Archive for the 'startups' Category

Let’s raise kids to be entrepreneurs

November 7, 2010
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Interesting Scott Painter interview – founder of my old company CarsDirect.com

September 3, 2010

For my fellow Internet Brands/CarsDirect.com friends, this is an interesting interview of Scott Painter.  The CarsDirect history starts about 16 minutes into the video.

Software Industry Attitudes in Portland – Thoughts on the PDC Study

May 5, 2010

The PDC just released the results of its software industry survey.  Here is the full presentation.  The survey is a good start, but ultimately generates more questions than answers.  Many observations are made.  By far the biggest one is that software companies in Portland are very, very small.  This fact actually skews several of the other findings.

That Portland’s software companies are small, is not a surprise.  Far from it.  Those of us who deal with local tech companies (outside of the more traditional world of chips, screens and such) directly know this.  Seeing the data, however, really makes it sink in.

A full 49% of responding companies have less than 25 employees.  On the other end of the scale, only 9% have more than 500 employees.  Size matters.  Arguably, several other findings in the study are directly related. Read the rest of this entry »

Portland Startup Observations Through the SplashCast Lens

March 27, 2010

I agreed to participate on an Oregon Entrepreneurs Network panel discussing the demise of my old company, SplashCast (SplashCast – What Happened?).  This morning I received a reminder email and thought that I should do a bit of prep work. As my homework I created an advice list (of sorts) for entrepreneurs in Portland. 

Here’s my list. It’s a bit loose and in no particular order.

1. In Portland, bootstrapping should be considered financing option #1. When it comes to financing your company, consider bootstrapping options first.  Very simply, it remains quite difficult to raise money in Portland (relative to Seattle, Bay Area and LA).  There has been a lot of discussion about the reasons (which gets a bit tiresome).  The reality is that it’s relatively more difficult here.

Bootstrapping usually means moving more slowly, but raising money takes tons of time and focus too.  Furthermore, the cost of launching a new product continues to decrease.  in 2010, a very small team can do a lot. Read the rest of this entry »

Crash Course: How to Build a Company

March 5, 2010

Five part video series by VC Jason Mendelson.  Well worth watching.

Summary points:

Potential Antitrust Issues with TV Everywhere

January 4, 2010

A collection of public interest groups have complained to federal regulators that the cable industry’s “TV Everywhere” plans violate antitrust law. See article in the Washington Post here. In essence, the TV Everywhere approach forces an Internet TV bundle. The programming is only available to subscribers of traditional cable. Ultimately, a settlement allowing consumers to purchase an Internet only programming bundle (i.e., drop the cable requirement) would be very interesting. I think that it’s fair to say that the cable providers will fight the unbundled approach given the need to protect the legacy business.

I want my Internet TV.

My first visit to the “Hulu of music videos” Vevo.com was less than impressive

December 10, 2009

I’ll check back later…

Foursquare and Political Corruption

December 2, 2009

I’ve been playing around with Fourquare (the location based social network).  It’s certainly fun.  The really interesting thing is the potential for local advertising.  Apparently, Foursquare is receiving tons of requests from local businesses (e.g., coffee shops, restaurants, etc.).

As I was “checking in” at Cafe’ Umbria, I received a special notice for Sahagun Chocolates (see screenshot below).  The Mayor (person who has checked in the most) receives a sundrop or americano drink when checking in).

I decided to drop by.  The owner confirmed that the Mayor (Jen, of the great food blog UnderTheTableWithJen) receives a free drink every time she checks in.

(Interestingly, Sahagun isn’t paying anything to advertise on Foursquare. The owner called and they “set it all up for her.”)

This type advertisement/offer is a little odd, of course given that it is only available to the Mayor.  An offer like this creates a strange incentive to simply check in each day (you don’t need to actually go to the store).  The Mayor, in this scenario, becomes permanent.  Do we need term limits? 🙂

Ultimately, when real world offers become associated with the competitive process baked into Foursquare, the incentive to cheat starts to become a factor.  Currently, in most cases, being Mayor of a location is simply fun (who really cares?).  Better offers might simply provide a first time customer discount (e.g., a free chocolate when you check in your first time).

Note (12/3): Since writing this, I’ve noticed a few other local merchant offers that make a bit more sense (e.g., discount after checking in four times).   There are great possibilities here.

Cupcakes: the next economic bubble

September 9, 2009

Cupcakes are everywhere. I don’t get it.