Words of wisdom as we near the deadline for 2014 @Brandery applications:
Solve a real problem. You don’t start a company because you want to be an entrepreneur or the fame and glory that comes along with it. You become an entrepreneur to solve a real problem.
- Aaron Patzer
While Apps may dominate time on mobile, the overwhelming majority of that time is spent on Gaming, Facebook, and Social Messaging.
The Internet is the first medium invented in 100 years that wasn’t invented to make advertisers happy. The connection between running ads and making money is broken, probably forever. As soon as you take that out of the equation, everything we understand about marketing, manufacturing, distribution—it all goes away. The new era of modern marketing is about the connection economy, it’s about trust, it’s about awareness, it’s about the fact that attention is worth way more than it used to be. Attention doesn’t come in nice little bundles anymore.
One of the key learnings we had in fulfilling a large part of our original vision was that partnerships and integrations rarely give you distribution. A key part of this vision working for us was tied to the integrations leading to many new Buffer users. We certainly got a good number, however we always had much more success with signups direct from our own web and mobile apps.
Silicon Valley as a source of capital is no better or worse than any other big city. There are plenty of sources of capital everywhere…But start up capital is not their secret sauce. What Silicon Valley does better than anyone is create exits. They know how to get people who they have made money for to turn over a lot of that money to buy the companies they have invested in. They know how to put on a show to get a company to an IPO. They know how to go out and get hundreds of millions of dollars to bridge companies with 10s of millions in revenues to their IPO and more importantly to make sure the IPO happens.
No self-respecting reporter prefers to interact with a PR person over the story’s subject or an original source. PR people get in the way of stories more often than they enable them, in my experience. They unnecessarily staff interviews so they can bill more hours and seem to think it unreasonable that a journalist would want to talk to a source without a patrol present.
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.