Thursday, February 02, 2006


9 must reads before you launch a startup

Who doesn't want to change their fortunes by launching a simple AJAX app or Million Dollar Homepage rip-off? It sounds so easy, so simple, so sexy.

Unfortunately the reality is that, for 99% of us, the prospect of owning our own empire means a lot of work, a lot of pain, and a lot of sweat. Still, it isn't unrewarding work and with a little bit of wisdom and a pinch of direction you too can have it all. So stop buying lottery tickets, take out your notebook, and learn from the pros as you read 9 of the most important articles on this topic from the last year.

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1. Eric Schmidt and Hal Varian tells us about Google's Ten Golden Rules.

"One of our not-so-secret weapons is our ideas mailing list: a companywide suggestion box where people can post ideas ranging from parking procedures to the next killer app. The software allows for everyone to comment on and rate ideas, permitting the best ideas to percolate to the top."
2. Paul Graham weighs in with a guide to help you do what you love.

"How much are you supposed to like what you do? Unless you know that, you don't know when to stop searching. And if, like most people, you underestimate it, you'll tend to stop searching too early. You'll end up doing something chosen for you by your parents, or the desire to make money, or prestige-- or sheer inertia."
3. Guy Kawasaki tells you the top ten lies of Entrepreneurs.

"No 5. No one is doing what we're doing. - This is a bummer of a lie because there are only two logical conclusions. First, no one else is doing this because there is no market for it. Second, the entrepreneur is so clueless that he can't even use Google to figure out he has competition. Suffice it to say that the lack of a market and cluelessness is not conducive to securing an investment. As a rule of thumb, if you have a good idea, five companies are going the same thing. If you have a great idea, fifteen companies are doing the same thing."
4. Paul Graham tells you how to find statup funding.

"Angels are individual rich people. The word was first used for backers of Broadway plays, but now applies to individual investors generally. Angels who've made money in technology are preferable, for two reasons: they understand your situation, and they're a source of contacts and advice."
5. Evan Williams gives us Ten Rules for Web Startups.

"No. 6. Be Self Centered - Great products almost always come from someone scratching their own itch. Create something you want to exist in the world. Be a user of your own product. Hire people who are users of your product. Make it better based on your own desires."
6. New York Mag tells the story of a guy named Craig who lets you find everything from a girlfriend to your city without a newpaper.

"In the past few months, I and countless others in the mainstream media have awakened to the fact that something we thought was benign and even modestly beneficial, if we happened to have a room to rent or something to sell, was in fact a wild beast, loose in the orchards. is changing everything."
7. Chris Anderson tells you that the New Boom really isn't a New Bubble.

"The second reason that this boom is so different from the last is that the sunk costs of the dotcom era make the economics of entrepreneurship more favorable. In the bad old days, companies bankrupted themselves building out their fiber-optic networks. Bad for investors, good for everyone else: We're now enjoying supercheap bandwidth. So, too, for storage, screens, and a host of other technologies that are benefiting from profligate '90s-era investment and research."
8. Paul Graham weights in with ideas for your startup.

"The fact is, most startups end up nothing like the initial idea. It would be closer to the truth to say the main value of your initial idea is that, in the process of discovering it's broken, you'll come up with your real idea."
9. Rob at Business Pundit explains why he quit entrepreneurship and got a real job.

"Entrepreneurship is difficult. No matter how smart you are, how well you plan, or how hard you work, there is still lots of luck and timing involved. If you ever consider making the jump, here are some things to think about."

What about you? What else have you found useful on your road to self-employment?

Update: posted an article to the creditreview blog with some helpfup ideas on how to grow your fortune.

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