June 24, 2009

Techstars: One Pitfall to Avoid

Techstars:  One Pitfall to Avoid George and I met with our Techstars “mentee” companies again yesterday.  As was the case with the last meetings, the sessions were energizing and fun and great to see new companies unfolding. One lesson I was reminded of yesterday with both companies is a timeless one, since at least the beginning of the commercial internet: Don’t create a “solution looking for a problem” I call this the Pointcast problem, after the mid-90s service that pulled headlines into screensavers and clogged corporate networks until the fad passed.  One of the companies we’re working with has this challenge looming in front of them.  They have a very cool concept and technology.  It’s clear that it solves some problems, but there are many possible problems it solves, for many different people. The key to get past this hurdle in the development of a business is to force yourself to articulate one or more very clear, crisp definitions of “it solves THIS problem for THIS person who is willing to pay THIS amount of money to have the problem solved.”  Even if you end up with two or three of these statements to then go concept test in the […]

October 22, 2008

Managing in a Downturn

Managing in a Downturn I spoke at a NextNY event last night along with several others, including fellow entrepreneur David Kidder from Clickable and angel investor Roger Enhrenberg about this fine topic (Roger wrote a great post on it here) and thought I’d share a few of the key points made by all of us for anyone trying to figure out what to do tactically now that Sequoia has told us to be afraid, very afraid. Hope is Not a Strategy:  Your business is not immune. It will do what everyone else’s will. Struggle to hit its numbers. Struggle to […]