All posts by charlesssg

Why Startups Fail and How to Build Up Interest Before the Launch

Why Startups Fail and How to Build Up Interest Before the Launch.

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Mobile payments leader must provide value to consumers and banks

Eric Dunstan

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 8.23.55 PMI remember being swept up in the early Foursquare craze. I raced around my little town checking in at my local Starbucks and favorite lunch spots to become The Mayor. I worked hard to keep it by doing drive by check ins as I was stuck at traffic lights. I know, I’m hyper competitive on certain things. Friends and I would compete on who could win the most badges too! I quickly earned the “jet setter” badge with frequent flights from SJC to SNA. Other friends won the “crunked” badge with late night shenanigans. Ahh to be a DINK again. All for what? For pure competition and Facebook feed bragging rights!

At a deeper level, I hoped that eventually I’d receive relevant geographically based alerts and rewards on my phone as I walked by a restaurant or store. Unfortunately, many of these rewards required an AMEX card subscription (creating a HUGE hurdle) or…

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Writing When You Might Be Wrong

Hunter Walk

I get asked for blogging tips a lot by other investors or entrepreneurs, most of whom aren’t writing consistently and imagine they should be. “Time” is usually the blocker that everyone identifies but when you press on what exactly that means, it’s less about nothing having a spare 30 minutes and more so about the ridiculously long time it takes them to write something. What’s the culprit behind this cumbersome burden? Not dislike of writing, not desire for perfect grammar, not even lack of topics. No, the issue is often the need to be right. To feel 100% confident in what you’re putting out there and aggrandize the post to encompass the whole history, theory and current state of some topic. Wow, what a mindfuck. My advice is to not worry so much. Instead of writing the definitive post, just pick one aspect and riff a bit. Share what you…

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a16z Podcast: Selling Tech to Everyone — Changes Everything

Andreessen Horowitz

It’s always hard to predict how a generational shift in technology will impact the wider world, especially when you are in the trenches building that new technology. It happened with the mainframe computer, mini-computer, and the PC. These were all technologies that fundamentally changed how industries functioned and culture evolved (especially the PC plus internet), and in ways that were hard to predict. With mobile and the smartphone, a16z’s Benedict Evans argues, the impact will be even greater. a16z Board Partner Steven Sinofsky joins Evans in a conversation examining the massive scale and monstrous leverage of mobile devices and the software running on them and how — unpredictably as always — this technological shift is changing the world. As Sinofsky puts it, “Mobile is everything.”

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Marketing Advice for Start-ups: Know your customer first

Eric Dunstan

An e-commerce start-up asked for my thoughts on how the company should be thinking about marketing and what could be done with almost no marketing budget to drive acquisition and purchasing activity. I had to chuckle when I was asked for this input for yet again it demonstrates where in the priority list most business people perceive marketing to be….at the bottom. Most start-ups build a product, get it up and running and have a rough idea of how it will generate money. Unfortunately, most business leaders look to marketing as the tool to help grow the business…after the product is launched.

4PsGraphicI am using the term “marketing” very loosely here. Marketing is mostly understood as all the tangibles – online, website SEO, paid search, social media, etc. Little regard is given to the core marketing principals of the 4 Ps, for example. When most people hear the words “the…

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Why Most VCs Won’t Intro You To Other VCs (Unless You Follow These Steps)

Hunter Walk

The question I get asked most often is “would Homebrew like to invest in my startup” (and we do our fair share of chasing too -> “please let us invest in your startup!”). The question I get asked second most often is “if not Homebrew, will you introduce me to some VCs who would like to invest in my startup.” There’s a reason why I won’t – because it means putting my reputation on the line for a founder I don’t really know. And in this business, reputation is very important. That said, Satya and I have made introductions on deals we looked deeply at but passed — in at least two cases these intros resulted in funding. And in many other cases we’ve pinged investors who I thought might be interested even though I didn’t look closely at the deal (usually because it was outside of our themes). What set these entrepreneurs…

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