A version of this article previously appeared in The Wall Street Journal. A startup's marketing launch strategy should resemble an inverse funnel. As the launch proceeds, the degree of influence of the parties exposed to your solution should commensurately grow. This approach allows your venture to "fail in the small" and make course corrections before spending significant marketing resources. It also facilitates determining your proper product and market fit before your startup is under a white-hot media spotlight.
A version of this article previously appeared in Inc. A Wantrepreneur is a well-intentioned person who wants to be an entrepreneur. They enjoy discussing their startup ideas and revel in the positive social status afforded entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, they lack the skills, personality and risk profile to successfully start and operate a business. Not surprisingly, wantrepreneurs enjoy operating in perpetual stealth mode.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. VidCon's format facilitates a number of opportunities for fans to connect and interact with their YouTube idols. For the uninitiated, VidCon is a mashup between the Consumer Electronics Show and E! Entertainment. Inspired by ComicCon, VidCon is an annual convention centered around the online video community. Not surprisingly, it is heavily sponsored by video overlord YouTube. I covered the show's opening day festivities HERE. The conference was created in 2010 by Hank and John Green, when they hosted approximately 1,400 fans and industry insiders. The 2013 event drew over 11,000 people and was sold out months ago. In addition, over 6,000 people were put on a waiting list, in case some of the confirmed attendees bailed at the last minute.
A version of this article previously appeared in Forbes. If you were not walking the halls of the Anaheim Convention last week, you missed a whole lot at the VidCon 2013. What follows is a blow-by-blow account of the convention's Industry Day keynotes, which focused on the current and future status of the online video ecosystem. Never heard of VidCon? Think "Consumer Electronics Show meets E! Entertainment." In the mold of ComicCon, VidCon is an annual convention centered around the online video community. The event was created in 2010 by Hank and John Green, when they hosted approximately 1,400 industry insiders and fans. The current year's event drew over 11,000 people and has been sold out for months.
Easy To Start, Hard To Control A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Brian Coryat, Founder and CEO of Local Market Launch and former founder of ValueClick (NASDAQ: VCLK) recently spoke as part of UCSB's Distinguished Lecture Series. His talk was entertaining and informative and contained a number of witty entrepreneurial insights, such as: "Startups are like high school. Both are fun, but mostly in hindsight." You can watch a 10-minute excerpt from Brian's talk, HERE.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. In their new book Startup Life, serial entrepreneur and venture investor Brad Feld, along with his wife Amy Batchelor, describe what has, and has not, worked for them during their 22-year relationship. Brad is in the midst of writing a series of startup-oriented books. Startup Life is the follow-up to Startup Communities, which I reviewed HERE.
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?