Start Up Blog

How to invest $1500

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on December 29, 2011

Invest it in yourself. Go to local Melbourne (Y Combinator) Statup site Adiso.com and book a flight to San Francisco.

Spend the next month working on your best idea startup idea.

Get a working prototype, or do those updates you’ve been talking about for the last 6 months on your current startup. Get it in shape.

Book meetings with VC’s, write up a schedule of where all the events are, startups weekends are and build a calendar of people to meet, things to do and actions to take while in Silicon Valley. Ask some locals who’ve been there and done it.

Get your spiel tight. Know how to pitch in 1 minute. With no slides, just your voice box.

Make sure your spiel covers what it is, who it’s for, what it disrupts, and the final revenue model. 

Go there, pitch and win (or lose). But you’ll win regardless. You’ll win with knowledge gains and contacts made. Get excited, have a story to tell, get 2012 off to a fast start.

Didn’t you know it’s an Aussie gold rush over there?

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Winklevoss syndrome

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on February 18, 2011

You may have heard of the Winklevoss Brothers. They’re two of the luckiest people on the planet. They received a reported $65 million in a settlement from Facebook for essentially having an ‘idea stolen’. Latest reports are that they unhappy with the settlement terms because Facebook has recently been valued as high as $50 billion.I’m calling it Winklevoss Syndrome.

Winklevoss Syndrome = the false belief that an idea is ownable and that the real value of a business is strongly linked to the idea. People who suffer from this syndrome believe that they have some kind of ownership rights to something because they thought of it.

Although Mark Zuckerberg may have taken their idea, but he’s the one who built, it, funded it, promoted it, resourced it and expanded it. I’ll go as far as saying that the Winklevoss brothers are delusional if they believe they had anything to do with the success of Facebook. The idea of a social network has nothing to do with the act of building and populating a social network. Ideas in isolation have no value, ideas once executed ‘may’ have value. It’s also worth remembering that every idea that any number of people could or did have, would always be executed very differently. I think the Winklevoss brothers are the luckiest entrepreneurs on the face of the planet. They received a $65 million dollar gift for an idea and some unfinished pieces of code. They got very lucky they ever met Zuckerberg.

Every fresh idea usually has thousands of entrepreneurs around the world toying with it or building it. Simply because they have foundations in common trends, insight and technology evolution. So next time you see your ‘idea’, being brought to life, remind yourself that you didn’t ‘do’ anything about it. And then resist the temptation to suffer from Winklevoss Syndrome. Instead we should go and build something and see how limited the value of the original idea is.

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I don’t…

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 19, 2010

I don’t have a rich Father

I wasn’t left a sum of money from my Grandma

I didn’t go to Harvard

I don’t live in Silicon valley

I wasn’t funded at Techcrunch 50 or Y combinator

I’m not technical genius

I can’t code the latest killer app

I guess I’ll just have to build my startup the old fashioned way. Work my ass off, invent my own revenue, build a team and improve what I have to offer as I learn from the mistakes I’m bound to make. If you’re still around in 10 years, look me up.

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How to pitch

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 20, 2010

There is more good than bad in these hilarious Ali G pitches to Venture Capitalists.

What to look for:

  • His tone of voice and pausing when speaking.
  • His reliance on talking. There is no powerpoint.
  • Taking them on a journey. Story telling.
  • Simple visuals. Having samples / props.
  • Supreme confidence

I’d seriously recommend this video on how to pitch versus most other examples we see on the web so long as we understand the context.

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Why speed wins

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 17, 2009

In start up land the most important thing we can do is do things fast. It’s the opposite of the perfectionism we learn in graduate school and large corporations especially as it pertains to marketing.

Here’s why:


So the startup blog explanation of my above chart goes something like this:

No project, task or strategy is ever perfect. Even if we spend a large amount of time developing it. At best it will be around 90% of what we need or imagine. If we cut the available amount of time in half (which is this example is 6 weeks) we may be able to achieve 70% of the desired outcome. But what option 2 presents for us is the ability to learn and revise quickly. In fact we can launch another version (version 2.0) of said project for another 70% progression.

The net result is pretty simple – we’ll be a progression of 140 vs 90. Pretty simple. And in startup land the reality is we often don’t know how effective something will be until it is implemented, and from here the lessons will emerge. In addition it moves us up the learning curve and in all probability the next implementation will be far more effective than the first.

The other fact we have to consider is that speed is important for our customers. They like to see progression, even if it is less than perfect. They know things are improving and that we are making stuff better for them. It’s also far less confusing to deal with incremental consistent change than it is a total re-design. We also remove the risk of better ideas and methods putting a kibosh on doing anything at all and creating inertia.

And this is why in startup land, speed wins.

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