Famous teacher or good teacher

Years ago, when I was at Columbia, I heard about an interesting-sounding course taught by a Nobel Laureate. Competition to get in the course was tough so I decided to sit in on a class first (always a good idea). What I found astonished me. The class was half full with most of the attending […]

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Random factoid about Cluetrain Manifesto and URL longevity

Here’s something I put together while on hold on the phone. Everyone remember “The Cluetrain Manifesto”? I came across a copy of the book a couple days ago, full of references to “electronic mail.” After the 12 years or so the book has been out I wondered what the longevity was of the URLs they […]

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Are the TechStars Results accurate?

Are the TechStars Results accurate?

I have total respect for TechStars and what I know about it tells me it’s a great program. So when I recently saw TechStars’ results page with a 80% success rate I had to learn more. I’m always very interested in “success/failure” at startups so I looked through their list of previous classes, going back […]

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Chief concerns of new round of student participants

Chief concerns of new round of student participants

I just started a new Startups Unplugged group for Columbia students (undergrad and MBA) and recent grads. I was psyched that so many people signed up. There were 25 people in the first session, each of which had submitted information about their startups or concepts beforehand.  Here’s the breakdown of the chief concerns of this group (more than […]

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Steve Blank quote

Steve Blank quote from GigaOm video interview: “I did this at SXSW. I said ‘There are 500 people in this room. The good news is, in ten years, there’s two of you who are going to make $100 Million dollars. The rest of you, you might as well have been working at Wal-Mart for how […]

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How fast can you move when you’re f’d up?

This tale was told to me by a founder of a startup that is no more.   Like many startups these days, X planned to improve their signup rate through site design. Along the way to designing their site, they got ready to A/B test various versions of content, visuals and the signup process itself. […]

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Where are they now

Where are they now

The first TechCrunch Disrupt conference I went to was in NYC, May 2010. Here’s how the 20 companies that TechCrunch selected for the Startup Battlefield are doing (as of October 2011). Many of them seem to still be quite small in terms of usage, though most of these numbers are not public. One public statistic […]

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Some things that will help you learn how to improve your startup

Some things that will help you learn how to improve your startup

Recently, a couple people in the Startups Unplugged class asked me to take a more formal descriptive approach and talk about the general principles that help you learn how to improve your startup. I’m including some personal experiences from when I was building my startup Chatfe (these are mostly examples of things that didn’t go […]

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Selling Shovels in the New Gold Rush

Back during the 1849 California Gold Rush, few prospectors struck it rich. Most of the people who made money back then were those who “sold shovels” or provided other services to the same miners who traveled far to live hard lives panning for gold. Is it any different today? In the Gold Rush that is […]

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Are pitch events eating your brain?

Startup pitch events are an important way to hear about other businesses and learn how to talk about your work, but many events could be improved by a little preparation. Too many events have judges who haven’t taken the time to learn about the startups they are judging. This could be because the organizer didn’t […]

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