A version of this article previously appeared in The Wall Street Journal Tenderfoot Boy Scouts are taught to differentiate between the three combustibles required to build a sustainable fire: tinder, kindling and fuel wood. It's a long, cold night if the tinder does not light the kindling or if the kindling fails to ignite the fuel wood. However, once the fuel wood is lit, a fire is relatively easy to sustain, as the resulting hot coals readily trigger the combustion of new fuel. In the business world, a fire subsisting on fuel wood is equivalent to a startup that has achieved scale.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. To the surprise of no one, other than snooty film critics, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey broke Christmas box office records. In addition to being a classic children's tale of good versus evil, the film also contains some surprising 2013 job hunting tips for joining a startup. Though you seldom encounter orcs or dragons in the startup world, the inevitable perils and risks of a startup are more akin to joining an adVenture than simply accepting a job.
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. The ability to consistently give horrendous investor pitches is within your grasp. If you follow the tips outlined in this entry, you will be guaranteed to suffer absolutely no dilution, as there is zero chance a reasonable investor will give you money. Investors are overrated. Who needs them?
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. The CEO of Expertcity (creator of GoToMyPC and GoToMeeting, acquired by Citrix) was born in Germany and grew up in South Africa. Although his English was impeccable, he was occasionally tripped up by colloquialisms. One that he particularly struggled with was "word-of-mouth marketing,”which he consistently referred to as "mouth-to-mouth marketing." We adopted his phrasing and made it our mission to devise creative, mouth-to-mouth marketing initiatives. Startups must economically counteract the pervasive drone of large incumbents' messaging. One way to do so is to ensure that when your customers share their experiences with your products and solutions, they do so with the passion and intensity of a soulful kiss. Such mouth-to-mouth communications have sufficient intensity to cut through the confusion of the noisiest markets. Over the years, I have documented a number of clever mouth-to-mouth stunts, from DoubleClick to TestFlight. These articles have inspired readers to experiment with their own mouth-to-mouth campaigns, including the one described below by Hubba's Emma Nemtin.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Mike Falzone nearly died twice in a two-week period, during which he was also fired from his job. On the way home from the hospital, he vowed that he would never work for anyone again. Since that day, Mike has written a successful book and toured nationally as a musician and comedian. With nearly 70,000 subscribers to his BestFriendmenship YouTube channel and 6 million video views, Mike is an emerging YouTube star.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. It is only a matter of time before a YouTube filmmaker wins Oscar gold and my money is on Joe Penna. His videos have 325 million views and he has over 2.5 million subscribers to his MysteryGuitarMan YouTube channel. Mainstream America was first introduced to him in THIS McDonald's commercial. YouTube is largely populated by videos that cater to the medium's overwhelming young and male demographic. Thus, channels focused on gaming and adolescent humor abound. Yet, despite the explosion in the number of YouTubers, the medium has relatively few genuine filmmakers. Joe's intelligent, creative and entertaining videos satisfy the young YouTube viewer's comedy fix while crossing over to a more mature and sophisticated audience.
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. John Lusk, along with his Co-Author Kyle Harrison, leveraged their humble company's newsletter into The MouseDriver Chronicles, a New York Times bestselling book. Along the way, they created a supportive community of emotionally attached stakeholders that would be the envy of any Social Media Manager. Here's how they pulled it off.
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. Last week, Divshot turned a simple April Fool's Day joke into a marketing coup, generating nearly 6,000 Tweets and over a thousand Beta customers. Unlike many viral marketing events, the company's latest guerilla marketing stunt was not luck. As noted in Hacking Hacker News, the company previously dominated the mindshare of the web development community by facilitating the spread of a random posting on Hacker News.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. According to Tige Young, Founder and CEO of Tui Tai Expeditions, entrepreneurs should de-emphasize ROI and focus on a more accurate measure of wealth, Return On Life. I became acquainted with Tige, when I was researching examples of exemplary online customer service. In the resulting article, I describe Tige's deft handling of online trolls via the deft use of social media. My subsequent correspondence with Tige led me and my 13-year-old son to Fiji, where we experienced the Tui Tai firsthand. As luck would have it, a large group cancelled their reservation at the last minute. As such, my son and I had the boat essentially to ourselves. Fortuitously, Tige's children were on school holiday, so he and his family joined us for several days. As I got to know Tige, I became intrigued with his story. How did an American software engineer come to own an adventure travel company cited by National Geographic as, "one of the best adventure travel companies on earth?"
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. With no industry connections or family ties, talent agent John Ferriter applied basic entrepreneurial principles to reach the pinnacle of Hollywood's elite. You can watch John describe his surprising Hollywood journey in the following 20-minute excerpt from his recent talk at UC Santa Barbara.