Archive for the ‘startup tips’ Category

Top 5 ways to increase productivity in your startup

There are a lot of interesting ideas in the blogosphere for this – here’s an assimilation of the top 5 that have worked for us:

1) Check email only twice a day at set times say 11 am and 4 pm. Close your email client at other times and turn off all email notifications. Have a set time you spend on email – say 30 min each time and encourage people to call you if they need something urgent.

2) Reduce meetings – only hold meetings when absolutely necessary. Meetings take people away from their thought process and make it more difficult for people to come back to it.

3) Don’t keep a schedule – from Marc Andreessen’s excellent post on productivity. work on whatever is most important or most interesting, at any time. Want to spend all day writing a research report? Do it! Want to spend all day coding? Do it! Read this post for sure.

4) Take out all the small things that pull away your time. Read this post for 50 ways to increase productivity for quite a few good ideas on how to save time from small things.

5) Use some of these free applications to help you increase your productivity. Note: we don’t advocate all of them, use them and see how they work for you.

There you go … start now.

Top 5 Web 2.0 startup pitfalls

1) A site that totally dependent on user data to succeed – Most sites die because they get no user adoption. However, user adoption is dependent on other users being present and creating enough content for it to be useful for new users to join. It’s kind of a Catch-22 that you need users to get other users but the initial users have no reason to contribute. A good way would be to start off with something and then allow users to build on it. Spock is doing well on this model.

2) Mashups – Mashups are very popular with Web 2.0, however a lot of them may not be useful at all. They also severely limit the number of users to the people that use the services that were mashed up.

3) Unnecessary “tags” and Web 2.0 look – Some sites create unnecessary Web 2.0 like functionality because everyone else is doing it even if it does not benefit users. Also, the look and feel of the site is very Web 2.0 like and does not work for their visitor segment.

4) The same idea with a “twist” – This is the pitfall where people create just another video site or just another photo site with a “twist”. That twist is sometimes to insignificant for users to shift to this new site.

5) Solving problems for too small of a constituency – A lot of applications get great buzz from the geek community but that community is very small and the application is sometimes not designed well for non-techies to understand and use it.

Top 5 pitfalls when evaluating a startup idea

I was at a meetup last night with several new entrepreneurs that were working on their ideas. When I asked them questions on their ideas, the answers I got did not sound too satisfactory. Here are the common pitfalls when choosing an idea that may hopefully help some of you.

1) Not knowing the market size – sometimes we jump into ideas that apply to only a subsection of people. Not knowing how big the potential market for the idea is is a big problem with several entrepreneurs.

2) Are you trying to solve a problem that does not exist? – In other words, Is this a real problem ? I met a founder that was trying to solve a problem related to travel. His take was that there were a few companies that are trying but no one has really succeeded. Any my take was – is this really a problem ? Has there been enough research to determine if this is something that needs an online solution ?

3) Over-estimating what you can do yourself – I met a few people that are going at it on their own. Great for them, but there is only this far that a single person can go.

4) Not being able to present the idea in clear, concise, non-technical language – If you cannot successfully explain your idea to your mom, then you need to rehearse your speel.

5) An idea in itself is of no use at all – I met several people that had “ideas” for a startup. Everyone has ideas. Doing well is about who can execute them. The question once you have the idea would be – do you have what it takes to execute it and the flexibility to iterate as the market and your users demand ?

Here is a good post from an entrepreneur on his method to generate ideas.

Top 5 podcasts to listen to for tech startup entrepreneurs

1) – Run by Podtech and has the famous Scoble show.

2) Calacaniscast – Run by Jason Calacanis

3) Venturevoice – Run by Greg Galant

4) Stanford educator’s corner – From stanford technology ventures program

5) I’m there for you baby – Run by Neil Senturia and Barbara Bry

Top 5 SEO blogs to read and review to optimize your startup website for search engines

Make sure you go and read the archives as well.

1) – Run by SEOmoz, a Seattle SEO company led by Rand Fishkin

2) – Run by SEO expert Aaron Wall

3) – Run by SEO expert Michael Gray a.k.a Graywolf

4) – Run by Jim Boykin of “We build pages”

5) – Run by Todd Malicoat a.k.a Stuntdubl