Date archives "March 2015"

The Week in Review #12: The Secret to Big Ideas

Bill Gates is attributed to have said “Most people underestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in lifetime”. In a world where there the quest for instant gratification keeps increasing; we are robbing ourselves of our potential of what could be. All of us have the potential to create the change that we want to see in the world. Anything that we say to the contrary is our internal defensive mechanism asking us to take the easier path. The one where there will be the least resistance. It’s time that we start to look at the bigger picture and think about the mark we want to make in the world. It is never too late to begin.

The Secret to Big Ideas Everything is a remix. This article talks about how some of the biggest ideas came from the most unlikeliest of places. There are several origin stories in this article I read for the first time that fascinated me. The key piece of insight from the article is that instead of searching for the next original idea look at the products we already have and repurpose them for something else.

Fascinating Early Posts From Tech Founders Who Changed The World When we read about the companies that changed the world like Amazon, Ebay and Paypal; we often forget that once upon time they were small businesses trying to make it in the world. Reading these emails was inspiring to see what one can accomplish with perseverance and focus.

The 15 Second Rule Pitching is a key skill every entrepreneur needs to be great at. This post walks through the process of how one startup got coaching from some of the best presenters in the world and transformed their pitch. Several great takeaways for founders who are wanting to improve their pitching skills.

Why Louis CK Turned Down $500,000 and Invested in Himself Having the courage to believe in yourself and chart your own path is rare. Several people believe they have the ability to do so. However when it comes time to take that leap, very few are able to. This is a great story about one of the best comedians of our times and how he had the courage to take that leap.

How To Know if Your Cofounder Will Quit on You Cofounders is a topic a fascinates me. This article talks through the eventual breakup of a partnership and the key lessons learned. The main take away is that while starting a company is easy, we have to be doing it for the right reasons. When we do not clarify internally what we truly want, that is when communication eventually breaks down and problems start to occur.

This is How Coursera Competes Against Google and Facebook for the Best TalentRecruiting top talent for a startup is very challenging. If we have any chance of succeeding in attracting top tier talent to work with us we need a process. This article covers extensively the steps you need to put into place in order to do that.

Hustle and getting hired by a startup How do I get hired by a startup when I do not have technical skills? This is a question that I get a lot as well. I share the same sentiments with the author, if you really want the job; you have to be willing to provide value and earn it. The same goes with just about anything that you want to achieve, there will always be many obstacles and excuses; the difference is what you do about it.

The angel trap The world seems to be awash with angel investors these days. The startup euphoria has made the most conservative of investors look into this investment class. The problem is, most inexperienced angels do not have reference points to benchmark performance of this class. This post takes us through the thought process of an experienced angel and how he walks through the investment process.

The surprising secret about SMEs’ Churn If you lose customers as quickly or faster you gain them, eventually you will have to shut down your business. Customer churn is a very important metric that startups need to get better at tracking and rectifying. If the cost to acquire a customer is exceeding the total value that they provide, stop everything and re-evaluate. This article talks through this principle in great detail.

The Week in Review #11: Rules of Business

The internet is a magical place. It provides us the ability to read, listen and speak to the people that matter in our life. These people may or may not know that we exist, however their words and thoughts leave a lasting impact on our lives. The article highlighted in this weekly edition comes from the founder of a company called Slack. He has an amazing back story, one which I will probably profile in the coming months. This week he published an insightful article on the rules of business, which made me think about the bigger picture. It helps us break away from the daily grind and reflect on why and how we do the things we do.

Rules of Business This isn’t the ordinary list of the 5 things that lead to success. This list forces you to take into account why you do what you do and the amount of pride and effort you take in your work. In a world filled with mediocrity, it challenges you to take account into the bigger picture.

The big mistake nearly every designer makes. We live in a world where we find ourselves always wishing for more time. In a blink the week passes us by and we find ourselves wondering where it went. This post talks about how to take control of your schedule and manage your time with greater effectiveness. It was a great read and listed some interesting products you could use to assist you along the way.

Failure Isn’t the Death of an Idea — It’s the Birth of a New Theory This post talks about three specific cases where the founders of the company pivoted from their original idea to one that became a billion dollar business. It has many great takeaways for founders who have yet to find their stride and steps they can take correct course.

Customer Lifetime Value: Evergreen Business How much does it cost you to acquire a customer? The one question that every entrepreneur ought to know, but rarely does. This post provides an end to end summary of everything you need to know on the subject. It also have some very valuable suggested readings that provided additional context.

5 Things We Learned Analyzing 100 Million+ Emails Email continues to be the highest converting channel for people and companies who sell online. Understanding how to build a list and write effective emails is a skill every entrepreneur should have. This article takes a look at what makes a good email and what you can do to improve your current skills.

What Four Steps Make You The Exception To The Rule James Altucher does it again with a great post on breaking free from the chains of mediocrity. Here’s the Rule: born, school for 12 years, college, grad school, job, sowing oats, marriage, kids, promotions, luxuries, retirement, death. Here’s the Fact: the Rule never happens. Enjoy the post.

Seven things I learned in venture It is always refreshing someone to hear from the perspective of a venture capitalist who has become an entrepreneur and vice versa. When you have been on both sides of the table it gives you greater clarity on what each side is looking for. When you understand your customer, selling something to them becomes infinitely easier.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #10: Building an Amazing Team

I stumbled upon the Podcast called Startup by Alex Blumberg this week and it was fantastic. Anyone who wants an inside view of what the founding of a startup is all about you should definitely download it. I switched up my spotify playlists for podcasts at the start of the year and it was one of the best decisions I made. Some of my favorite currently are The James Altucher Show and Tim Ferris’s Show. Both are highly recommended.

5 Tips on Building an Amazing Team Everyone talks about the importance of building an amazing team, however few realize the amount of work it takes to build them. This post gets readers to start thinking about the problem on the right foot. The hope is that startup founders put this as a priority and lay the necessary groundwork to make it happen.

To be a great leader, rethink your default behaviors I enjoyed this post about the default behaviors that each of us develop when we are in leadership positions. There are some common archetype that we all look up to and follow blindly. Sometimes we do not realize the impact our words and attitudes have on the people around us. What may seem to be a trivial comment in our mind, could have a major impact on the person receiving it.

We inspire smart people and trust them Transferwise has experienced exponential growth in the last 12-18 months. It is during these times that the quality bar of your hiring is severely tested. This post talks about some of the methods they use to keep that bar high and what results in high performance throughout the company.

A Billion-Dollar Company’s First Marketer Reflects Back Blog posts which get a critical player in a company to replay the key aspects of what turned a single idea into a massive company are very interesting to read. This post is about a company which I really admire, Hubspot. It is not only led by exceptionally smart individuals, they have managed to grow a company while keeping their culture intact. There are some great takeaways in this article from the journey.

New Relic’s Growth Playbook from Startup to IPO Another similar post to the one above. This one is however posted on the Growth Hackers website which is a great place to get news related to marketing and growth strategies. Highly recommend adding them to your reader list.

Capturing and Scaling Startup Values Determining the values that hold your startup together are a critical to a companies success. This is a very detailed post on how one company went about this process and their learnings along the way. Lots of great insights and recommended reading links.

The Two Most Important Questions to Ask at the Start of Your Startup These two questions have to do with the vision behind your company and how clearly you can describe it. In an era where short term thinking is driving incremental innovation, we need to start looking at the bigger picture and making bold bets rather than those that do not change the status quo.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #9: From Dead-End Job to Uber Billionaire

I picked up a pretty awesome book this weekend after reading through Ryan Holidays’ book “The Obstacle is the way“, it was Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far and would definitely recommend it, especially to entrepreneurs reading this blog. The article of the week was an old one which resurfaced this week about the co-founder of Uber and how he hustled his way to join the company in it’s early days.

From Dead-End Job to Uber Billionaire: Meet Ryan Graves The biggest takeaway is that we have to choose ourselves if we want to truly want to live our life. We do this by using our skills to solve large problems that exist in the world today. It is at that intersection that we will find out purpose and true calling.

Ways to think about market size Great article on how think about the size of the market your business is planning to operate in. The best quote from the article was “Everyone likes to quotes the Wayne Gretzy line that he was skating to where the puck was going to be, not where it was, but Apple and Google didn’t do that – they changed what the game was.”

The Most Important Equations in Business (Part 1): Customer Acquisition How much does it cost a business to acquire a customer and how much money does the business make on that customer; these are the two questions that drive your business. This article goes into great length talking about these two questions with lots of great examples.

How Successful Remote Teams Evaluate Employees The concept of a physical office is slowly fading into the past. Companies are looking for ways on how to attract and recruit talent from all around the world today. This articles discusses strategies of how companies are addressing this shift.

7 Awesome Talent / Recruitment Hacks This is definitely a slightly technical post on how to recruit developers. I found these hacks to be very innovative and highlights how recruiting and sourcing is rapidly changing.

How I launched the #2 most upvoted product of all time on Product HuntProduct Hunt is one of the websites that I visit daily. It provides a dose of inspiration with all the awesome products that are launched everyday. This post provides a detailed analysis on how one founder really worked hard to get his startup to the top of the list. The big takeaway, have a clear goal, work hard and good things will happen.

What’s your GMT – The next goal, milestone and task? In a world where we are drowning in todo lists and a never ending stream of decisions to make, this article talks about a great framework to make sense of it all. By focusing our efforts on the clear next steps, we reduce noise and increase our ability to focus & get things done.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

The Week in Review #8: Secret Core of Every Business

This week’s top article was a series I came across on medium where the author does a great job of collecting a host of the best links about a certain topic and then puts together a thorough article. Highly recommend checking out the other articles he has written in the past as well.

The Secret Core of Every Successful Business: Distribution Many businesses end up building a product or successfully setting up the ability to provide a service. However the reason the vast majority of them fail is their inability to find and reach customers efficiently. This article provides a wealth of information on how to create distribution channels and reach your customers.

Leading without Coding In an era where software is eating the world, non-technical founders have to step up their game. This article written by a successful startup founder provides 6 great insights of how a non-technical founder can lead a technology company. From learning the lingo to ensuring that key hiring and management processes are put into place.

The Three Dimensions Of Content Marketing Strategy For Startups When we think of a companies content strategy, one may limit it to blogging or the creation of marketing material. This processes breaks it down into 3 core dimensions that every company needs to focus on. These include being sensitive to different target segments, looking through all your content touch points as well determining the lifecycle stage of the customer.

The False Market Fit It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know what a customer wants, without validating the idea with them first. I have made that mistake before and it is definitely a very painful one. Customer validation is by far one of the most important aspects of starting a business. By making something that people want we are giving ourselves a better shot of building a business with legs. It sounds simple, yet day in and day out businesses all over the world are started on invalid assumptions.

The Chaos Theory Of Startups Running a startup requires an individual to be able to handle a high degree of chaos. If you are solely focused on outcomes and not the process, you are setting yourself up for a high probability of failure. Only through a purpose are we able to cut through all the noise and make decisions that will enable us to make sense of it all.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Secrets to Raising Venture Capital (Presentation)This is a great presentation on Software as a Service startups and the process of how to successfully raise money for them.

4 Entrepreneurial Strategies For Getting The Most Out of a New City With startup hubs sprouting up all over the world, many people are relocating to these cities to have the opportunity to join or start one. The process of building your network in a new city and especially getting connected to the startup ecosystem requires a considerable amount of work. This article points out 4 methods that you can use to get connected much faster.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!