Trite Startup Advice

bad startup adviceWith the plethora of unqualified people giving advice on startups and technology, I wanted to keep a running list of banal, useless startup advice I see.

I hope to add to this going forward, but if you see/hear any others, definitely let me know in the comments.

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25,000 Subscribers on Our Newsletter

CB Insights newsletter sizeI wrote about this in our newsletter that went out yesterday.  Yes – a writeup about our newsletter in our newsletter. Forgive the meta’ness.

While we’ve made numerous mistakes on the path to building CB Insights, our newsletter was not one of them.

This past week, we crossed 25,000 subscribers. And we’re adding 200-350 new subscribers each week! As it tends to get forwarded around a fair amount, we estimate our 3x per week newsletter reaches upto about 150k inboxes per week.

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The Internet Was Made for Watsi. Now, Where Else Can the Watsi Model Be Applied?

watsi is awesomeMy favorite startup idea of probably all time is Watsi.  Here’s what they do:

Watsi is a global crowdfunding platform for healthcare that enables anyone to donate as little as $5 to directly fund life-changing medical care for people in need. 

It allows you to crowdfund the healthcare needs of people who need life-saving treatments but who cannot afford them.  Folks like Joseph who needs treatment to remove a superficial mass from his back.

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SaaS Advice & Education

SaaS startup adviceWhile there is a ton of very bad startup advice out there, there are also a few very good providers of wisdom and tactical advice.  But it’s a bear to get through it and find these folks.

And so I thought I’d take a stab at this with a square focus on something near and dear to my heart – SaaS.

I’m hoping to keep this updated over time (we’ll see how that goes) based on other sources I find or based on feedback from others on sources I’ve missed.  So please do let me know.

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I Wouldn’t Hire a Fat Personal Trainer – The Burgeoning Business of Bad Startup Advice

bad startup advice

A few years ago when CB Insights was the size of a pimple, I got asked by a couple of accelerator programs to be one of the mentors to their class of companies.

I was flattered.

I also had no business being a mentor.

I didn’t know shit about how to build a business a few years ago.  (still figuring it out today but not as dumb as I was a few years ago)

But at the time, I had no business in being a mentor to anyone.

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TMZ – Here We Come

We’ve been a pretty behind-the-scenes type of company and gang at CB Insights. Do  good work, build good isht and take care of customers and stuff seems to work out.  But it was nice to get a call from a Crains’ reporter, Judy Messina, recently about doing an article about CB Insights.  Judy has been using our data for stories for a while and one day she asked “Things seem to be going well for you guys, right?” and thus began our dialogue.

The article is here and in my insanely biased opinion, it’s pretty awesome from the headline on down.  But the headline is too good not to repeat.

CB Insights grows the old-fashioned way: No bravado, no venture capital money, no ball pits; It’s all business at the data firm.

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Girls Don’t Eat Meat – A Lesson in Pattern Matching

venture capital pattern matchingAll of the women in our family are vegetarian. Some of them have been forever and some just became vegetarians over time.

On the other hand, the guys are not.

So recently, when out at a restaurant with my 4-year old daughter and her friends (who are girls), she reprimanded one of them who she saw eating chicken saying the following:

Girls don’t eat meat.  Don’t you know? Only boys eat meat.

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My Favorite Startup Joke

crowded bar in Silicon Valley

A million people walk into a Silicon Valley bar. None of them buys anything. The bar is declared a rousing success.

That’s all.

Build for the long-term: The Michael Bloomberg school of company building – why is this not fashionable?

Michael Bloomberg entrepreneurPer Wikipedia, Michael Bloomberg started the firm that bears his name in 1981 and was CEO and Chairman for 20 years.  He remains a majority shareholder (88%) and is estimated to have a net worth of $31 billion.

A lot of the talk about company building these days seems to be all about the quick flip, the exit, creating a veneer of momentum even if real momentum isn’t there.

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Screwing Up While Building A Culture of Nice

screwing up cultureThe good news is CB Insights is growing really fast these days. The result of this is I find myself spending more and more of my time on human resources (HR) — I’d say probably 30-40% of my time.

HR isn’t just recruiting, interviewing and talking to prospective candidates.  It also includes more conversations with the existing team about career planning, goals, feedback about what I can do better, feedback to them, etc.

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