Category Archives: Business Building

Faking It – Startup Traction Optimization

startup tractionAs we look at signals of private company health for our work at CB Insights, I’ve noticed a very small but vocal segment of startups who try to use social media channels to pretend like they have traction.

They talk about growth, success, customers and hiring incessantly to create a false picture of progress and traction. Their idea, I assume, is to use these channels to signal to customers, investors and prospective hires they are doing well.

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Who the F would do that?

change the worldI was reading about Twitch and it’s potential mega-acquisition by Google recently and also heard about a subscription ecommerce venture focused on women which was just putting up insane numbers.

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Through one lens, CB Insights is a media company?

media vs dataLast night I spoke briefly at an event at the NY Times about media and alternative forms of monetization of media. Amol Sarva was nice enough to invite me (thanks to Rafat Ali who introduced us)

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TD Bank’s ingenius low customer acquisition cost trick

TD BankI go to lots of kids things on the weekends.  We went to a little jazz festival in Bogardus Park in Tribeca over the weekend and TD Bank had a little booth there.  A few weeks ago, we were at a chess tournament and TD Bank was there. They’re doing a full court press on the parent set.  In startup terms, they’re going “hyperlocal”.

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Being Human and Other Things That Have Helped our Newsletter Grow by 100%

100% growthWe just climbed past 27,400 subscribers to the CB Insights newsletter.

One year ago (May 2013), we had 14,100 subscribers so by the end of this month, we will have more than doubled our subscriber base.  Our goal is to be at 60,000 by year end which means more than 100% growth in the next 7.5 months.

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Announcing My New Startup

my new startupWhen I was at the NSF conference earlier this week, I met with our program manager and when he asked how things are going at CB Insights, I told him “We’re chugging along.”

He laughed and said that we seem to be doing pretty well – more than chugging along.  And we talked a bit about how big the plan and opportunity is for what we’re doing and that we’re still extremely extremely early days.

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2014 Goal: Become Useless

building businessOne of the first books I ever read on business talked about what makes a business valuable. I don’t remember the name of the book, but it was written in simple, clear, accessible language and I remember one line from it clearly:

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Information does not want to be free

information wants to be freePart of me dies every time I hear this.  I’m not sure information “wants” to be free.  But I know there are many who like the idealistic sound of this and want it to be free.

And so when an article appeared on Hacker News recently about web scraping and ethics, a comment by Chuck McManis really resonated (emphasis mine).

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A Watsi Mother’s Day

WatsiI got alerted to the ability that you could donate to Watsi in honor of your mom for Mother’s Day by a tweet by Alex and loved the idea as simply put, I love Watsi.

So my 4 year old daughter and I sat down for 30 minutes and browsed through the patient stories, and I let her pick who we should help.

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The Distance – I like this idea (not the first article)

long-term business thinkingSo Alex recently alerted me to a new publication called The Distance which is “dedicated to telling the stories of long-lasting businesses. Each month, we will publish a story about a privately held company that has been operating for at least 25 years.”

I love this idea.

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