The best — maybe the only? — real, direct measure of “innovation” is change in human behaviour. In fact, it is useful to take this way of thinking as definitional: innovation is the sum of change across the whole system, not a thing which causes a change in how people behave. No small innovation ever caused a large shift in how people spend their time and no large one has ever failed to do so.
Because the thing the technology press doesn’t seem to get is that to create new silicon valleys, we need one very crucial thing that we still can’t buy: time.
Investors are investing in the people and how they see the world—not the product or business you’ve built today. Knowing that, Founders should spend 80% or more of their time talking about their background, their values and how they see the world, because this information is what gets an investor excited about potentially joining their journey.
What I mean is the best sellers don’t bowl clients over, they work with them, understand them, and ultimately make their way around every potential roadblock together, no matter how vague it might at first appear. This isn’t just about asking easy questions and listening for answers, it’s about being able to get beneath the surface and actually identify a core challenge or opportunity. In this way the same thing that makes a great seller actually makes a great product person: The ability to get beneath the surface and get the root cause of an issue. The challenge here is that it’s not always easy. “Whying” sounds a lot like “whining” for a reason, and that’s the core question you need to ask to identify true opportunities. While a great seller might make a client feel uncomfortable as they go through this process, they build trust in their desire to actually solve a problem instead of just selling whatever it is they have.
Federated Media leaves at least two major legacies to be acknowledged: First, it pioneered the notion that not only would “brands become publishers,” but they would be positioned to compete directly with publishers. Federated wasn’t aiming to be a substitute for the custom publishing arms of trade publishers like Meredith and Rodale. Instead, it was actively trying to disrupt that model with a brand-new approach to outsourced, contributor-based content creation. At the time, everyone was looking for “the Huffington Post in-a-box,” and Federated came closest to realizing that vision for brands.
Secondly, Federated was the first to recognize that the followings of bloggers and new social networks like Twitter allowed content creators and influencers to become the channel. While FM had not entirely figured out the value equation (it probably overpaid a lot of their “influencers”), it was the first to actively enlist luminaries like Guy Kawasaki to move their own audiences to the Amex Open site, demonstrating the content creation potential of influencer marketing.
Predictably, many observers talk about an “accelerator bubble”. Yet if it is a bubble, it is unlikely ever to deflate completely. Accelerators are too useful for that. Not only do they bring startups up to speed, provide access to a network of contacts and give them a stamp of approval. They also perform a crucial function in the startup supply chain: picking the teams and ideas that are most likely to succeed and serving them up to investors.
Startups today are in a constant feedback loop, which means they have to be run in a different way from their dotcom predecessors.
Silicon Valley thrives on optimism, and anyone waving the bubble flag is auditioning for the title of nonbeliever or party pooper.
If you are going to do a “this for that” investment, the first thing you need to make sure is the iconic company (this) is not going to go after this other market (that) themselves. Then you need to make sure the other market (that) is very large. And finally, you need to make sure that the founders are doing the startup for the right reasons.
Ford Motor has basically spent the last 30 years making faster horses, Ford said, but what Ford Motor Company plans to do in the next decade is build the Model T of the 21st century.