Voted the Startup Journalist of the year in Iceland

NSA_logo-fullI could not believe that I was nominated as a Startup Journalist of the Year in Iceland by The Nordic Startup Awards. You can guess how delighted I was when I saw a tweet last evening that I Won! It was a great feeling but also very humbling. I have been writing about the Startup Community and Ecosystem and Entrepreneurship from my eyes in Iceland since 2009, I never thought this blog was anything but a resource for Startup Founders and Entrepreneurs. I started writing because I thought maybe someone out there might see what we are going through in Iceland as Investors, Entrepreneurs and Startups interesting and could provide some inspiration, knowledge and resource so their journey is easier. Well, not easier but atleast they could relate and say, yes, I understand and I am not alone in this path. This award is a big recognition to the readers of this blog, without them reading, talking about what is being written here and sharing that with their community, it would have not got nominated in the first place.

We all seek connection, a sense of belonging. I almost naturally gravitate towards my tribe, which is the tribe of Entrepreneurs and Startup Founders. I made it my mission to help my tribe and this blog is nothing but that mission coming alive. To be recognized by the Nordic Startup Awards is another testament to the fact that if you are passionate about something and genuine about the mission and work hard at living the mission the recognition comes. I am constantly asked why do I do this? I do this because it could help someone like me struggling to find a path, I remember distinctly when I was fired from my job because the entire financial system in Iceland collapsed… I was searching for an outlet to release my inner voice, to say that it is ok and everything will be fine. I write because I was inspired to write by my mentor Brad Feld and Fred Wilson and Mark Suster and million other blogger who are relentless in writing and using writing as a means to express their thoughts, ideas, action and to build a community.

So, here is a last piece of thought…  There is nothing stopping us from putting down our thoughts, there is something therapeutic about writing. Use the tools like any of the blogging platforms like Tumblr, WordPress, Google+, Blogger etc Pick a subject that you are passionate about and be disciplined about writing about it regularly. I used to blog everyday, I do that at times but I also take breaks from blogging to gather my thoughts. I find blogging and writing as my creative outlet, it may not be the best or beautifully written but it helps me think. Brad wrote about this recently. I attended TEDx Reykjavik over the weekend and one of the speaker was Guðrún Ingibjörg Þorgeirsdóttir, and I connected with her talk titled “How writing changed a life”. Get your computers out and start writing.

Here are all the other winners in the Nordic Startup Awards, really proud to be in this list… all of the winners and nominees are doing a great service to the Startup Community in Iceland and I bow to them and I hope more people and companies volunteer their hearts and their minds to building a sustainable startup community in Iceland.

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Getting to Yes

PersistenceI was reminded yesterday of a blog post that I wrote a while back about True Grit, the persistent, relentless push forward quality that I see everyday in Entrepreneurs who get it. I have been talking to some of the institutional investors who have been interested in participating in the “Alternative Asset Class” that is the name used by Banks, Pension Funds and other financial institutions if you did not know. Almost all of them ask me what is criteria for me to invest in companies, I cannot emphasize enough about the quality of Grit, someone how has the Chutzpah, the gump, the courage to boldly continue on when all the natural things begs you to stop. I really got inspired reading the latest article by Mark SusterOne of My Most Frequent Pieces of Advice: Be Politely Persistent“. I am sure there were some Entrepreneur who was being pissed off or arrogant about not getting to an yes with Mark. That happens a lot. Nice thing about Iceland is that there are not that many venture investors that you get only a few Nos :), the important thing is obviously to continue on your journey. But as Mark says in his post don’t be bitter about it or arrogant or be an a#$h%&! about it. The best way to get to a yes, is always hard work, focus on what matters and your circle of influence and move your circle of concern away from what needs to get done.

The above advice by Mark is a classic and comes at the right time, Jason Mendelson one of the Managing Directors at Foundry Group and who attended Startup Iceland last year (Have you bought your tickets yet! we are going to have a sold out event, do don’t wait till the last minute get your early bird tickets) was interviewed by xconomy.com about “18 ways to kill as startup: Bad Teams and Ideas, arrogance…“, do you notice the pattern? Arrogance is one of those attributes that an Entrepreneur needs to let go, you cannot be arrogant in a sphere riddled with high uncertainty and low data. You need to be positive and continue on your journey. I also like the post Brad wrote a while back about an “Entrepreneurs Math:(.9)^10=1 “, you need to be in the deterministic world and not the probabilistic one if you are an entrepreneur. If you do the odds, it will tell you how small of a chance you have for success, but that should not define how you go about doing things. You need to believe that you will succeed despite everyone showing the odds of success at your face. That is how you get to Yes! quiet, polite, persistent, relentless focus on the next step… May the force be with you!

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Two key deficits of the founder CEO…

source: GigaOm

source: GigaOm

… when compared with a professional CEO”. I had to complete the sentence because some of the founder CEO’s go on to become great CEOs but they don’t always start that way. I finished reading the book “The Hard Things about Hard Things” over the weekend and the last chapter captured the essence of where Startup Founder need help and how Andreessen Horowitz Venture firm was created to solve that. According to Ben Horowitz the two key deficits are:

  1. The CEO skill set – Managing executives, organizational design, running sales organizations and the like were all important skills that technical founders lacked.
  2. The CEO network – Professional CEOs knew lots of executives, potential customers and partners, people in the press, investors, and other important business connections. Technical founders on the other hand, knew some good engineers and how to program.

I think this is spot on in terms of the technical founders that I have worked with in the past. In addition to the above, I have seen investors who put money on technical founders with absolutely no idea of how to resolve the above two deficits and they expect magic to happen with the startup. I cannot imagine investing in a company and not knowing how I was going to help the startup founder in some tangible way to bridge the above two deficits. Ben goes on to explain the question that he and Marc Andreeseen tired to answer through their new venture Andreeseen Horowitz Ventures,

How might a venture capital firm help founder CEOs close those gaps?

http://a16z.com there is a story behind the URL as well. Go get the book, it is a must have for startup founders and investors alike.

Coming back to our small island north of the atlantic, what is lacking in Iceland is a venture firm that has the core mission of trying to solve the challenges entrepreneurs and startup founders have here in Iceland. I have written about this a while back when I had been working with the Team at CLARA.

What if a venture firm in addition to investing capital at all stages of the company development also provided the kind of mentorship that would accelerate the learning process for the founders? Also, what if the venture firm also systematize and professionalize the network and made the connections and helped build bridges from Iceland? That is exactly what Andreeseen Horowitz Ventures has done. This is not very different from what Brad Feld, Jason Mendelson, Ryan McIntyre and Seth Levin have done in Foundry Group… here is an excerpt from Foundry Group’s website:

What We Do

As true early-stage investors, we are comfortable making small seed investments (as little as $250,000 – $500,000) to help promising entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground. We are equally comfortable participating in larger, more traditional Series A venture financing rounds. Regardless of the size of our initial investment, the size of our fund allows us to continue to support our portfolio companies through their entire financing lifecycles.

In addition to providing the necessary venture capital to get a company up and running, we are committed to leveraging our experience in starting and growing companies, our expertise in the technology industry, and our network of relationships to help great entrepreneurs turn great ideas into great companies.

How We Do It

We believe that success comes from building a collaborative and supportive relationship between Foundry Group and the entrepreneurs and executives in whom we invest. Having walked the proverbial mile in the entrepreneur’s shoes, we understand where we can add value—such as helping build out a management team, thinking through strategic business development and growth opportunities, or providing advice on exit strategies—and we aren’t afraid to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty.

Rest assured, however, that we also know the difference between being value-added investors and being micro-managing investors. As venture capitalists, we believe our role is to identify, help build and support the team that will make our companies successful, not to run those companies ourselves.

We also believe that, in early-stage investing, it is critical we maintain a direct relationship between our entrepreneurs and our managing directors, rather than using junior professionals to manage the work load. Foundry Group’s team structure, fund size, and investment process have been intentionally created to ensure this philosophy guides our interactions with all of our investments.

In most cases, Foundry Group will be the first institutional investor in the companies that we back. Because of our active engagement with our companies, we typically will take a correspondingly substantial ownership position in our investments and will join as a member of the company’s board of directors.

We recognize that sometimes the best ideas aren’t ones that generate broad investor consensus. Though we are happy to co-invest with other venture firms as part of a syndicate, we look to our own evaluation and interpretation of an entrepreneur, a market opportunity and a company’s prospects to guide our investment decisions. As a result, we view ourselves as “syndication agnostic” and are entirely comfortable investing in an early-stage company as its sole investor rather than seeking the validation of co-investors.

Would it not be great if we could combine the Andreeseen Horowitz and Foundry Group’s “How we do it” philosophy and have that firm based in Iceland to invest in Icelandic Startups? If you have read this far then it is not difficult for you to connect the dots… :) keep watching this space for more news on this.

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Startup Summer – Exchange Program between Colorado and Iceland

boulder-co-large-gallery-horizontal

source: CNN

Brad Feld sent me one of those cryptic notes last September, with an ask “Do you know Eythor?” It is amazing how he has latched on to this notion that I should be able to get a hold of anyone in Iceland with relative ease, because I remember telling him when he came to Iceland in 2012 that everyone knows everyone in Iceland. Anyways, I digress, Eythor is the brother of one of my former colleagues in the bank, so I responded by saying yes I know of him and oh, btw, he is related to my wife through some distant family ties… it is Iceland :) Brad Feld connected me to Brad Bernthal, who had been interacting with Eythor about a joint initiative between Boulder and Iceland. Brad Bernthal introduced me to the Startup Colorado and Startup Summer program offered by University of Colorado, that embeds undergraduate interns into startups in Colorado. He continued that It is a great program as the interns get meaningful exposure to the startups and, in addition, they meet at least weekly as a full group to (1) learn from startup leaders in the area, and (2) develop their own business ideas.  The summer ends with an intern pitch night in which the startup summer participants pitch their own ideas. One idea is that we invite students in Iceland to potentially participate in the during Summer ’14 and, if something similar can be spun up in Iceland, we also could look to do some type of summer exchange. I was like… Awesome! heck ya, totally aligns with my philosophy of building bridges from Iceland to other startup communities, so I reached out to Ari the Rector of Reykjavik University and we immediately got his support to proceed.Colorado-Report-2 For those asking is Colorado is the right place? Here is a Forbes article which states that Colorado launches a Startup every 72 hours! We have been in a number of meetings and I just got message from Austin Chamers who is responsible for the program that the application materials for Startup Summer 2014 are up and ready.

The plan for applications is as follows:
For companies that would like to participate (both in Iceland & US):
  • Please send an email to StartupCoDirector@gmail.com, listing:
    • Company name
    • Company description
    • Intern job requirements/job title
    • Expected starting salary
    • Start and end dates
For students:
  • Follow this link and fill out the application.
  • The application process for students from Iceland will be expedited if they have a background in computer science or engineering. Applicants seeking positions in management, marketing, or ‘soft’ skills may be delayed, depending on the number of positions available and the overall pool of applicants.
  • We will work to pair applicants with a suitable company, and encourage these companies to take the exchange students
  • We will set up a Skype interview to make any final arrangements
Housing arrangements will begin shortly, once we start receiving applications.We are also looking in to funding to help students with travel and/or visa expenses.
So if you are a startup in Iceland and would like to get interns from University of Colorado to come and work with you for the summer, follow the steps above. If you are a student in Iceland, I highly encourage applying it could be one of the most important steps you take. Getting exposure into a new environment that too in a startup while you are still in School creates so many opportunities and ideas. GreenQloud is going to apply as it is a simple decision for us. We are growing the team and we are hiring. If you are startup and complaining about lack of talent or whatever, here is your chance to plug into a new group of people who can supplement your team needs.
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Startup Boards – A Book Review – First Peek

Startup Boards

I have been reading the new book from Brad Feld and Mahendra Ramsinghani titled “Startup Board – Getting the most out of your board of directors“. I can only talk from my experience which is limited, but having the opportunity to learn from the experience from numerous boards that Brad and Mahendra have been on is an opportunity that I think is too valuable to miss. I have to say that my experience of being in a board started when we invested in CLARA, lo and behold, I was a Chairman of the Board of CLARA! I think I can say without exaggeration that I was clueless on what it means to be in a Board.

One can read books and understand the regulations or requirements of the fiduciary mandate of the Board of Directors, but really creating an effective board is an art and it is a collaborative effort of the Management and the Chairman of the Board… and I had no idea where to begin. This was also the time in Iceland when all the dirty laundry was being washed in public about how the Board of Directors failed in all the Banks and Financial Service companies that went belly up. Lot of doubts, lot of questions and a lot of reading and no sleep, to top it off my other board members were the founders of the company and had very little experience. I can say without a doubt that I would have very much liked to have had a book like this before I decided to be on the Board of CLARA. As they say you are a rookie in any job only once, it was true with the Chairman of the Board role and it also includes my current role as CEO of GreenQloud, I have never been a CEO or for that matter Chairman of the Board of anything. There was a lot of learning on the job. Making a book on Board of Directors interesting is hard, but I have to say it has been an interesting read so far. The anecdotes , the insight on specific situations and a flow of why, what and how of Boards is extremely useful and insightful. I am looking forward to digging in.

If you are a startup founder or a first time Board Member, do yourself a favor and go get the book and start applying the learnings, I can assure you that it will be worth your time and money. If you have not built a Board of Directors to keep you honest, please do that first. Building the board is a skill, making sure the right people with the right backgrounds are there asking the right or in some cases the wrong questions is an important journey in being an Entrepreneur or Startup Founder. This book should help you answer all the questions that you have always wanted to learn about the Board of Directors.

Ok, this video cracked me up… if your Board is doing this, then you definitely need this book!

Startup Iceland 2014 – Calling for Ideas and speakers

We have started thinking about Startup Iceland 2014. The overarching mission of Startup Iceland is to build a sustainable/antifragile startup ecosystem in Iceland and maybe that could serve as a model for other communities, this experiment is based on Brad Feld’s hypothesis from his book “Startup Communities“. I have continued to think and act in building a sustainable startup community here in Iceland, it is a long road and I am reminded of poem by Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

It is poignant and apt, I relate to the poem to take a breather and take stock every year during Startup Iceland Conference to see how far we have come here in this tiny island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. We have seen many success stories come out and a number of people being inspired to take on the road of Entrepreneurship and start their new venture or continue to build their startup. I see really young people, actually making choices of doing their own startup as opposed to joining a big company or looking for a job. I see big companies in Iceland completely oblivious to the transformation that is happening and how they are going to be impacted by it. I see the struggle every single day as a CEO of GreenQloud that is transitioning from being a Startup to being a small company. I see the challenges in the policy machine called the Government of Iceland and in all these struggles and posturing, one thing always remains… my fundamental mission of helping entrepreneurs and of being of service to my tribe. Yes, I feel connected with my tribe of Entrepreneurs the brave, the few, the crazy ones. Brad has this notion of give before you get something… this has always been my give. I give time to serve my tribe. I have absolutely nothing that I want to get other than see another entrepreneur or startup from Iceland cross the chasm and succeed.

I want to see this feeling take shape in the next Startup Iceland Conference. We have not decided on the date or theme yet, but it will be in the last week of May or first week of June. The last 2 years it was driven by Brad Feld and Amy Bachelor’s schedule… I know I know I have mentioned Brad’s name a couple of times in this blog. Brad has mentioned in his blog that he is not going to travel for business in 2014, I just asked him. So fingers crossed…

The ask for this blog post is do you have ideas for speakers or themes you would like to see covered in the event? We are going to be ambitious and see if we can cross the 500 people attendance threshold. The last 2 years we had about 250 to 300 participants. Lets see if we can do better this year.

Video

On the road of building Startup Communities in Iceland

English: Jim Collins (James C. Collins), an Am...

English: Jim Collins (James C. Collins), an American business consultant, author of “Built to Last” and “Good to Great”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brad Feld interviewing Jim Collins, two of my favorite business thought leaders and authors talking about a topic that I extremely engaged in and interested in developing in Iceland. I was pretty bummed that I could not make it for the Startup Phenomena Event in Boulder, Colorado. There are a number of pearls of wisdom in this discussion. The most important of which is the concept of doing big things, focusing on the who and the role of luck or chance. I believe that in order to build an antifragile or lasting startup community it has to be a long term thinking which makes sense because doing things like this well… takes a long time. I believe the startup community in Iceland is starting to hum, the biggest lead indicator of this is when a young software engineer who came to me and wanted to work at GreenQloud, he was brilliant, talented and with a lot of energy so I was only thrilled to get him to join our team. 3 months in he wanted to quit and I was baffled because he loved the culture and environment that we are creating in GreenQloud, really liked the people he worked with and was really on board with the Mission of GreenQloud… when I asked him what has changed, he told me that he and his friends are doing a startup and they wanted to go out on their own and do that. I knew then and there the vision I had for Iceland is starting to take shape.

When really smart people are willing to risk their jobs, careers and possibly a lot of their time to build a company we have the right ingredients to building an antifragile startup community. What is really missing is the Big Hairy Audacious Goals that Jim Collins referred to in the talk. I have some ideas up my sleeve, GreenQloud is one of those big ideas. If you have not been following what we are doing with GreenQloud, you should really look at it. I believe GreenQloud could be a bigger company than any company built out of Iceland and I am not saying it because I am the CEO. GreenQloud is in the business of changing the world and it takes time, effort and passionate people. We are on that journey and starting to really accelerate our execution. I also have a couple of projects that I am really excited about launching, you will hear about it in the near future. We are currently kicking off the preparation for Startup Iceland 2014.

Building Startup Communities

Every city was once a startup, famous words spoken by Brad Feld when I have seen him position his book on Startup Communities. Where is the soul of the city, what makes cities thrive and fall? I think the basic building block of any city is the entrepreneurial spirit. That is why I believe the thesis that Brad has written about building startup communities resonates with me. I started on the journey to build a thriving or should I say Antifragile Startup Community in Iceland right after the collapse of the financial system in Iceland, because I believe the spirit of entrepreneurship was alive, kicking and can be rekindled. The motivation to organize Startup Iceland was rooted in that belief. How are we doing on this Startup Community building effort? well I think we are in Mile 1 of a 26.2 Mile marathon. There is a lot of work to do. I believe every entrepreneur needs to dream and have vision, but cannot loose sight of execution because Vision without Execution is Hallucination. I think the Startup Community in Iceland is executing. So, what else do we need to do? I think we need to harness a new breed of investors, create an investing platform and a market to clear the angel capital demand and supply. There is only one way to create a demand for Angel capital and that is by starting new ventures, we are addressing that with many initiatives like the Golden Egg Competition in January, Seed Forum, Startup Reykjavik and a number of entrepreneurial initiatives through Innovit+Klak, University of Iceland and Reykjavik University etc. I believe where we are struggling is creating a supply of Angel capital, in order to do that we need mentoring and a platform, I have written about creating an accelerator for Investors. I think we need to go further than that…angellistlogo

I think AngelList really provides the platform for anyone to build a syndicate to invest in Startups and Entrepreneurs. There is a lot of debate on whether it is going to kill the traditional VC business or not. I am not in the prediction business but any option that helps entrepreneurs and startups is a good thing. Those who have gone through the passage like we did with our previous investments, know that no-one knows how the future is going to turn out but one has to actively work to make any investment work. With that philosophy in mind, I am forming a syndicate to invest in Entrepreneurs and Startups in Iceland. I am no VC, but I think I have better track record than anyone in Iceland, we took a company all the way and in the process helped the Entrepreneurs and in the end every investor made money. I am not promising that we can repeat the process or the result, but we understand what we went through and that learning is valuable. Given what I have seen I think it is time for us to change the landscape in Iceland. Watch out for details of the initiative. Here is a Presentation of our strategy!

Startup CEO

Source: Amazon

Source: Amazon

As most of you know I also have a day job as CEO of GreenQloud. I go to my mentor Brad Feld for getting a fresh perspective on things and in one of those sessions, he recommended that I read the book Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business by Matt Blumberg, the CEO of Return Path. I mentioned to him that I have ordered the book and waiting for it, Brad got Matt to give me access to a reviewer’s copy and I am really thankful for that.  I was suppose to be on vacation last week and I took this book as reading material, it was a bad idea. I could not put the book down, I was itching to get back to work to start implementing a lot of the strategies and ideas that Matt talks about. What was fascinating to me was the tone, language and the heart of the book. I felt like Matt was talking to me, giving me advice, knowing exactly what I am going through as a CEO. It was uncanny, I am pretty sure this book will become an instant classic among the Startup Founders and Startup CEOs. I am not going to go through the details of the book, go and get your copy, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you are a Startup Founder or CEO, you definitely need to read this book. For an excellent exclusive review of the book check out StartupManagement.org‘s William Mougayar’s post.

The book is broken into 5 Sections. I like the sequence of the sections:

Section 1: Story Telling

Section 2: Building the Company’s Human Capital

Section 3: Executing

Section 4: Building and Leading a Board of Directors

Section 5: Managing yourself so you can manage others

There were so many instances in the book where I felt my own voice in Matts words. It was just transforming to me. I am excited to get started on these ideas. It was exactly the material that I needed. Thank you again Brad Feld, for connecting the dots.

Startup Management – Masterfully Curated Resources for every startup

SUM_Logo2Fred Wilson wrote about an AVC regular William Mougayar is building an education oriented community for entrepreneurs called Startup Management (SUM). I wanted to bring attention to this aspect of a Startup, I have written about this before Startups are not a small form of a big company. The management of things in a startup require different sequencing than in a traditional company. This sequencing is not rocket science but harder because you need to figure out what you are doing makes sense i.e creates value to someone and make sure you have enough time to make sure that it pays for itself. There is very visual depiction of this, I say that doing a startup is like jumping off a tall building and making your parachute while you are falling and hope and pray that the building was tall enough or your parachute making skills are so great that you can make the parachute fast enough before you hit the ground. This analogy is visual and clearly shows what every entrepreneur feels when they are building a company, it is not all glamor, glory and pride, it is a lot of hours of blood, sweat and tears. Given that everyone acknowledges that this is difficult would it not be great if we could tap into a resource that gives us the roadmap? like what Fred has been doing with his MBA Monday Series, or Brad Feld has been doing with his Term Sheets series or Mark Suster on Sales and Marketing or building a B2B startup. I am sure there are many resources like this and Startup Management is going to SUM all of this together (did you get the pun?). So this blog post, I am requesting everyone to sign up for the Startup Management and get a curated list of topics from around the web about Startup Management. Fred, Brad and Mark are the first ones to acknowledge that what they share is only a tip of the wisdom that is out there on the internet and I am really happy to see that all this is aggregated by SUM. To give you a glimpse of what the content is going to be I am reposting the first digest that I got in my inbox:

Creme de la creme curation from William Mougayar, Must Read from this week.
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As you start reading, I’d like you to consider forwarding this email to others in your network, promise? If you’re a VC, forward it all your portfolio companies. YES, all;- why be selective? If you’re a startup, send it to your customers, partners and internally. Let it go viral. I don’t mind. There is nothing like this email and Startup Management (SUM) throughout the Tech Startup world, so let’s get the word out. I know I’ve got your mindshare, so now let’s get SUM market share.SUM = Great articles users submit + Original stuff we write, + Posts from the Top 100 Tech Bloggers. And it’s complemented by a Library of content (50 categories), a Wiki of terms, and links to curated Videos and Books. It’s the single best destination for Tech startups and grownups to keep learning on the job and on the blogs.Startup Management is only one-week old, so I’m trying this new Email, a Week-end Roundup from the past week. It’s the crème de la crème from my personal curation of hundreds of weekly articles. This is a subset of what’s on the website, and it’s organized by topic. If I curate the best, write the rest, then you’ll need to read this fest.
CultureWhy it’s important to Create a Culture that Drives Success, Not One That Makes You Feel Good, so here’s the Ultimate Guide to a Startup Culture’s Evolution to get you there. And if Google is Retaining Top Talent Through ‘Employee Entrepreneurial Culture, so can you.Marketing
Do you know The 7 Heavenly Habits of Inspired Inbound Marketers or the Seven marketing mistakes most startups make? If you want more dynamite Marketing presentations, check out the ones from this week’s MozCon.

Sales
Startup Sales is Hard, But Hiring a Successful First Sales Rep is Harder, so you need to know When to Sell vs. When to Market to Customers.

Customer Discovery
How do You Discover What Customers Really Want?  Wait, don’t fall in the A/B Test Trap, so Ask Yourself the 6 Essential Questions before Running that A/B Test.

Product
Here’s why it is foolish to Push for the “Perfect” Product.

Women in Tech
It’s incredible that Etsy Grew their Number of Female Engineers by Almost 500% in One Year, and here’s the story of a woman tech entrepreneur from Mumbai.

Scaling the Organization
Growth solves a lot of issues, but it also creates problems. There is nothing wrong inDeveloping Middle Managers at Startups, because your company will face 5 growing pains when transitioning from chaotic startup to accelerating midsize.

User Experience
Do you Experience Rot? And Is Your Website Guiding Customers To Lowest Effort Resolutions Paths?

Customer Communications
It’s a fact that Entrepreneurs Face Serious Communications Barriers. Be careful how you put your message out: 8 (Easily Avoidable) Ways to Lose Your Prospect’s Trust. Take a refresher on how to Grow Your Business Smarter with Conversion Rate Optimization, and give your users a Seductive Hook, If you can Find it Every Time. Here’s how to create a Create a Useful Value and Good Proposition. 

B2B Marketing
The Convergence of marketing and technology is an ongoing trend, along with the consumerization of the enterprise; so now you can Build a B2B Loyalty Program With B2C Tactics.  And find out How Marketing Can Deliver Qualified Leads, because Email Open Rates Continue to Rise. Are you new to Email Marketing? Find out How to Plan Your Lifecycle Email Marketing Plan.

Competition
Understanding your real competitors is important. Here are Lessons From Successful Entrepreneurs on How to Beat the Competition. 

Failing
Yes, it’s the other F word. Is there a “right” way to fail? Don’t let it get to your head. Head Games: Ego and Entrepreneurial Failure and How One Startup Had Millions In Funding And 100,000 Users — And Still FAILED.

Founder to CEO
You aren’t born knowing how to be a CEO, but you need to Stop being a founder, and start being a CEO. But remember, There are No Shortcuts to Intelligent Founder-CEO Transition. Why Organization is the key Character Trait and Skill of the Successful CEO, and how Drew Houston’s morphed from hacker to hyper-growth CEO. Sometimes, as you experience growth challenges, you have to Divide and Conquer.

Branding
You need to Build Brand Awareness First – Distribution Second, and don’t forget about branding when you’re doing online demand generation, because Growth Hacking is a Bridge to Marketing, so Make Marketing the Third Leg to Success, After Product and Engineering.

Quotes of the week
“I’m more worried about the billion or so people on Facebook every day, versus the 2 million people watching Fox News.” – Jon Klein, President of CNN

Hi, I’m Chris Schultz. You don’t have to be in Silicon Valley, but Silicon Valley has to be in you.”

About Startup Management
Startup Management is a single destination for the best content on management, strategy, organizational and marketing topics, including business models, revenue models and go-to-market approaches for startups and grownups. We mix curated, aggregated and original content, a tagged library of knowledge, a wiki, and links to videos and books, allowing you to quickly find what you need to know on-demand, on-the-job, and on the blogs.

What are we working on, next?
A single RSS feed for the whole site, an improved homepage, more articles in the Library, and a better mobile experience.
We migrated to a dedicated virtual server this week-end, so no more php memory errors, yeah! Thanks to AVC’er Dale Allyn who volunteered to help me figure things out.

That SUMs it up! Don’t forget to FORWARD —-> VIRAL is the way to Grow. If this email touched you, let it touch others.

William Mougayar
Founder & Chief Curator
Startup Management