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I will admit. I am a total sucker for stories like this. I ate this one up and found it inspiring and uplifting. thank you for catering to my emotional side!
2 months, 3 weeks ago on Why the unremarkable success story of Dropbox is just so remarkable
Great detailed coverage of MyTime. Congrats @ethan_anderson !
3 months ago on Building a digital marketplace is hard, but MyTime is off to an impressive start
Agreed the OKM point of view feels like a fad - and it will pass. However, I wonder if it bears any relationship to Peter Thiel's philosophy of focusing on "one singular thing". The one thing may have many metrics to determine its success, but in the end you will know what success will look like for that one thing - and the metric or metrics to go with it. The most persuasive argument I have seen in favor of this line of thinking is "Without this discipline, there is a consistent tendency of employees to address the easier to conquer, albeit less valuable, imperatives." (which I found via HN here http://blog.idonethis.com/post/37113345206/peter-thiels-unorthodox-management-philosophy-of)
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Why I’m just not buying the obsession with One Key Metric
I love that Sarah took the other side of this argument. A few good points about cohesiveness of team and cause - plus the point about everyone needing to be in the same room when you are innovating and building a business is almost uncontroversial (despite Automatic, Github, and others thriving with distributed teams). And in broad terms, she is correct. The broad economy will not be powered by the artisanal effort of many expert hands fit together by software - the example of road paving is brilliant.
However I feel this piece misses the side of the argument view through the lenses of the talent. As we all know, most progress is made by a few highly skilled hands put to best used - a situation that cannot be easily scaled the same way one would optimize for widget production. Those highly skilled hands have many motivations of their own - from following a great cause, to a balanced life, to (gasp!) starting their own companies! As such patterns for engaging such talent must also range from full time employment to moonlighting to part-timing and freelancing. It is not realistic to assume all these people have to be "owned" to realize a vision. At the end of the day, the question most of us in the trenches of building a company must answer is not whether to hire someone brilliant (we all want that!) but rather how to get talent you need to help you realize your vision. Not every company solving a worthwhile problem is a hot startup - and everyone needs talented builders. And I think the talent knows that.
5 months, 1 week ago on Ask any entrepreneur: The freelance economy is a sucker’s game
This is a great post Josh! Does it reflect your experience when you were trying to get oDesk to liquidity?
6 months ago on Liquidity hacking: How to build a two-sided marketplace
@jpreston A whole new post can (or should!) be written about generating demand for your marketplace, ie getting buyers. I have been talking to a few and email marketing, inbound (read content) marketing, and PR seem to be main choices. SEO should be on top as well given the amount of information already in the transaction, but do not hear many people using it intentionally - or perhaps they are just not telling me :)
8 months ago on Three Tips To Save Your Labor Marketplace
@irontoby agreed. bad editing on my part
@jbreinlinger Hey Josh - agree there is hustle you can do on both sides. However, I personally think what you did during the early days of oDesk are more difficult to replicate. Dev rates are significantly higher than 2004 and good devs that meet high quality bars are definitely harder to find than it was back in your day!
@DaveMcClure @medinism Dave - indeed, my bad. You are correct, WePay is 500 Startups not Pound Pay. The Pound Pay CTO is rooming with a few of the 500 Startups founders in the Mission who are in GroupTalent, so I mistakenly assumed they were together. Again, my bad!
8 months, 2 weeks ago on It’s Starting to Dawn on PayPal: We Might Really Be in Trouble
Great note Sarah. It would be useful to see a piece comparing payment system and what devs are using. We personally use Stripe because my co-founders are YC grads and like to keep it in the family. But there is PoundPay (500 Startups), WePay, BrainTree (which we used but sucked compared to Stripe), Authorize, Google's, Amazon's, etc.
Congratulations @Allan well done! I can't wait to see LayerVault become the github for designers.
9 months ago on Betaworks, High Line Venture Partners, SV Angel Back LayerVault
@XBeeOBee @xbeeobee unless you know for a fact that your competitor already has over 30% of the market I would not worry about it. Again, the traction they are generating will help you when you launch. Again, no business worth pursuing will have no competitors. The fact that they launch means that you may be onto something - and unless they have the market sewn up and reached tipping point - which given the competitive landscape it seems unlikely - keep going. harder!
10 months, 2 weeks ago on What To Do When Someone Copies Your Startup
@jtoeman precisely. My argument is from the pov of a startup. I am not really sure how that would work for larger companies. There are more complicated competitive dynamics in more established companies - mostly because the downside is appreciably larger than that of a start up - that one would need to go deeper into game theory to tease out generalizations.
@PeterVOrtho that is exactly right. the downside of someone getting your secret sauce right is low and in the meantime you enjoy the free market awareness your competitors bring. if you are the larger better known company (X) users will ask your smaller competitor, aren't you like X in which case you win from the reinforcement of your brand and name recognition. If you are the smaller one, you can say "yes, but I am better because ..." in which case you win from the differentiation and clear value prop.
@jebbdykstra99 I make the argument that for startups helping a competitor is beneficial. I am not sure how this argument extrapolates to large companies with entrenched interests for whom the gain of helping a competitor is not a material as it is for a startup.
I argue that for a startup, helping a direct competitor with no immediate direct benefit in return is beneficial - or at least net positive. Moreover, part of competing smartly is helping your competitors.
Bill Gates was a very smart in that he helped his competitors Because it benefited him.
@jbreinlinger @jbreinlinger hey Josh - yes. btw - @garyswart is one of the role-models by being generous with advice to all labor marketplaces
@jebbdykstra99 @jebbdykstra99 Good points. However Bill did help Steve and vice-versa. Not sure whether Zuck helped a competitor. I am also curious about what PG would think. Like the post a few moments ago from @cdnpal , chances are high that in the near future you will work with someone who will compete in your space even tangentially. And you will have to figure out whether partnering or doing business with a potential competitor is worth the risk. I argue that, all things being equal and the deal is worth making the fact that the other party may/is a competitor may be irrelevant. Coopetition seems to be a recurrent theme in new businesses
@AdamBritten Thank you Adam. Completely agree, Community Management is a pivotal position all start ups need to get good at. Good founders get busy doing it themselves, and when the time is right, they hire someone to come in and help!
11 months ago on Startup Delusion and Embracing the Schlep