: This is an installment in the Iconic Advice series. Other installments include: Jeff Bezos and Steve Jobs.

Last weekend, a friend gave me and my family a wonderful ride in his plane. Departing from Edwards AFB, we flew over the Mojave Air and Spaceport, home of the world’s largest private manufacturer of spacecraft, The Spaceship Company (TSC).

TSC is building spacecraft for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic space fleet. Richard Branson Despite the fact that the specific date of Virgin Galactic’s maiden voyage remains unscheduled, over 450 citizen astronauts have put down a deposit of at least $20,000 on the $200,000 per-person fare.

In October of 2011, the company announced a $4.5 million deal with NASA to use Virgin Galactic spacecraft to conduct experiments, filling the void left by the retirement of America’s shuttle program.

It is undoubtedly impressive that Richard Branson has motivated a government organization and hundreds of intelligent, affluent people to commit millions of dollars to secure a service that does not yet exist. Even more striking is that this super-salesman is a self-taught, high school dropout. Continue reading “Eleven Startup Tips From Richard Branson”

When Hiring Entrepreneurs, Ignore Their Resumes

Note: This is the third installment in the Startup Team Building series. Read Part I HERE and Part II HERE.

No ResumeWhen hiring ATM Operators at a Big Dumb Company (BDC), assessing each candidate’s ability to execute predictable tasks is of paramount importance. As such, the recruitment process revolves around applicants’ resumes, which highlight what they have previously done in their professional careers.

What is important at a BDC, because most duties performed at mature entities are repetitive, structured and involve minimal ambiguity. Thus, evaluating the tasks a candidate has previously performed is a valid methodology when filling job openings in relatively static organizations. Continue reading “When Hiring Entrepreneurs, Ignore Their Resumes”

DoubleClick’s Guerilla Marketing Legacy

Note: This is the fourth installment of an ongoing Guerilla Marketing series. The other installments address:

1)  FUEL’s use of faux Monks dominates the social consciousness of a major media tradeshow
2) TestFlight’s clever distribution of free meals garners Steve Jobs’ attention
3) Social Stay’s failed attempt to utilize parcours to liven up a hospitality tradeshow nearly lands them in jail

Silicon AlleyBefore it became a monolithic, multi-billion dollar organization, DoubleClick was a wily, nimble startup. In those early days, the DoubleClick team used a variety of guerilla marketing tactics to rise above the chaos endemic in the online ad world during the Internet’s nascent evolution.
Continue reading “DoubleClick’s Guerilla Marketing Legacy”

Opening The Cloud: Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems

Marten MickosI recently spoke with Marten Mickos, the former CEO of MySQL and current CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, the leader in private cloud platforms. Eucalyptus’ underlying technology was developed at UC Santa Barbara. Since its origin as an academic research project in 2007, Eucalyptus has become the dominant open source cloud solution, boasting over 25,000 clouds formed.

According to Marten, “We enable companies to run, within their own firewall, a cloud that behaves exactly like the public clouds, exactly like Amazon. So there is benefit of a running a cloud in-house, you have your own servers but you get full elasticity and you can shift workloads between your various applications.”

You can watch my interview with Marten below or on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/B7CIUFSbQwU

Continue reading “Opening The Cloud: Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems”

Ten Startup Tips From Steve Jobs

Steve JobsNote: This is an installment in the Iconic Advice series. Other installments include: Words of startup wisdom from Jeff Bezos

In the course of my recent interview with Guy Kawasaki, author and former Apple Evangelist, Guy describes Steve Jobs as:

“…the world’s greatest CEO, ever. He did more for Apple’s shareholders, customers and employees than any other CEO has ever done for their shareholders, customers and employees. People should not try to emulate him, because they will be setting themselves up for failure. He is a great example of…building an enchanting company.”

There are numerous reasons for Jobs’ success, not the least of which was his uncompromising pursuit of a delightful customer experience. Continue reading “Ten Startup Tips From Steve Jobs”

Follow John’s Startup Oriented Twitter Stream!

Follow John’s Startup Oriented Twitter Stream. He promises to never Tweet about sunsets, kittens or awesome burritos.

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