Category: On Startups

Let’s bury the hussle

I love Gary Vaynerchuk dearly. So much of his message about patience and perseverance is completely in line with how I view the world. But I can’t take any more odes to “the hustle”. Like most banners, it either dies in obscurity or lives long enough to become perverted. In the early days, I chose to interpret “the hustle” as a way for those with very little to outsmart those with a lot through clever steps. Finding leverage where you had none. Doing things that weren’t supposed to scale or even work, and making it happen. But even if my

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Before You Launch A Startup, Learn This

Nathan Kontny: My 2011 startup with Y Combinator imploded, largely because we couldn’t get enough traction. What was I going to do next? And more importantly, how was I going to avoid repeating my mistakes? [..] It’s happened for me. I went from that miserable failure of a startup to realizing I needed to get better at audience building before my next venture. And so I practiced my craft of writing and storytelling on my blog. One article a week. Tell a good story. Me or someone else figuring out some problem through some conflict. My audience grew. Source: https://m.signalvnoise.com/my-2011-startup-with-y-combinator-imploded-largely-because-we-couldnt-get-enough-traction-d900976d7bbc

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How To Build A More Candid Think Tank Culture At Work

When was the last time you got completely unfiltered feedback? Do you dread presenting your big projects to your team because you fear their harsh critique? With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that so many people choose to play it safe rather than to take a risk. The problem is, playing it safe leads to work that’s average at best. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Research into feedback abounds, and countless companies are stepping forward to share what works for them. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar and the author of Creativity, Inc., introduced the concept

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Excuses, excuses

Claire Lew: I was on the phone with a CEO the other week. He wanted my advice for how he could cultivate a more open, transparent company culture for his team. This CEO seemed to be already doing a lot of the right things. He held monthly all-hands meetings to get everyone on the same page. He also regularly asked questions to his employees about what could be better in the company. However, when I recommended one question that he ask his employees, he was a bit taken aback. “You want me to ask my team: ‘Are there any benefits

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Cracking the Code on Startup Product Pricing Strategies

If idea validation is about taking your business idea for a test-drive, then pricing your product is where the rubber really hits the road. This is it. You’re done piloting. You’re done validating. You’re really done living on Ramen in an apartment you share with five roommates. You’re ready to come out and tell the world: “I have a product or service that provides value – and this is how much my product is worth.” Needless to say, product pricing strategy is an essential piece of the startup puzzle – and it’s a notoriously tricky piece to get right. There

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Write like you talk

Nathan Kontny: A handful of years ago I was volunteering for an organization here in Chicago where we helped high school kids prepare for their college applications. These kids were the first in their families, often underprivileged, to be applying to college. One Saturday I met a student who wanted help editing his application essay. We went over to the computer lab and he pulled up a draft he’s been struggling with. The essay was fine. It read grammatically well. But it was terrible. It was dry and uninteresting. Artificial intelligence could have probably auto-generated it from a history of

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FreshBooks’ Mike McDerment says “building your own competitor” is effective way to solve business problems

Amira Zubairi, writing for BetaKit: At the latest FinTechTO, Mike McDerment, CEO and co-founder of FreshBooks, discussed the challenges teams face when re-platforming within a software company. He also offered tips on how entrepreneurs can successfully execute a redesign. McDerment kicked off his presentation by giving an overview of how he co-founded FreshBooks, a cloud-based accounting platform that allows users to send invoices, track time, manage receipts, expenses, and accept credit cards. McDerment said after raising a $30 million funding round back in July 2014, he began to think about how the company would keep up with technological changes over

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Jason Fried on One Door at a Time

Entrepreneurs are told to go big or go home. Stop obsessing over scale, and perfect the basics instead. [..] But now, entrepreneurship seems like a sport. And the score depends on scale. How big can you get? How fast can you get big? How much power can you amass in the shortest possible time? We’ve prided ourselves on staying mostly small, it lets us focus on things that might fall through the cracks other wise. Source: https://m.signalvnoise.com/one-door-at-a-time-d73d4385eb16?source=linkShare-92d0691b20d7-1500736062

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Building the Best Relationships We Can

Alison Groves: Maslow had it wrong. To get it right, we have to move social needs to the bottom of his pyramid. -Matthew Lieberman (Professor of Social Cognitive Neuroscience at UCLA and author of the book Social) Babies would die without their caregivers at birth. Study after study show the pain and ill we go through when we are isolated from others like us. As humans, we are wired to connect to one another. However, instead of connecting, we seem to be heading the opposite direction. On the streets and in restaurants people are looking at their phones instead of

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