Startup Knowledgebase

37 topics, 205 articles, 42 authors

Great articles about startups.


Table of Contents


The Collection

Business: Accounting & Finances

Bookings vs Revenues vs Collections
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-08-16

Determining Valuation Multiples
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-09-5

EBITDA
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-09-12

LTV > CPA
Dan Lewis - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-04-25

Liquidation Analysis
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-10-3

Liquidation Analysis (Continued)
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-10-10

MBA Mondays: Cap Tables
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-09-26

Ordinary Income vs Capital Gains
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-05-2

Purchasing Power Parity
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-07-12

Revenue Based Financing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-10-17

ACCOUNTING
Accounting
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-03-08

Accounting is keeping track of the money in a company. It’s critical to keep good books and records for a business, no matter how small it is. I’m not going to lay out exactly how to do that, but I am going to discuss a few important principals.

ACCOUNTING
Analyzing Financial Statements
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-04-05

In the past three weeks, we talked about the three main financial statements, the Income Statement, the Balance Sheet, and the Cash Flow Statement. This post is going to attempt to help you figure out how to analyze them, at least at a cursory level.

ACCOUNTING
Cash Flow
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-03-29

Cash flow is the amount of cash your business either produces or consumes in a given period, typically a month, quarter, or year. You might think that is the same as the profit of the business, but that is not correct for a bunch of reasons.

ACCOUNTING
The Balance Sheet
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-03-22

The Balance Sheet is a report of the asset and liability accounts. Assets are things you own in your business, like cash, capital equipment, and money that is owed to you for products and services you have delivered to customers. Liabilities are obligations of the business, like bills you have yet to pay, money you have borrowed from a bank or investors.

ACCOUNTING
The Profit and Loss Statement
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-03-15

Today on MBA Mondays we are going to talk about one of the most important things in business, the profit and loss statement (also known as the P&L). Picking up from the accounting post last week, there are two kinds of accounting entries; those that describe money coming into and out of your business, and money that is contained in your business. The P&L deals with the first category.

BUDGETING
Budgeting In A Growing Company
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-05-24

What happens to the budgeting process once revenues start coming in, headcount gets to between 50 and 100 employees, and you are now a full fledged high growth business?

BUDGETING
Budgeting In A Large Company
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-10-02

The budgeting process is really critical in a large company. It forces the company to make highly informed decisions about investments and resource allocation and it creates company wide discipline around hitting goals. I have never seen a company of 150 employees or more operate functionally without a strong budget process.

BUDGETING
Budgeting In A Small Early Stage Company
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-05-10

The first step in budgeting is to review the key business metrics and lock them down based on what is realistic for the next year. Be very realistic. A good budget is a conservative budget.

BURN
Burn Rate
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-12-05

Your burn rate is the speed at which your cash balance is going down. If you had $1mm in cash on January 1st, and now it is October 1st and you have $250,000 left, your burn rate is $750,000/9, or $83,333/month.

BURN
Burn Rates: How Much?
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-12-12

 

BURN
How Much To Burn While Building Product
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-12-19

 

COSTS
Opportunity Costs
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-07-19

COSTS
Sunk Costs
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-07-26

LIABILITIES
Off Balance Sheet Liabilities
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-08-2

MARGINS
Margins
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-04-11

Margin is the amount of money you make on each incremental sale or unit of revenue before factoring in the “fixed costs” of your business. Fixed costs would be things like the rent on your office, your administrative team, and the people who do your accounting/bookeeping work for you. The key concept to wrap your head around is some costs rise and fall based on how much revenue you have and some costs are fixed and are the “cost of keeping the doors open.

MARGINS
Margins (continued)
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-04-18

I like to focus on “gross margin” because I think it tells you a lot about the scalability of a business (as I detailed in last week’s post). But operating margin which is gross margin less all the operating costs is another really important metric.

PROJECTIONS, BUDGETS AND FORECASTS
Forecasting
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-06-7

PROJECTIONS, BUDGETS AND FORECASTS
Projections, Budgeting and Forecasting
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-04-26

PROJECTIONS, BUDGETS AND FORECASTS
Scenarios
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-05-3

RISK AND RETURN
Currency Risk In A Business
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-07-5

RISK AND RETURN
Diversification
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-06-21

RISK AND RETURN
Hedging
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-06-28

RISK AND RETURN
Risk And Return
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-06-14

VALUE
Enterprise Value and Market Value
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-08-9


Business: Advice & Mentorship

ADVISORS
Should Your Startup Have an Advisory Board?
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-10-12

Many first-time entrepreneurs form advisory boards and grant 0.25-0.5% equity to each adviser. Should you? This post talks about why equity for advisers should only come if they write a check and if you do set up an advisory board what the best way to run it is. Also a quick note on how VCs view advisory boards (summary answer is – we’re cynical).


Business: Competition

Competition – The Pros and Cons
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-05-9


Business: Culture & Values

CULTURE
Culture And Fit
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-05-21

CULTURE
Culture Code - Asana
Asana - slideshare.net - 2014-01-03

Asana is a group of peers on a bold mission: to help humanity thrive by enabling all teams to work together effortlessly. Learn more about Asana’s culture: - How shared core values impact decision making and culture, - How we hire extraordinary people, - How we stay healthy & happy in the office, - How we get things done through Episodes, special weeks, hackathons, and using our product.

VALUES
Twilio’s Nine Things
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-05-27


Business: Customers

CUSTOMER DEVELOPMENT
What is customer development?
Eric Ries - startuplessonslearned.com


Business: Early Stage

How to Bring a Product to Market / A Very Rare Interview with Sean Ellis - by Babak Nivi
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2009-12-14

In an early stage startup you have an opportunity to put a product out there, get that initial user feedback, and then you have two choices. If that feedback is really strong and the users say that they’d be very disappointed without it, in a large percentage, then you can try to grow the business. Alternatively, if they come back and say that they wouldn’t be that disappointed without the product, then you have the choices where you can either try to grow it or you can decide that you’re not going to try and grow the business. And to me, my recommendation has always been to decide not to grow the business if it doesn’t have a lot of people that are real passionate about the solutions.

How to Bring a Product to Market, Part 2 — After Product/Market Fit
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2010-01-12

Here, Sean Ellis explains what you do after fit: optimizing your positioning, implementing a business model, and optimizing your funnel — all so you’re prepared to acquire users quickly and profitably.

Product > Strategy > Business Model
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-06-02

Getting product right means finding product market fit. It does not mean launching the product. It means getting to the point where the market accepts your product and wants more of it. That means different things in consumer, saas, infrastructure, hardware, etc, but in every case you must get to product market fit before thinking about anything else. And, I believe, moving to business model before finding product market fit can be the worst thing for your business.

INCORPORATION
Corporate Entities
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-02-22

There are many people who run a business and don’t incorporate. A good example of this are many of the sellers on Etsy. They make things, sell them, receive the income, and pay the taxes as part of their personal returns. But there are three big reasons you’ll want to consider incorporating; liability, taxes, and investment. And the kind of corporate entity you create depends on where you want to come out on all three of those factors.

MVP
Minimum Viable Product: a guide
Eric Ries - startuplessonslearned.com

MISTAKES
Most Common Early Start-up Mistakes
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-08-17

I often talk with entrepreneurs who are kicking around their next idea.  Sometimes they’re working full time at a company or sometimes they’ve already left their employer and they’re bouncing around ideas with friends.  These periods of time can leave a founder very vulnerable in the future.


Business: Entrepreneurship

What Makes an Entrepreneur? Four Letters: JFDI
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-11-19

I believe that being successful as an entrepreneur requires you to get lots of things done.  You are constantly faced with decisions and there is always incomplete information.  This paralyzes most people.  Not you. Entrepreneurs make fast decisions and move forward knowing that at best 70% of their decisions are going to be right.  They move the ball forward every day.  They are quick to spot their mistakes and correct.  Good entrepreneurs can admit when their course of action was wrong and learn from it.  Good entrepreneurs are wrong often.  If you’re not then you’re not trying hard enough.  Good entrepreneurs have a penchant for doing vs. over-analyzing.  (obviously don’t read this as zero analysis).


Business: Feedback

What Not to Ask
Paul Smith - robots.thoughtbot.com - 2014-07-10

Let’s go over some common pitfalls and how to avoid them. In the process we’ll figure out what kind of questions will help us identify the information we need [from user interviews], while avoiding questions that lead to inaccurate responses.


Business: Founding

Founders, Ownership and Prenuptials
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-04-18

Best case scenario in my mind is just 1, but at most I recommend 2. I knew this topic would be controversial because when I tell people this in person it always elicits shock.   To be clear – it is not about being stingy with or hoarding equity – it is about having a prenuptial agreement.

EQUITY
Dividing Equity Between Founders
Chris Dixon - cdixon.org - 2009-08-23

I can’t tell you how many companies I’ve seen where a random former founder who was long gone owned some big chunk of the company.

VESTING
First Round Funding Terms and Founder Vesting
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-08-17

I’m putting millions of dollars in your company.  My thesis is YOU.   I need some protection that you’re not fully or mostly vested where you could simply walk away with a large stake in the company, screwing not just me but the entire employee base of the company.  I’m not Sequoia.  I’m not looking to bring in a new team to replace you.  If you leave my thesis is largely out the door.

VESTING
Founder Vesting
Chris Dixon - cdixon.org - 2009-04-21

The most important term in a startup term sheet that no one seems to think carefully about is founder vesting. There are two key points about vesting: 1) All startup employees – including founders! – should vest over 4 years from their start date (with a one year “cliff”). 2) Founders should always have acceleration on change of control!


Business: Fundraising

How to Convince Investors
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2013-08-01

So here’s the recipe for impressing investors when you’re not already good at seeming formidable: Make something worth investing in. Understand why it’s worth investing in. Explain that clearly to investors. If you’re saying something you know is true, you’ll seem confident when you’re saying it. Conversely, never let pitching draw you into bullshitting. As long as you stay on the territory of truth, you’re strong. Make the truth good, then just tell it.

How to Raise Money
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2013-09-01

Don’t raise money unless you want it and it wants you., “Be in fundraising mode or not.”, “Get introductions to investors.”, “Hear no till you hear yes.”, “Do breadth-first search weighted by expected value.”, “Know where you stand.”, “Get the first commitment.”, “Close committed money.”, “Avoid investors who don’t ‘lead.’”, “Have multiple plans.”, “Underestimate how much you want.”, “Be profitable if you can.”, “Don’t optimize for valuation.”, “Yes/no before valuation.”, “Beware ‘valuation sensitive’ investors.”, “Accept offers greedily.”, “Don’t sell more than 25% in phase 2.”, “Have one person handle fundraising.”, “You’ll need an executive summary and (maybe) a deck.”, “Stop fundraising when it stops working.”, “Don’t get addicted to fundraising.”, “Don’t raise too much.”, “Be nice.”, “The bar will be higher next time.”, “Don’t make things complicated.”

Sizing Option Pools In Connection With Financings
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-05-18

The 11 Risks VCs Evaluate
Tomasz Tunguz - tomtunguz.com - 2013-03-28

Market timing risk, Business model risk, Market adoption risk, Market size risk, Execution risk, Technology risk, Capitalization structure risk, Platform risk, Venture management risk, Financial ris, Legal risk

Valuation and Option Pool
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2009-11-06

CROWDFUNDING
Kickstartup — Successful fundraising with Kickstarter & the (re)making of Art Space Tokyo
Craig Mod - craigmod.com - 2010-07-01

I gathered data for the top 20 to 30 grossing Kickstarter projects as of March 2010. I then mapped out the number of pledges per tier, looking for a balance between number of pledges and overall percentage contribution of funds to my data set. Here is that data with the top five grossing tiers by percentage contribution highlighted in yellow.

CROWDFUNDING
Trends in Pricing and Duration
Fred Benenson, Yancey Strickler - kickstarter.com - 2010-09-22

In the post Craig sampled other popular projects on Kickstarter, and explained how their choices and outcomes affected the way he constructed his project. Craig also offers some advice on optimal pricing and project length to future project creators. We were intrigued and impressed by Craig’s research and conclusions, and we’ve now compiled data from our entire database to see how it holds up. Let’s dig in.

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Bridge Loans
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-08-15

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Capital Equipment Loans and Leases
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-08-8

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Contests/Prizes/Accelerator Programs
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-06-6

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Convertible Debt
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-07-11

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Customers
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-06-20

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Friends and Family
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-05-30

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Government Grants
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-06-13

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Preferred Stock
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-07-18

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Vendor Financing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-06-27

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Venture Debt
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-07-25

FINANCING OPTIONS
Financing Options: Working Capital Financing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-08-22

FOUNDER QUALITIES
I Invest In CEOs Who Are Learning Machines
Brad Feld - feld.com - 2014-01-28

I’m regularly blown away by these two guys ability to collect new information, process it, and learn from it. Any meeting with them is not an endless socratic session from me to them, but rather the other way around. They know what they are trying to figure out and use me, and my broad range of experience, data, and opinions, to solicit a bunch of data for themselves that they use as inputs into their learning machine. Sure – I ask plenty of questions, but they do also, and as we go deeper, the questions – and the things that come out – get richer.

PITCHES
The 7 Questions A Startup Should Answer In Their Fund Raising Pitch
Tomasz Tunguz - tomtunguz.com - 2013-03-29

[Value prop] What is the problem and is it worth solving? Why is now the right time to solve it? [Team] Does the team have the vision and the wherewithal to build this company? [Go to market] What is the competitive angle (competitive barrier to entry and/or go-to-market) that will enable this company to succeed where others have tried and failed? [Sales effectiveness & product validation] Who does the startup sell to? Which customers have used the product and how have they received it? How much is each customer worth? [Product distribution] How does the company acquire customers cost effectively? What are the unit economics (customer acquisition cost, contribution revenue, and churn rates)? [Revenue model] Does the company have the revenue model to build a big (>$100M annual revenue) business with good margins (gross ~ 50 to 60% / net ~15 to 25%) under reasonable assumptions? [Market size] Can the market enable or bear a $100M revenue Alternatively, is this product in a quickly growing market or riding a disruptive wave?

PITCHES
The Secret Ingredient to the Best Startup Fundraising Pitches
Tomasz Tunguz - tomtunguz.com - 2014-08-01

The most successful pitches argue the market will unfold inexorably in the way the founders envision on a relevant time scale. And, that this startup in particular will dominate share in that new world. … There is no prescriptive way I can recommend to consistently argue inevitability. Some founders use data. Others use logic. Still others use emotion and passion to do it. But in the end, these exceptional storytellers make you want to believe, suspend doubt, and disregard the great risks that all startups face all along their journey, and get involved with the business.

TERMS
First Round Funding Terms and Founder Vesting
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-08-17

I’m putting millions of dollars in your company.  My thesis is YOU.   I need some protection that you’re not fully or mostly vested where you could simply walk away with a large stake in the company, screwing not just me but the entire employee base of the company.  I’m not Sequoia.  I’m not looking to bring in a new team to replace you.  If you leave my thesis is largely out the door.


Business: General

Peter Thiel’s CS183: Startup - Class 9 Notes Essay
Blake Masters - blakemasters.com - 2012-05-04

The first thing to do is to dispel the belief that the best product always wins. There is a rich history of instances where the best product did not, in fact, win. Nikola Tesla invented the alternating current electrical supply system. It was, for a variety of reasons, technologically better than the direct current system that Thomas Edison developed. Tesla was the better scientist. But Edison was the better businessman, and he went on to start GE. Interestingly, Tesla later developed the idea of radio transmission. But Marconi took it from him and then won the Nobel Prize. Inspiration isn’t all that counts. The best product may not win.

Six Principles for Making New Things
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2008-02-01

Here it is: I like to find (a) simple solutions (b) to overlooked problems (c) that actually need to be solved, and (d) deliver them as informally as possible, (e) starting with a very crude version 1, then (f) iterating rapidly.

Startup Advice
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com

I think the sign of a good entrepreneur is the ability to spot your mistakes, correct quickly and not repeat the mistakes. I made plenty of mistakes. Below are some of the lessons I learned along the way.

Startups in 13 Sentences
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2009-02-01

  1. Pick good cofounders. 2. Launch fast. 3. Let your idea evolve. 4. Understand your users. 5. Better to make a few users love you than a lot ambivalent. 6. Offer surprisingly good customer service. 7. You make what you measure. 8. Spend little. 9. Get ramen profitable. 10. Avoid distractions. 11. Don’t get demoralized. 12. Don’t give up. 13. Deals fall through.

The Hardest Lessons for Startups to Learn
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2006-04-01

  1. Release Early. 2. Keep Pumping Out Features. 3. Make Users Happy. 4. Fear the Right Things. 5. Commitment Is a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. 6. There Is Always Room. 7. Don’t Get Your Hopes Up.

The Pmarca Guide To Startups
Marc Andreessen - pmarchive.com - 2007-06-18

In this series of posts I will walk through some of my accumulated knowledge and experience in building high-tech startups.

What is a startup?
Eric Ries - startuplessonslearned.com - 2010-06-21

So let’s begin with a definition of a startup that captures its essential nature, and tries to leave behind the specific associations of the most famous startups. A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.


Business: Ideas & Vision

Developing New Startup Ideas
Chris Dixon - cdixon.org - 2010-03-14

If you want to start a company and are working on new ideas, here’s how I’ve always done it and how I recommend you do it.  Be the opposite of secretive. 


Business: Inspiration

Paul Buchheit: The Technology
Paul Buchheit - paulbuchheit.blogspot.jp - 2014-07-30

It’s often assumed that business is all about money, but to me that’s like saying that rockets are all about rocket fuel. On some level it’s true. You won’t even make it off the launch pad without fuel. But that myopic view misses out on the larger purpose and mission of the machine. Certainly some businesses really are about nothing more than making money, but among the truly significant founders I’ve known, there’s always a larger purpose. It’s not just a nihilistic pursuit of rocket fuel.


Business: Leadership & Management

Asana’s Justin Rosenstein on the One Quality Every Startup Needs to Survive
First Round Capital - firstround.com - 2014-01-30

If people don’t have true clarity around what they’re doing and how it fits into their organization, they’re bound to duplicate efforts, deflate morale, spend hours on unimportant tasks, and more. To combat this problem, Rosenstein says, leaders need to prioritize clarity in everything they do in this order: Clarity of purpose; clarity of plan; and clarity of responsibility. If you can marry these three qualities, you can achieve organizational fluidity that will get the most out of your resources.

LinkedIn Speaker Series: Jeff Weiner, Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
Jeff Weiner, Reid Hoffman, Ben Casnocha - youtube.com - 2014-06-30

LinkedIn’s co-founder/chairman, Reid Hoffman, has written a new book with Ben Casnocha and Chris Yeh: The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age.

LEADERSHIP
How Amazon achieves excellence at scale
Chris DeVore - crashdev.com - 2013-03-04

  1. Customer Obsession, 2. Ownership, 3. Invent and Simplify, 4. Are Right, A Lot, 5. Hire and Develop the Best, 6. Insist on the Highest Standards, 7. Think Big, 8. Bias for Action, 9. Frugality, 10. Vocally Self Critical, 11. Earn Trust of Others, 12. Dive Deep, 13. Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit, 14. Deliver Results

LEADERSHIP
Notes on Leadership: Be Like Steve Jobs, … And Bill Campbell, And Andy Grove
Ben Horowitz - techcrunch.com - 2010-03-14

So what makes people want to follow a leader? We look for 3 key traits: The ability to articulate the vision, The right kind of ambition, The ability to achieve the vision

MANAGEMENT
Goldilocks Management
Dustin Moskovitz - medium.com - 2013-09-17

The limits of a completely flat approach, as conceded by Valve, reveal the mental trap that is causing startups to reject management. With the reference to the military at the beginning, Valve makes it clear that they see management solely through the lens of command and control hierarchies: it’s there to establish bureaucracy in the name of consistency and order. This can be true, but need not be, and definitely should not be the only role that management plays. Instead, I think the most important value of a manager is to serve their reports: to unblock them, mentor them, and keep them pointed in a direction that best serves their needs and the priorities of the organization.

MANAGEMENT
The Management Team - While Building Product
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-01-02

Building product is not about having a large team to manage. It is about having a small team with the right people on it. You need product, design, and software engineering skills on the team. And you need to be focused, committed, and driven. Management at this point is all about small team dynamics; everyone on board, working together, and getting stuff done. Strong individual contributors are key in this stage. Management skills are not a requirement. In fact they may even be a hindrance.

MANAGEMENT
The Management Team - While Building The Business
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-01-16

Many founders are naturally talented at building product and building the user base. But building the company comes harder to them. I once discussed this with Roelof Bothaand he made a fantastic suggestion. Founders should think of the business as yet another product they are building. It is the ultimate product they are building because from the company can come any number of additional products and any number of additional initiatives. The company, if built correctly, will be more important than any single product it can create. 

MANAGEMENT
The Management Team - While Building Usage
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-01-09

So you’ve built and launched your product. It is well received. You’ve acheived “product market fit” and it is time to get more users or customers. You’ve graduated from the “building product” stage and have entered the “building usage” phase. What does this mean for your team?


Business: Lean Startup

Bootstrapping a Lean Startup
Ash Maurya - blog.leanstack.com - 2010-03-01

At every stage of the startup, there are a set of actions that are “right” for the startup, in that they maximize return on time, money, and effort. A lean/bootstrapped entrepreneur ignores all else.

The Lean Startup
Eric Ries - startuplessonslearned.com


Entrepreneurs Need to Learn Some Law
Chris Dixon - cdixon.org - 2009-09-13

Entrepreneurs, especially first timers, should have lawyers review everything they sign. But I stand behind my main point:  you can’t outsource the understanding of key financing and other legal documents to lawyers.

Reading Your Legal Docs
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2011-06-16

Some docs are too long and boilerplate to read, so this is how I read financing docs: 1- Read and understand everything in the term sheet. 2- Get a good lawyer because you probably don’t have one. 3- You probably can’t tell the difference between good legal advice and bad legal advice.

INCORPORATION
Corporate Entities
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-02-22

There are many people who run a business and don’t incorporate. A good example of this are many of the sellers on Etsy. They make things, sell them, receive the income, and pay the taxes as part of their personal returns. But there are three big reasons you’ll want to consider incorporating; liability, taxes, and investment. And the kind of corporate entity you create depends on where you want to come out on all three of those factors.

INCORPORATION
Piercing The Corporate Veil
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-03-01

Forming a company is the best way to “putting a buffer between you and the business.” But you can’t just pretend to be a business, you have to be a business. “Being a business” means separating your personal and business records, separating your personal and business bank accounts, treating the business as a real entity, having board meetings, taking board minutes, doing major activities via board resolutions, following “due process.” If you don’t behave as a real business, you could find yourself in a situation where someone, most commonly someone who is suing your business, can come after you (and your business partners) personally. And then you are going to say “but what about the liability limitation the business provides?” It may not be there for you.

LAWYERS
How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2010-01-21

I know that people have an allergy to lawyers out of fear of being screwed.  Much of this is unfounded – some is not.  If you’re a startup and you don’t have a close relationship with a few law firms you’re really missing one of the most important relationships that any entrepreneur can have. This all got me thinking about a post on how to best work with lawyers.  This is stuff I tell people verbally at least twice / month so I’m glad to finally get it into written format.

LAWYERS
Lawyers Are Referees, Not Coaches
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2008-06-12

Lawyers teach you the rules of the game. But they usually can’t teach you how to play it. Lawyers say whether you can do something, within the confines of the law and your existing contracts. Lawyers will also write the contracts and do the filings. But they usually can’t tell you what to do—that’s what coaches do. A lawyer knows that you’re not breaking any laws or contracts if you give a common board seat to a new CEO. He also knows how to write the contract. But an advisor knows the possible outcomes of that decision.


Business: Lessons Learned


Business: M&A & IPO

M&A
Acquisition Finance
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-11-29

M&A
Buying and Selling Assets
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-12-20

M&A
M&A Case Studies: ChiliSoft
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-01-3

M&A
M&A Case Studies: Feedburner
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-01-24

M&A
M&A Case Studies: WhatCounts
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-01-10

M&A
M&A Case Studies: WhatCounts Sale Process
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-01-17

M&A
M&A Fundamentals
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-12-6

M&A
M&A Issues: Breakup Fees
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-02-21

M&A
M&A Issues: Consideration
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-03-21

M&A
M&A Issues: Governmental Approvals
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-02-14

M&A
M&A Issues: Price
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-04-4

M&A
M&A Issues: Reps, Warranties, Indemnities, and Escrows
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-02-28

M&A
M&A Issues: The Integration Plan
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-01-31

M&A
M&A Issues: The Stay Package
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-02-7

M&A
M&A Issues: Timing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-03-14

M&A
Selling Your Company
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-12-27


Business: Market & Research

Sunny Whether: Two Types of Forecasting Models for Running Your Startup
Hunter Walk - hunterwalk.com - 2014-07-22

Well, if you’re pre-product/market fit, over-optimizing for ‘hitting your numbers’ can be a false positive if it creates an ‘up and to the right’ graph that actually builds upon the wrong learnings, or masks leaky bucket of customer attrition.

MARKET SIZING
How to Miss By a Mile: An Alternative Look at Uber’s Potential Market Size
Bill Gurley - abovethecrowd.com - 2014-07-11

So here is the objective of this post. It is not my aim to specifically convince anyone that Uber is worth any specific valuation. What Professor Damodaran thinks, or what anyone who is not a buyer or seller of stocks thinks, is fairly immaterial. I am also not out to prove him wrong. I am much more interested in the subject of critical reasoning and predictions, and how certain assumptions can lead to gravely different outcomes. As such, my goal is to offer a plausible argument that the core assumptions used in Damodaran’s analysis may be off by a factor of 25 times, perhaps even more. And I hope the analysis is judged on whether the arguments I make are reasonable and feasible.

MARKET SIZING
The Secrets of Market Sizing
Brekiri - brekiri.com - 2010-02-26

Like forecasts, market size estimates should most often be considered directional (consulting speak for ‘in the right ballpark’). You should also keep this point in mind when consuming market size information – the market size numbers you read in the news or market research reports are probably only accurate within 10-20% in many cases. One of the best ways to ensure that you get at least a sensible result is to triangulate between different approaches: top-down and bottom-up estimates.


Business: Marketing & Sales

VIRAL
Lessons Learned – Viral Marketing
David Skok - forentrepreneurs.com - 2009-12-06

  1. Unless you have a Viral Coefficient that is greater than 1, you will not have true viral growth. 2. The most important factor to increasing growth is not the Viral Coefficient, but the Viral Cycle Time (ct) which should be made as short as possible. This will have a dramatic effect on growth. 3. The second most important area to focus is the Viral Coefficient (K). Anything that you can do to increase the number of invitations sent out, and the conversion rate, will have a significant effect on growth.

VIRAL
What’s your viral loop? Understanding the engine of adoption
Andrew Chen - andrewchen.co - 2007-07-11

To define the viral loop, you can think of it as: “The steps a user goes through between entering the site to inviting the next set of new users” Simple enough? Well, because this core loop is repeated so many times over generations and generations of users, getting it right is incredibly important.


Business: Metrics & Analytics

Key Business Metrics
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-04-12

The Dangerous Seduction of the Lifetime Value (LTV) Formula
Bill Gurley - abovethecrowd.com - 2012-09-04

Some people wield the LTV model as if they were Yoda with a light saber; “Look at this amazing weapon I know how to use!” Unfortunately, it is not that amazing, it’s not that unique to understand, and it is not a weapon, it’s a tool. Companies need a sustainable competitive advantage that is independent of their variable marketing campaigns. You can’t win a fight with a measuring tape.

The Lean Analytics Cycle: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act
Avinash Kaushik - kaushik.net - 2013-04-08

To win in business you need to follow this process: Metrics > Hypothesis > Experiment > Act. Online, offline or nonline.

AARRR
AARRR! Mixpanel for Pirates
Aliisa Rosenthal - mixpanel.com - 2012-11-15

Dave McClure’s Startup Metrics for Pirates has become something of a bible for startups focused on collecting data and iterating quickly. His premise is simple - building a startup is hard! To succeed, you need to design and test constantly throughout both marketing and product. Marketers must design and test multiple channels, measuring effectiveness deep down the funnel rather than on the surface. Product designers should rigorously test new features through split testing and measuring impact on conversion.

AARRR
Startup Metrics for Pirates
Dave McClure - slideshare.net - 2007-08-08

This is a 5-step model for creating a metrics framework for your business & customers, and how to apply it to your product & marketing efforts. The pirate” part comes from the 5 steps: Acquisition, Activation, Retention, Referral, & Revenue (AARRR!)’”

CHURN
Tom Blomfield ― Customer churn can kill your startup
Tom Blomfield - tomblomfield.com - 2014-07-10

Startups are about growth, and of all the different possible metrics, startups often focus on user growth - if people aren’t using your new product or service in greater and greater numbers, it’s a good sign that you’re not on the right track. And, as long as your business-model is solid, user growth is a leading indicator of revenue and profit growth. But there’s another key metric that can be the making of your company, or the death of it - churn, or the proportion of existing customers who become ex-customers during a period of time (generally a year).

CHURN
Why Everything I Thought I Knew About Churn Is Wrong
Tomasz Tunguz - tomtunguz.com - 2014-01-15

Churn rates and LTV are challenging to predict with accuracy and while rules of thumb like the formulas above may be reasonable guidelines, it’s important to be aware of their tendency to overestimate lifetime value […]. Because a 2x overestimate of customer lifetime can radically change a startup’s unit economics, deeply understanding churn behaviors is crucial to making a startup’s business model viable.


Business: Mistakes & Failure

FAILURE
76 Startup Failure Post-Mortems
CB Insights - cbinsights.com - 2014-01-20

[B]elow is a compilation of 51 startup post-mortems that describe the factors that drove a startup’s demise. Most of the failures have been told by the company’s founders, but in a few cases, we did find a couple from investors including Roger Ehrenberg (now of IA Ventures) and Bruce Booth (Atlas Venture).

MISTAKES
Beware the ‘Edifice Complex’ ― and 9 Other Ways to Damage a High-Growth Startup
Marc Andreessen - a16z.com - 2014-07-08

Here are 10 ways to damage your fast-growing tech startup– and hurt the perception of Silicon Valley in the process. None of these are specific to any one company; they’re general patterns we’ve observed across multiple cycles of tech startups.

MISTAKES
Most Common Early Start-up Mistakes
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-08-17

I often talk with entrepreneurs who are kicking around their next idea.  Sometimes they’re working full time at a company or sometimes they’ve already left their employer and they’re bouncing around ideas with friends.  These periods of time can leave a founder very vulnerable in the future.

MISTAKES
The 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2006-10-01

  1. Single Founder, 2. Bad Location, 3. Marginal Niche, 4. Derivative Idea, 5. Obstinacy, 6. Hiring Bad Programmers, 7. Choosing the Wrong Platform, 8. Slowness in Launching, 9. Launching Too Early, 10. Having No Specific User in Mind, 11. Raising Too Little Money, 12. Spending Too Much, 13. Raising Too Much Money, 14. Poor Investor Management, 15. Sacrificing Users to (Supposed) Profit, 16. Not Wanting to Get Your Hands Dirty, 17. Fights Between Founders, 18. A Half-Hearted Effort

Business: Mobile

MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Mobile
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-02-11

As attractive as selling apps and running ads on them is, I believe the biggest and most attractive model in mobile is the transaction. Slowly but surely, our phone is becoming our wallet. And I don’t mean wallet in the way that Google and PayPal think. I don’t think we will necessarily have a mobile wallet. I think the apps on the phones will just have native transaction capability in them.


Business: Models & Pricing

Product > Strategy > Business Model
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-06-02

Getting product right means finding product market fit. It does not mean launching the product. It means getting to the point where the market accepts your product and wants more of it. That means different things in consumer, saas, infrastructure, hardware, etc, but in every case you must get to product market fit before thinking about anything else. And, I believe, moving to business model before finding product market fit can be the worst thing for your business.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Advertising
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-12-10

I would break up advertising into two big buckets; ads that are sold and ads that are bought. The first is a relationship business, requires a direct salesforce or a salesforce that you can tap into, and will bring a higher revenue per impression in most cases. The latter is a data business, automated by machines and software, is a volume game and will bring a lower revenue per impression in most cases. Much of the online advertising market is moving inexorably toward the latter category, for good and bad.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Commerce
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-12-17

Commerce represents the largest and most common online revenue model. But it is not an easy one to execute profitably. It lends itself to commoditization and margin compression in most cases and the economies go to scale players like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Data
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-02-04

The Internet is a data generating machine. According to Eric Schmidt, every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003. It’s also incredibly good at presenting that data, both to humans and machines. So it makes sense that collecting and publishing data is one of the primary business models on the Internet.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Gaming
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-02-18

Gaming isn’t a revenue model itself, but it does offer a number of interesting revenue models and is worth discussing in a post in this series.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Licensing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-01-28

Licensing, according to wikipedia, is an authorization (by the licensor) to use the licensed material (by the licensee). Of all the business models listed on the revenue model hackpad, licensing is the least net native business model. There is very little about the internet that makes licensing work better and there is a lot that makes it work worse. 

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Mobile
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-02-11

As attractive as selling apps and running ads on them is, I believe the biggest and most attractive model in mobile is the transaction. Slowly but surely, our phone is becoming our wallet. And I don’t mean wallet in the way that Google and PayPal think. I don’t think we will necessarily have a mobile wallet. I think the apps on the phones will just have native transaction capability in them.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Peer to Peer
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-01-14

If there is one thing I have learned investing in Internet businesses over the years it is to pay attention to things you can’t do without the Internet. And that describes peer to peer pretty well. Like the Internet, a peer network empowers the edges and devalues the middle. I like peer networks very much.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Subscriptions
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-01-07

Today, most software is sold in a subscription model. You pay a monthly fee for the right to use the software. If you stop paying the monthly fee, your right to use the software goes away. Maintenance and support is bundled in. The emergence of the subscription model has made the software business better. In the old upfront license fee model, software companies would trade at 2-4x revenues. Now they trade at 6-8x revenues. That reflects the recurring, almost annuity nature of the subscription model.

MODELS
MBA Mondays: Revenue Models - Transaction Processing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-01-21

The thing that all of these forms of transaction processing have in common is the processor handles a transaction that was generated by another product or service and provides some form of completion service and charges a fee for doing so. That could be processing a credit card transaction, handling a banking transaction, shipping something to someone, completing a call originated on another network, or distributing a third party app on an internet or mobile platform.

SUSTAINABILITY
How To Be In Business Forever: A Lesson In Sustainability
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-10-1

SUSTAINABILITY
How To Be In Business Forever: Week Four
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-10-22

SUSTAINABILITY
How To Be In Business Forever: Week Three
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-10-15

SUSTAINABILITY
How To Be In Business Forever: Week Two
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-10-8


Business: Pivoting & Change

Don’t Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-04-08

When something goes badly in your company, for many the initial instinct is to keep things under wraps as much as possible to avoid freaking everyone out. I would argue that it is better to acknowledge the crisis and use it to your advantage. Change is hard to bring to an organization and a time of crisis is often a perfect time to make some changes that you have wanted to make for a while. It creates a perfect backdrop and context for doing that.

PIVOT
Pivot, don’t jump to a new vision
Eric Ries - startuplessonslearned.com

PIVOT
Pivoting
Chris Dixon - cdixon.org - 2010-06-14

You aren’t throwing away what you’ve learned or the good things you’ve built. You are keeping your strong leg grounded and adjusting your weak leg to move in a new direction.


Business: Planning & Strategy

How to Ruin Your Company with One Bad Process
Ben Horowitz - bhorowitz.com - 2014-07-22

I am a giant advocate for technical founders running their own companies, but one consistent way that technical founders deeply harm their businesses is by screwing up the budgeting process. Yes, the budgeting process. How ridiculous is that? How does it happen and why is it particularly problematic for engineers?

The idea maze
Chris Dixon - cdixon.org - 2013-08-04

But the reality is that ideas do matter, just not in the narrow sense in which startup ideas are popularly defined. Good startup ideas are well developed, multi-year plans that contemplate many possible paths according to how the world changes. Balaji Srinivasan calls this the idea maze


Business: Problems & Problem Solving

CRISES
Don’t Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2013-04-08

When something goes badly in your company, for many the initial instinct is to keep things under wraps as much as possible to avoid freaking everyone out. I would argue that it is better to acknowledge the crisis and use it to your advantage. Change is hard to bring to an organization and a time of crisis is often a perfect time to make some changes that you have wanted to make for a while. It creates a perfect backdrop and context for doing that.

PROBLEM SOLVING
Five Whys, Part 1: The Startup Immune System
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2008-11-04

Whenever you find a defect, ask why five times to discover the root cause of the problem. Then make corrections at every level of the analysis. By applying five whys whenever you find a defect, you will (1) uncover the human problems beneath technical problems and (2) build an immune system for your startup.

PROBLEM SOLVING
Five Whys, Part 2: How to Get Started
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2008-11-17

Get started with five whys by applying it to a specific team with a specific problem. Select a five whys master to conduct a post mortem with everyone who was involved in the problem. Email the results of the analysis to the whole company. Repeatedly applying five whys at IMVU created a startup immune system that let our developers go faster by reducing mistakes.

PROBLEM SOLVING
Five Whys, Part 3: Legacy Startups
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2008-11-19

It’s never too late to start applying five whys, even if you’re saddled with zillions of lines of legacy code. Just start asking why whenever you find a problem—you’ll automatically start fixing the 20% of underlying issues that cause 80% of your problems. Five whys was first discovered by Toyota—if it can work for cars, it can work for you.


Business: Product/Market Fit

Don’t Hire a Marketer before Product/Market Fit
Sean Ellis - startup-marketing.com - 2009-02-14

I add a customer development specialist when the Validation Step begins, which is the role I fill with startups. I belive eventually many people will specialize in this critical stage.  Without a specialist, startups waste critical time and resources deciding where to execute. It’s surprising how similiar the process of uncovering the critical information needed to drive customer adoption across different types of startups.

How to Bring a Product to Market / A Very Rare Interview with Sean Ellis - by Babak Nivi
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2009-12-14

In an early stage startup you have an opportunity to put a product out there, get that initial user feedback, and then you have two choices. If that feedback is really strong and the users say that they’d be very disappointed without it, in a large percentage, then you can try to grow the business. Alternatively, if they come back and say that they wouldn’t be that disappointed without the product, then you have the choices where you can either try to grow it or you can decide that you’re not going to try and grow the business. And to me, my recommendation has always been to decide not to grow the business if it doesn’t have a lot of people that are real passionate about the solutions.

How to Bring a Product to Market, Part 2 — After Product/Market Fit
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2010-01-12

Here, Sean Ellis explains what you do after fit: optimizing your positioning, implementing a business model, and optimizing your funnel — all so you’re prepared to acquire users quickly and profitably.

The First Thing That Matters: Product/Market Fit
Ash Maurya - blog.leanstack.com - 2009-11-01

While I completely agree that achieving product/market fit is the necessary prerequisite to kicking into growth mode, I believe some level of preliminary landing page and positioning testing is absolutely required towards achieving product/market fit. After our call, I re-read both Steve Blank’s and Sean Ellis’ views on this and think they would agree too. Although I think Steve has a stricter definition of what achieving Product/Market fit looks like than Sean.

The Pmarca Guide To Startups, Part 4: The only thing that matters
Marc Andreessen - pmarchive.com - 2007-06-25

I believe that the life of any startup can be divided into two parts: before product/market fit (call this ‘BPMF’) and after product/market fit (‘APMF’). When you are BPMF, focus obsessively on getting to product/market fit.

The Startup Pyramid
Sean Ellis - startup-marketing.com - 2009-07-27

Every six months I rethink the optimal startup go to market approach based on new insights gained at recent startups. Lately I’ve been using a pyramid to represent the process I’m using. Startups require a solid foundation of product/market fit before progressing up the pyramid and scaling the business.

Why you should make it easy for users to quit your product
Andrew Chen - andrewchen.co - 2009-06-15

My central argument is that if you believe that every startup is an iterative learning process that converges towards product/market fit, then you need extremely high-fidelity signals to tell you if you’re going in the right direction. That means that along with trying to charge people money from early on, which is the highest form of “I love this!” you should give people valves to tell you “I hate this!” so that you can learn more faster.

Zero to Product/Market Fit (Presentation)
Andrew Chen - andrewchen.co - 2013-10-14

A few months ago, I spoke to a group of entrepreneurs at Stanford whose seed stage companies were still struggling to get product/market fit. I wrote down a few thoughts on the topic and turned it into slides. It’s really an extended version of this essay from 2011, but incorporates some newer thinking based on stuff I’ve learned in the meantime.


Business: Promotion & Traction

Early Traction: How to go from zero to 150,000 email subscribers
Noah Kagan - andrewchen.co - 2014-08-14

The one method I can consistently recommend for people starting their customer base has been giveaways.


Business: Recruiting & Employment

Asking An Employee To Leave The Company
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-07-2

Best Hiring Practices
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-06-11

Don’t Hire a Marketer before Product/Market Fit
Sean Ellis - startup-marketing.com - 2009-02-14

I add a customer development specialist when the Validation Step begins, which is the role I fill with startups. I belive eventually many people will specialize in this critical stage.  Without a specialist, startups waste critical time and resources deciding where to execute. It’s surprising how similiar the process of uncovering the critical information needed to drive customer adoption across different types of startups.

How I Hire: The 4 Principles For Recruiting the Best of the Best
Justin Rosenstein - linkedin.com - 2013-09-30

  1. Get to know the whole person, 2. Communicate your company’s values, 3. Meet people now who you might want to hire later, 4. The best people want to work with the best people

Leveraging Your Partners To Grow And Develop Your Team
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-07-9

Retaining Your Employees
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-06-25

Where To Find Strong Talent
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-05-28

Whom Should you Hire at a Startup?
Mark Suster - bothsidesofthetable.com - 2009-10-22

I believe that you should always hire people are are looking to “punch above their weight class,” which means to hire people who want to be one league above where they are today.

EQUITY
Employee Equity
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-09-27

EQUITY
Employee Equity: Appreciation
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-10-11

EQUITY
Employee Equity: Dilution
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-10-4

EQUITY
Employee Equity: How Much?
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-11-22

EQUITY
Employee Equity: Options
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-10-18

EQUITY
Employee Equity: Restricted Stock and RSUs
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-11-8

EQUITY
Employee Equity: The Liquidation Overhang
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-10-25

EQUITY
Employee Equity: The Option Strike Price
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-11-1

EQUITY
Employee Equity: Vesting
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-11-15

OUTSOURCING
Outsourcing
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-09-13

OUTSOURCING
Outsourcing vs Offshoring
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-09-20

TALENT HACKING
Say hello to the talent hacker
Nick Marsh - medium.com - 2014-06-20

I want to introduce a new concept — ‘talent hacking’. I define this as the creative application of technology and data to the problem of building new teams.


Business: SEO

Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
Google - static.googleusercontent.com

This document first began as an effort to help teams within Google, but we thought it’d be just as useful to webmasters that are new to the topic of search engine optimization and wish to improve their sites’ interaction with both users and search engines. Although this guide won’t tell you any secrets that’ll automatically rank your site first for queries in Google (sorry!), following the best practices outlined below will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.

The Beginners Guide to SEO
MOZ - moz.com

New to SEO? Need to polish up your knowledge? The Beginner’s Guide to SEO has been read over 1 million times and provides comprehensive information you need to get on the road to professional quality SEO.


Business: Scaling & Growth

Presentation: The Ultimate Guide to Funnel Optimization
Sean Johnson - sean-johnson.com - 2013-04-16

Discover how smart startups are optimizing each step of the customer development funnel.

Product Hunt is Everywhere - This is How It Got There
First Round Capital - firstround.com - 2014-07-29

If I hadn’t been blogging and active on Twitter, I think it would have taken way longer for Product Hunt to become what it is right now. So my advice is to start early. If you want people to listen to you eventually, you have to build trust over time.’

Startup = Growth
Paul Graham - paulgraham.com - 2012-09-01

A startup is a company designed to grow fast. Being newly founded does not in itself make a company a startup. Nor is it necessary for a startup to work on technology, or take venture funding, or have some sort of ‘exit.’ The only essential thing is growth. Everything else we associate with startups follows from growth.

There’s only a few ways to scale user growth, and here’s the list
Andrew Chen - andrewchen.co - 2014-07-08

  1. Paid acquisition, 2. Virality, 3. SEO, 4. Sales, 5. Other

Business: Social

Measuring Dark Social Using Google Analytics
Tomasz Tunguz - tomtunguz.com - 2013-03-18


Business: Team & Roles

Optimal Headcount At Various Stages
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-06-4

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board Of Directors – Selecting, Electing & Evolving
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-03-12

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board Of Directors – The Board Chair
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-03-19

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board Of Directors: Board Chemistry
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-03-26

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board Of Directors: Board Committees
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-04-9

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board Of Directors: Board Meetings
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-04-2

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board Of Directors: Role and Responsibilities
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-03-5

EXECUTIVE
Being A Great CEO
Brad Feld - feld.com - 2013-08-16

My experience with all of this is that it’s incredibly hard, breaks regularly at different points in the life of a company, and requires a great CEO to continually grow and learn from mistakes, adjust course based on new information, and work diligently at being honest with himself, his team, and his board about what is going on. But, if you get it right, it’s magical.

EXECUTIVE
What A CEO Does
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-08-30

A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.

EXECUTIVE
What A CEO Does (continued)
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2010-09-6

FINANCE
VP Finance vs CFO
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-10-24

I generally encourage companies to wait as long as possible to bring on a CFO. Great CFOs are few and far between. And in order to recruit one of them, you will need an interesting business and a meaty role. VP Finance talent is in larger supply and they can take you very far. Get a VP Finance onboard as soon as you can afford one. They will let you sleep at night. Get a CFO on board when you are ready to take on the world. You can’t do that without a strong one at your side.

MANAGEMENT
The Management Team - While Building Product
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-01-02

Building product is not about having a large team to manage. It is about having a small team with the right people on it. You need product, design, and software engineering skills on the team. And you need to be focused, committed, and driven. Management at this point is all about small team dynamics; everyone on board, working together, and getting stuff done. Strong individual contributors are key in this stage. Management skills are not a requirement. In fact they may even be a hindrance.

MANAGEMENT
The Management Team - While Building The Business
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-01-16

Many founders are naturally talented at building product and building the user base. But building the company comes harder to them. I once discussed this with Roelof Bothaand he made a fantastic suggestion. Founders should think of the business as yet another product they are building. It is the ultimate product they are building because from the company can come any number of additional products and any number of additional initiatives. The company, if built correctly, will be more important than any single product it can create. 

MANAGEMENT
The Management Team - While Building Usage
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2012-01-09

So you’ve built and launched your product. It is well received. You’ve acheived “product market fit” and it is time to get more users or customers. You’ve graduated from the “building product” stage and have entered the “building usage” phase. What does this mean for your team?

MANAGEMENT
What A Management Team Does
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-02-09

The best management teams create cultures that people enjoy working in. And from that comes great things. I see that every day.

TECHNOLOGY
VP Engineering vs CTO
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-10-31

When a company has a strong CTO and a strong VP Engineering that trust, respect, and like each other, you have a winning formula. The CTO makes sure the technical approach is correct and the VP Engineering makes sure the team is correct. They are yin and yang.


Business: Teamwork & Communication

1-(wo)man Startups
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2013-02-15

The AngelList team is roughly organized into 1-(wo)man startups. That means we expect you to treat your project like a startup. You come up with the idea, do the design, write the code, release it, market it, support customers, collect external and internal feedback and then get to work on the next version. We also expect you to work directly with our business partners like SecondMarket, VC funds and incubators.

360 Reviews
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-04-07

I think companies as small as 10 employees can benefit from 360 reviews and I strongly recommend them to our portfolio companies. When I see a CEO or a management team resist the idea of 360 reviews, it can be a red flag to me. I like to think that everyone can and should get feedback on their performance, be open to it, and that they will certainly benefit from it.

Ask Forgiveness, Not Permission
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2013-02-11

AngelList “corporate policy” is that team members should ask forgiveness, not permission. We would rather have someone do something wrong than ask permission to do it. Or better, we would rather have someone do something right and not need permission to do it. This is the most common outcome. We would rather have people ship to production whenever they want, than go through an internal review process. We can fix it on production. We prefer the customer’s review process. And it isn’t too hard to reveal a new feature to a small portion of our users and iterate on it as we expand it to more users.

COMMUNICATION
No Email at AngelList
Babak Nivi - venturehacks.com - 2013-03-22

We use very little email at AngelList. Most of our communication happens on Yammer, HipChat, Tracker and face-to-face. This probably gets us a 90% reduction in email. If you’re running your company via email, you’re missing out on newer, more effective communications technologies.

COMMUNICATION
Nonviolent Communication
Marshall Rosenberg - en.wikipedia.org

Nonviolent Communication holds that most conflicts between individuals or groups arise from miscommunication about their human needs, due to coercive or manipulative language that aims to induce fear, guilt, shame, etc. These “violent” modes of communication, when used during a conflict, divert the attention of the participants away from clarifying their needs, their feelings, their perceptions, and their requests, thus perpetuating the conflict.


Reading the Tea Leaves of Venture Capital Today: 10 themes tech VCs are paying attention to
Boris Silver - medium.com - 2014-01-23

  1. Drones, 2. Bitcoin, 3. Wearables, 4. Big Data, 5. Crowdfunding, 6. Quantified Self, 7. 3D Printing, 8. The Internet of Things, 9. Mobile, 10. Virtual Reality

Business: Venture Capital & Investment

A Dozen Things I’ve Learned From Marc Andreessen
Tren Griffin - 25iq.com - 2014-06-14

My primary task with this blog post has been assembling the quotations and placing them in an order which flows well, since understanding the earlier topics helps the reader understand ideas which come later in the list

Pricing A Follow-On Venture Investment
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2011-08-29

The Changing Structure of the VC Industry
Mark Suster - medium.com - 2014-07-23

Cheap, mobile, social, global, always-on, one-click-purchase = Unprecedented revenue growth + companies staying private longer = More opportunities than ever in history for venture capital firms = Lots of new, non-traditional entrants moving to capture this value = Amazing opportunities + Risks + Uncertainties for the coming decade for entrepreneurs, VCs and LPs.

PRO RATA
The Pro-Rata Opportunity
Fred Wilson - web-beta.archive.org - 2014-07-24

Capturing pro-rata’ is sooooo important in early stage venture. You make 20 investments in a fund. One is going to return the entire fund. Two more are going to return it again. A few more are going to have strong outcomes and return it again. The rest are noise when it comes to fund returns (but you better not treat them like noise).