Posts Tagged ‘Mark Suster’

Wise Entrepreneurship Counsel

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

“If you know what your customers need, deliver against that promise and provide a product or services that has economic value you’ll do well. Double-down on great people, process & IP.”

-Mark Suster in his blog post “In a Strong Wind Even Turkeys Can Fly

Disqus New Analytics Features and the Future of Connected Communities Needs Fast Profile Switching

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

I’m still pondering this post done by Fred Wilson (a VC I read) about some new Disqus features. The post includes an interesting feature which shows you the sites that users of your site also visit. I must admit that it’s a really interesting feature and as a data loving blogger, I think that’s really interesting.

The challenge I have comes in the next part where Fred talks about his view forward with this type of technology. Basically, it’s the idea of connecting communities where the audience is similar. He uses the simple example of a hot topic on Suster’s blog (another VC I read) being promoted on Fred’s blog. Sure, this sounds great, and I imagine many would opt in to a feature like this. I would like to know about other good VC and internet startup related posts on other blogs.

The problem is when this feature goes bad and creates a poor user experience. What if Techcrunch adds it to the site and its readers are also commenting over on some porn site? Ok, maybe that’s a good experience for many of your readers since they’re visiting that site anyway. However, that could definitely turn off the other portion of your readers who don’t like that site that really isn’t related to the topic at hand. Plus, as a blogger, I don’t want to know that all my readers are visiting that type of site and I certainly wouldn’t want to promote it.

You could look at a simpler example. What if ESPN news started showing up on your tech blog just because a lot of tech people have been visiting ESPN? That’s not terrible, but it’s not the best user experience and I bet many bloggers wouldn’t like it.

The point here is that we all have different online profiles. Here’s a simple sample of my online profiles that I might want to use across the internet:
-Internet Startup Profile
-Electronic Medical Record Profile
-TV Blog Profile
-Sports Fundraising Profile
-Organization Fundraising Profile
-Personal and Family Profile
-BYU Sports Profile
-Other Sports Profile
-My Technology profile

I could keep going. The point is that just because we’re commenting on a website doesn’t mean that Disqus knows which profile I’m using to comment on that site. Of course, this is why I’ve argued that Disqus needs to create a fast profile switching feature. I never log in to Disqus when I comment, because I’d just have to log out the next time I comment and log back in as a different profile. It’s just easier for me to stay logged out and write in all the data myself (which is a pain).

Fast profile switching by Disqus would help me maintain my various internet profiles and then the data that they provide to sites wouldn’t be tainted with my other profiles. Even Google’s come around on the fact of supporting multiple profiles. Disqus and other online sites (I’m looking at you WordPress.com) should too!

My Own TechStars or Ycombinator Like Summer

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I was recently watching some of the videos that they created for the end of TechStars Boulder that were posted on Brad Feld’s blog. As I watched the various founders on the videos, I came to an interesting realization. My summer had been very similar to there summer. I basically created my own little TechStars summer and built a company just like them.

I started out on April 1st when I quit my day job to work on Giving Sports and Giving Square full time. It was a big move for me, but very exciting. Similar to TechStars or Ycombinator, my goal was to relatively quickly (months) create a website and launch it. August 3rd I officially launched Giving Sports achieving that part of the goal. Woot!

Now I’m just entering the second stage of the process where I start building up the customer base and iterating the product over and over. It’s very exciting as I’m just finalizing the details with a number of organizations that plan to use the websites and I’m talking with a dozen more organizations.

Of course, my experience in some ways was quite different than those at TechStars. First, I didn’t have all the mentor ship that they received in the program. However, in some respects I feel like I have some of the same mentors. The blogs (Fred Wilson, Brad Feld and Mark Suster are some favorites), websites, videos, etc that are out there on internet startup companies are tremendous. Twitter and my Feed Reader have been pretty amazing mentors for me.

No doubt I didn’t have the same type of exposure that they have had. Nor did I want some of the exposure they get for my product. While I’d love exposure to the tech crowd, those aren’t my customers. So, it would be little more than stroking my ego to get coverage from the various tech outlets that cover internet startups.

I also haven’t paraded in front of investors for my website either. I’ve certainly built a number of relationships with investors this summer, but there’s something beautiful about bootstrapping the startup. As I grow I may change my mind on this, but for now bootstrapping is beautiful.

I guess I’m just struck by the power of the internet. First, to be able to build a product (website) in such a short period of time. Second, how it provides amazing access to resources that were never available before. Third, that some little guy like myself in Las Vegas could create his own summer TechStars/Ycombinator experience is just awesome!

Now it’s time to make sure I get the same type of results out of my company as those companies have achieved.