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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...

From Startup Newsletter To Best Selling Book: How This Entrepreneur Pulled It Off

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...

How This Startup Turned An April Fools Joke Into Customers

  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...

Entrepreneurs Should Forget ROI And Focus On Return On Life: The New Measure Of Wealth

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...

A Surprising Entrepreneurial Journey To The Pinnacle Of Hollywood

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.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Jim Andelman, my Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, aptly describes the genesis of the Series A...

The Series A Crunch Is For Entrepreneurs Who Cannot Create Their Own Luck

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. Jim Andelman, my Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, aptly describes the genesis of the Series A crunch, stating that: "Over the next 12-to-18 months, a lot of good companies that have been Seed financed are going to have a tough time raising a Series  A from a new outside lead. This is due to a fundamental disconnect between the increased activity of high-volume seed investors (that fill out lots of Seed rounds) and the relatively small number of Series A investors, who only make 1 or 2 investments, per partner, per year."
A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. For many small businesses, their online reputation is their passport to virtual word-of-mouth referrals. Unfortunately, an...

Using Social Media To Deal With Customer Trolls

A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. For many small businesses, their online reputation is their passport to virtual word-of-mouth referrals. Unfortunately, an articulate and engaging negative review on Yelp!, TripAdvisor or Amazon can have an outsized impact on a small business. You operate your business from a small boat in the remote waters of northern Fiji and your customers are spread across the globe, residing in the US, Europe and Asia. How can you protect your company's reputation when a rouge customer unjustly flames your startup? In searching for world-class examples of public responses to irate customers' complaints, I found one that emanated from an unlikely place, Savusavu, Fiji. The respondent to the customer complaint was Tige Young, CEO and Owner of the Tui Tai Expeditions, cited by National Geographic as, "one of the best adventure travel companies on earth." With an excellent online reputation, it would be understandable if Tige chose to disregard the occasional negative review. However, rather than ignore discontented customers, Tige does a masterful job of crafting rebuttals that are informative, appropriately deferential and amusing.   In addition to utilizing reputation management services such as YellowBot, entrepreneurs must become proficient online advocates, defending their businesses against unjust and unfounded attacks. Left unattended, such attacks are detrimental. Inartfully handled, such reviews can be disastrous.
A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. How did Sarah Penna create one of YouTube's most successful networks? Consistently working 14-to-16-hour days had...

This 28 Year Old Woman Co-Founded One Of The Most Successful YouTube Networks

A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. How did Sarah Penna create one of YouTube's most successful networks? Consistently working 14-to-16-hour days had something to do with it, along with a service-oriented mentality built upon a foundation of integrity. You can watch Sarah tell her compelling story in the following 15-minute excerpt from her recent UC Santa Barbara talk. Note: I am indirectly a micro-investor in Big Frame through Rincon Venture Partners sponsorship of Launchpad LA.
A version of this article originally appeared in Forbes. I recently had the pleasure of connecting with author, investor and serial entrepreneur Brad Feld. The...

Santa Barbara Is NOT The Next Silicon Valley, Here Is Why

A version of this article originally appeared in Forbes. I recently had the pleasure of connecting with author, investor and serial entrepreneur Brad Feld. The forum was an LA dinner hosted by the good folks at Cross Campus and was attended by about a dozen of Southern California's most active institutional investors. During our discussion of Brad's book, Startup Communities, the subject of Los Angeles becoming the next "Silicon Beach" was raised. Although the term was used tongue-in-cheek, Brad made it clear that no town should aspire to become the next "silicon" anything. Rather, he believes startup communities should focus on establishing a unique identity, based upon their endemic, "energy, activities and innovations."  
  A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. The worlds of standup comedy and business presentations are not as disparate as they may...

Serious Presentation Tips From Standup Comics

  A version of this article previously appeared on Inc. The worlds of standup comedy and business presentations are not as disparate as they may appear at first glance. Comedians are entrepreneurs. They often write their own material, book their gigs, arrange their travel and negotiate and collect their compensation from club owners. In addition, both comedians and entrepreneurs must engage and entertain their demanding audiences. As such, there is much entrepreneurs can learn from their comic brethren.
  A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. How did a small, open source software company from Finland capture billions in market share...

How This Startup Kicked Oracle’s A$$

  A version of this article previously appeared on Forbes. How did a small, open source software company from Finland capture billions in market share from Oracle? Marten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, knows the answer and he delights in telling the story of how MySQL ate Oracle's lunch and dinner. You can watch Marten tell his entertaining story in the following 15-minute excerpt from his UC Santa Barbara talk. Note: I am a micro-Angel investor in Eucalyptus.
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