I was raised in Silicon Valley before moving to Vancouver and I love to see entrepreneurs with big dreams. But what concerns me is when people build a business with a focus on trying to get big simply based on the belief that "bigger is better" or when those involved with the company view anything other than a multimillion dollar acquisition as a failure.
In September of 2010, Troy Conrad launched a new format of stand up: unscripted and on a topic that the performer sees at the same time as the audience. It is (quite aptly) billed as "Stand-up Without a Net. I recently spoke to creator Troy Conrad and Paul Provenza about Set List, and the changing business of comedy.
Richard found himself in a situation where he wanted to get his hands dirty by starting again from the ground up. He and his two co-founders then created Figure 1, a medical application for smartphones which allows doctors to share photos. I spoke to Richard about his journey from salary man to start up co-founder.
I first saw Robbie Whiting in 2012 at South by Southwest, where he gave a daring presentation on the death of the advertising agency model. At the time, he was Director of Creative Technology at Duncan/Channon, an agency which has applied a unique approach to attracting new business: Making things. He's since launched his own agency: Argonaut.
This week I spoke to Andrea Lown of SmartBride about her entrepreneurial journey. It was Andrea Lown's own experience planning her wedding which led her to start a business helping brides lessen the burden. Andrea's enterprising idea caught on, and now SmartBride successfully matches up buyers and sellers every day to help their big day make good financial sense.
This week I spoke with a group of seemingly unlikely entrepreneurs who have struck it big in the world of plush monsters. Adam Dunn and Rhya Tamasauskas of Monster Factory spoke to me recently about making a profitable company out of fabric, fibre fill, and a sewing machine. Yet, Adam and Rhya did not set out originally to build monsters.
This week, I spoke with Tara Hunt of Buyosphere about her experiences nurturing her company to life. Tara has been a fixture in the start-up world and it only seemed natural that at some point, she would go out on her own and start her own business. She had the experience, and the connections, but she still had a rocky road to travel to get funded and beyond.
This week, I talked to serial entrepreneur, Angel investor, and founder of CareGuide, John Philip Green. CareGuide is an online "matchmaking" service for people in need of care professionals, and need tailored, vetted recommendations. Here's my Q&A with him.
We've all heard the apocryphal tales of companies who put their pet projects on crowd-funding websites and made millions. A group out of Vancouver asked the question: "How can we leverage this zeal and social funding for good?" In July, Weeve was born, and they have helped dozens of not-for-profits achieve crowd funding success. Alex Chuang explains how they've had early success.
The hardest thing for me to deal with after starting my start-up was the lack of a business card. I had no card. And no big title. And, after 25 years, no logo, website, stationary, network, IT guy, EA, expense account, limo charge account, crowded schedule, flights to catch and people to see. Nothing. Nada. So, how to start over? How to build something from scratch and fill the day?
When you're in the earliest days of your start-up, you are completely head down, focused on your product and you don't have much time for reaching out, and you're certainly not relying upon others to help you. And then you hit your first time where you need to solicit advice, hire contractors, or to network, you encounter your first Great Wait. So, what do you do when you're forced into a Great Wait?
Talking to Phil Libin about his third (and most famous) company, Evernote, on the surface seems like a lesson in how not to make something. But therein lies the genius of why Evernote has had rousing success since its inception in 2007. Phil and his co-founders bootstrapped Evernote themselves for a year. No small feat. During that year, they focused on one goal: making a product they really, really wanted to use.
I recently spoke to Amin Todai, serial start-up entrepreneur, founder of onemethod digital+ design about how he applies the principles of The Lean Start-Up to his various ventures. Amin is also one of the men behind Toronto taqueria La Carnita, which had taken the city by storm. What does he think about being an entrepreneur?
You most likely won't make $41 million off your first business presentation, but you DO need a deck which clearly lays out a few key things which all venture capitalists (and potential partners) look for. It seems easy, but one of the hardest exercises you will go through in this process is distilling everything you think, want, and believe in your company into a measly 10 pages. Here are some tips.
Earwolf Media produces the most highly rated comedy podcasts online, and has recently expanded to television (with IFC's Comedy Bang Bang) and comedy album production. He's had many ups and downs in the process -- like pitching a website without knowing how to build one, engineer turnover and self doubt. But on hindsight, Jeff says, "I've never looked back on something we did and said, 'I'm glad I listened to that other person who told me it was a bad idea.'"
It's easy to see the appeal of having your own business: you can set your own hours, you get to collect all of the money, and you can do things your way. But having your own start-up is the exact opposite of the movies. While it's true that most people have a few great ideas in them, not everyone enjoys the humility-building exercise which is getting your startup off the ground. It takes a lot of planning. So, what's the actual first step once you've had your big idea?