Archive for March, 2008

Agile Software Startups

Posted in buzzpal philosophy, other people's blogs on March 30, 2008 by chrisco

The above chart summaries a form of agile software development called Scrum. There are others flavors of agile, such as XP. Regardless of the process, the overriding principals remain the same. Those principals are listed here agilemanifesto.org and discussed in the following OnStartups.com article.

Apr 14, 2006
Agile Software Startups: The Myth Of The Perfect Business Plan
By Dharmesh Shah

Lets say I had this idea for a great software product. If I told you I was going to spend the next 3-4 months writing (and rewriting) the product specification and design documentation and do everything I could to address what I thought would be the key issues, and then expected to actually use that document to build a near-perfect product that was going to succeed in the market, you’d likely dismiss me as being naïve or inexperienced or both.

Why? Because, clearly, if we’ve learned anything about software development it’s that the process is difficult to completely plan for and much of what actually happens has to be emergent and “iterative.”

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How to build community: start with the individual

Posted in buzzpal philosophy, other people's blogs on March 26, 2008 by chrisco

Some good reminders from Webware:

March 25, 2008
webware.com
How to build community: Start with the individual
By Rafe Needleman

I’m here at the SNAP Summit in San Francisco. Most of the people in the overflow crowd are trying to figure out how to make their sites more social–how to tap into the viral effect that’s busted companies such as RockYou and Slide into the big leagues.

Joshua Porter, who runs Bokardo Design, launched the day by offering up five principles for effective social design. The undercurrent of his talk: Serve your users and they’ll keep coming back. That’s a simple thing to say, of course. Here are Porter’s five tips to making it real:

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Startup Tips for the Early, Early Dayz

Posted in buzzpal philosophy, other people's blogs, startups, venture capital on March 25, 2008 by chrisco

A good (and short) list of reminders for taking a startup through it’s first 4-5 people. From OnStartups.com.

March 13, 2008
Startup Tips for the Early, Early Days
By Dharmesh Shah

My favorite stage of a startup is the early, early days. This is when things are the most chaotic, resources are limited and the team is small enough to fit a single car.

I’ve been thinking about the early days of the startups I’ve been involved in and put together some quick (and practical) tips on these early days.

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What’s so unnatural about working for a big company?

Posted in articles, buzzpal philosophy, other people's blogs, startups on March 23, 2008 by chrisco

Good question. Here’s Paul Graham’s answer:

March 2008

The root of the problem is that humans weren’t meant to work in such large groups.

Another thing you notice when you see animals in the wild is that each species thrives in groups of a certain size. A herd of impalas might have 100 adults; baboons maybe 20; lions rarely 10. Humans also seem designed to work in groups, and what I’ve read about hunter-gatherers accords with research on organizations and my own experience to suggest roughly what the ideal size is: groups of 8 work well; by 20 they’re getting hard to manage; and a group of 50 is really unwieldy. [1]

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Startup Hiring: Why You Should Date Before Getting Married

Posted in buzzpal philosophy, other people's blogs, recruiting, startups, venture capital on March 20, 2008 by chrisco

Some interesting points here. It is certainly challenging to recruit the “early team,” which is also the most important team. This is one of the areas where bootstrapping makes it tougher vs. raising a lot of venture capital early so you can pay fancy salaries.

At BuzzPal, we want people who are more motivated by the chance to bootstrap a startup and get more equity. Other people will take little to no upside in exchange for a higher salary.

It’s a self selection process and there’s nothing wrong with one selection or the other. One model attracts confident and talented risk takers, the other not so much.

Most people understand the risk/reward function and the fact that different people prefer different parts of that specturm (and at different times in their lives).

Startups are more of a confident young risk-taker’s kind of situation.  Cheers!

Now on to the article:

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Ten Rules for Web Startups

Posted in other people's blogs, startups on March 17, 2008 by chrisco

An old, but good, one from evhead.com.

November 27, 2005
Ten Rules for Web Startups
by Evan Williams

#1: Be Narrow
Focus on the smallest possible problem you could solve that would potentially be useful. Most companies start out trying to do too many things, which makes life difficult and turns you into a me-too. Focusing on a small niche has so many advantages: With much less work, you can be the best at what you do. Small things, like a microscopic world, almost always turn out to be bigger than you think when you zoom in. You can much more easily position and market yourself when more focused. And when it comes to partnering, or being acquired, there’s less chance for conflict. This is all so logical and, yet, there’s a resistance to focusing. I think it comes from a fear of being trivial. Just remember: If you get to be #1 in your category, but your category is too small, then you can broaden your scope—and you can do so with leverage.

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MySpace Map and Top 20 Social Networks

Posted in articles, other people's blogs, startups on March 15, 2008 by chrisco

The map is neat looking, but doesn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know, that the number of visitor in a region closely correlates with the population of that region (big surprise!).

The more interesting and useful chart is shown below, along with the accompanying article from Compete.com.

Note: Bebo was just acquired by AOL for $850 million in cash.

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