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Thursday, 17 March 2011 04:39

The (Unfortunate) Tale Of Two Twitters

Written by Dave Walters
In my last post, I opened the topic of how Twitter has set-off on a course to threaten their community in favor of finding revenue streams. I’ve seen a few people starting to write about this – most notably Mike Loukides’ great opinion piece at O’Reilly and Ryan Kim’s numbers-driven take at GigaOM. Between the two, they hit many of the salient points, of which I’ll only echo a few later on.   The strangest thing about all this developer controversy is it’s playing out at exactly the same time as the original founder Jack Dorsey is celebrating the fifth anniversary of being green-lighted to build Twitter. Jack is now dedicating his blog to the IM-by-IM story of the first moments of Twitter. (I selfishly wish he’d turn on an RSS function so I get the posts immediately in MacMail.) It’s the kind of inside story I absolutely love because…
I've been thinking about a post on how to focus your early stage startup, and some Twitter conversations of-late have pushed me into writing mode. Too often I hear a wide range of entrepreneurs and advisors spewing falsehoods, which not coincidentally end up to be the same potholes many early-stage founders fall into. I also see a lot of ideas that have been ‘on paper’ for more than six months – read: not built. So here goes the first post exclusively for my all-new personal blog. I won't promise more frequency, but look for a bit less varnish on things now... Business Plans Rock The first fallacy is that you need a traditional business plan. If you have 40-50 hours over a two-week period to dedicate to writing a business plan, you should be a market analyst at a big company -- not an entrepreneur. The idea should be burning…
While every entrepreneur is an individual, it’s a solid generalization to say we all thrive on turning chaos into an opportunity. It’s an instinct that is seldom limited to solving one problem. Some like to call this serial and parallel entrepreneurism, others prefer side projects. The funny thing is this crazy, plate-spinning lifestyle is not only self-imposed, it’s the method behind the madness of evolving a set of radical ideas into a great company. But once you reach the moment of true potential (I endorse using Paul Freet’s “dimmer switch” first), it’s time to take a leap of faith, chart the course and burn the ships when you reach shore. As I see it, every startup eventually needs your total focus and commitment to succeed. For us, the time is now and our new company is called Flipcha. Many of our regular readers heard about our stealth startup last fall,…
Wednesday, 02 February 2011 13:54

The Founder’s Choice: Paul Graham For President

Written by Dave Walters
If you have anything to do with startup funding, the Yuri Milner/SV Angel announcement over the weekend to invest $150K on spec in every current YCombinator startup (43 in all) was a neutron bomb – and perhaps the biggest endorsement of YC founder Paul Graham to-date. The no-strings-attached convertible note was quickly snapped up by virtually every participating startup as fast as the analysis started rolling in from the blogosphere. To begin with, the variance of reaction across the startup ecosystem has been fun to watch. Some think it’s a masterstroke of genius, while others rumble about ‘dumb money’ following ‘dumb money’.  If you haven’t read Jason Calacanis’ Top 10 anonymous survey (and associated commentary) of angel reactions, it’s worth checking out right now. It delivers some great insider, nuanced points on the topic but also illuminates some haters. My theory is an individual (or firm) reaction is directly inverse…
My tweet stream was ablaze yesterday with incessant links to the ends-of-days-ish Amazon offer over at LivingSocial. Sure a 50% off coupon for anything at Amazon is a big deal, but I was impressed by LivingSocial’s ability to replicate the Groupon/Gap frenzy of last year – to the tune of more than $20M in top-line sales according to the TechCrunch kids. And this wasn’t just the tech press driving page views – an insanely diverse set of people I follow (and who rarely promo any kind of deal) couldn’t help themselves. But among all this hype and commerce was a single voice that hit a weird note for me: Martin Tobias, who is the CEO of competing daily deal site Tippr.   Early in the day I saw a small media blip about him describing how LivingSocial had a client-side validation bug that would allow a buyer to hack the…
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