San Francisco, CA
Co-Founder & CEO of Reesio, which combines every step of the real estate transaction process into one beautiful flow for agents, clients, and third parties.
One of the biggest problems with YouTube is the lack of quality discussions/comments for each video (and that's being nice about it). It's tough to engage with the audience when 99% of the comments left are from trolls, spammers, and anonymous people. YouTube needs to do a massive cleanup to the integrity of its comments and discussions if it wants brands to talk about it in the same breath as Facebook and Twitter (from an ad standpoint).
2 weeks, 2 days ago on Five ways to organically grow your YouTube audience
@lucidbooks @entrepreneurSF disagree -- you have ZERO information in your profile about who you are and you gave ZERO disclosure about who you are in your post, so it was a perfectly reasonable question to ask.
I am by no means a fanboy of Quickbooks or their payroll, and I think it's great what Xero is doing. However, I can't intelligently respond to comments when I don't know who I'm talking to. It's called Commenting 101 and you should learn it.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on ZenPayroll targets accountants with new dashboard, hopes to make service providers an influential ally
@lucidbooks do you work at Xero or is that your honest opinion?
I used to work at Intuit close to the people that were responsible for Intuit Payroll. I love the fact that ZenPayroll is focused on simplicity, clean design, etc. -- I'm all about that and that's one of the top things I'm adamant about with my current startup's product. However, the huge advantage that Intuit currently has is that it plugs directly into Quickbooks. All I have to do is "turn on" payroll within Quickbooks and I'm all set, and all of the accounting entries for each payroll automatically gets recorded within QB.
As much as I would love to use a product like ZenPayroll, the fact that Intuit Payroll is directly plugged into QB was the deciding factor in going with IOP instead of ZenPayroll for my current startup. But maybe ZenPayroll can build up enough of a userbase like PayCycle was able to, and then eventually get acquired by Intuit as well so that it's integrated into QB!
2 months, 1 week ago on ZenPayroll targets accountants with new dashboard, hopes to make service providers an influential ally
@gacbmmml @lincoln84 @entrepreneurSF Yeah that's what I thought. They need to bring it out here to SF!
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Seven technologies that will thin out in 2013
I cut my cable cord in favor of Roku, but because I'm a huge sports nut, and none of the major sports channels offer online-viewing only yet, I'm going to probably re-subscribe to cable in a couple of months. That's the one final hurdle that most people face in getting rid of cable TV. Once ESPN, TNT, NFL Network, et. al offer an online only viewing option, everyone will be cutting their cord.
@addroid_com Yeah, I guess I'm just advocating for choice, that's all. There are a million ways to skin a cat, and I don't think it makes a lot of sense product-wise to pigeon-hole users into one format or another. And from reading the FAQ's, it sounded pretty set in stone that that's what the process had to be.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on RockThePost revamps its crowdfunding platform. But can it compete in a crowded space?
@addroid_com not sure where you're based out of, but that's definitely not the norm here in the Valley. In 4 years of pitching angels and VC's, I've never once been asked for a written executive summary or a resume (LinkedIn profile is of course different and totally acceptable). If your investor deck is just pictures with not enough details, well then that's a separate issue. But if your investor deck tells the right story with a combination of words and visuals, investors will prefer that any day and twice on Sunday over reading an actual Word doc.
My bigger point here is that RockThePost is asking for additional documentation that 99% of entrepreneurs don't carry because 99% of professional tech investors don't ask for them. RockThePost is just creating one more barrier to entry for the top startups that might be open to using its platform, which in turn, de-values the ecosystem that it's trying to create (as I think we can all agree that products that have the lowest barrier to entry tend to have the fastest adoption rates).
From RockThePost's FAQ: "At the very minimum, entrepreneurs looking to raise funds should submit a detailed executive summary, which should include value proposition, problem, solution, core competencies, competitive landscape and addressable market, in addition to full resumes for each key member of the team."
This is a deal-breaker for most tech startups. I don't know any startups that are raising funding through the traditional route of angels/VC's/AngelList who use executive summaries or resumes to raise funding. The product, AngelList profiles, LinkedIn profiles, and investor deck should be more than sufficient. If entrepreneurs have to start creating additional docs just for RockThePost, I think it will be a turn-off.
As with everything else in life, you should do what makes you happiest - not what others want you to do. If you follow that mantra, you'll have the greatest chance of being successful (in whatever definition of success means to you).
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Does anybody care about non-entrepreneurs?
Spot on article - I never waste my time with Associates, because if I'm working on anything remotely interesting, I know I'll be able to get the Partners' time without having to go through an extra gatekeeper. Throw in the proliferation of AngelList and how that's essentially doing the same job of an Associate, and you probably have what's going to be a dying breed within the VC community.
To combat this, I like the following ideas (some of which you already suggested):
1) Have the career path from Associate to Partner be the norm as you mentioned - this is important because if I know that an Associate has a very realistic chance of moving up to Partner someday, then it's important for me to begin building that relationship now.
2) Work exclusively with less seasoned entrepreneurs that might be working on their first startup and aren't aware of how to get on Partners' calendars (and who also might not have great product/market fit yet and thus aren't prime candidates for funding anyways).
3) Most importantly, give Associates authority to write micro-checks of $5K-$10K, with say a limit of $250K each year. This certainly wouldn't make a big dent in VC's pocketbook, even if every investment went sour. But it would have a positive impact, like greatly incentivizing entrepreneurs to talk to Associates because there would be a carrot for them at the end of it. And what better way to test the mettle of an Associate's ability to get to Partner someday than to see how their micro-investments performed (which ties back nicely into #1 above).
3 months, 2 weeks ago on The VC associate model is broken
The "increase revenues and figure out margins later" mentality is almost identical to the "increase user base and figure out revenues later" mentality. It's sad to see Business 101 ignored at so many startups in the hopes of generating a lot of hype. I know the allure is great because more hype leads to more funding at higher valuations, which leads to getting rich quick, etc. Eventually, though, the house of cards has to come crashing down, and when it does, it's usually pretty ugly.
That's why Justin is correct in stating that one of the most important things that a startup needs to do is build the foundations for a solid business by making darn sure that CLV's are a healthy multiple of CAC's.
3 months, 2 weeks ago on Why increasing revenues can be bad for startups
Smart move by Zillow - as Erin mentioned, home improvements is a big business, and this is a natural dovetail from Zillow's existing products.
Best of all, it's great to see the attention to detail regarding the design of the product -- design and and a simple-to-use UI mean everything!
4 months, 1 week ago on Zillow moves into the next most logical market — home improvement
@JordanThaeler Well at least you're not generalizing or anything.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on Raising money from outside the Valley: Still tough, but maybe not for long
@chrisamccoy agreed that shipping and iterating rapidly are the 2 most important aspects. Also, I think it's critical that once you have those initial customer learnings from your MVP, that you don't continue to try and shove the initial MVP down customers' throats (which I see startups do). Instead, take a step back and use those learnings to iterate/ship quickly, and THEN go back to customers and sell them on your more polished product (after all, you already know the reasons why they probably won't buy/use it during those initial MVP testing stages, so take those learnings and focus on getting to a product state that you know customers WILL be willing to pay for/use your product).
4 months, 3 weeks ago on How the Lean Startup idea went from idiotic to overhyped
@Todd Dunning @entrepreneurSF I still have to disagree unfortunately. There were lots of families with kids in that neighborhood with me -- in fact, I was the minority single guy surrounded by carpools and trick or treating. Sure, it's not probably "as" safe as maybe Palo Alto or something, but it's pretty darn close. Plus, I'm also kind of a believer that exposure to some of that extraneous stuff can be healthy because then kids grow up learning about the real world (again, as long as it's in a controlled format). Just different philosophies I guess.
5 months, 1 week ago on New York isn’t the next Silicon Valley, and San Francisco isn’t the new Manhattan
@Todd Dunning you're forgetting that there are PLENTY of "suburban" parts of this city that you can live in that don't have the aforementioned puddles of pee or bum's needles. And I'm not talking about un-affordable neighborhoods like Pacific Heights or Seacliff. I had a house for awhile in an awesome suburban neighborhood called Miraloma Park, where I almost forgot that I was living in the city while sitting on my patio deck. Yet, I was only a 10 minute drive to any great restaurant or nightlife that I wanted. I'm back in Twin Peaks now because I miss being closer to things, but that's by choice.
There are a ton more Miraloma Park type neighborhoods scattered throughout the city if you're willing to look for them. And then you can have the best of both worlds of living in the burbs, yet still living in the city at the same time. Sure, you might pay a bit more for that convenience, but it's worth it. That's what makes the city so great -- it can fit any lifesyle that you want.
Completely agree with this Erin. We experimented with Twitter ads as well, and I could not believe that you can't even filter by industry or relevance. I want real estate agents following us and clicking on our tweets, not some random car dealer that I could care less about (regardless of geography). Over-simplified to a fault is the best way to put it, and Twitter has a long ways to go if it thinks it's going to get small businesses or startups to spend any kind of decent money on it. I have better luck just following people that I want to grab the attention of, than running Twitter ads that don't bring in the relevant followers or clicks that I want.
6 months ago on A brief experiment with Twitter ads
@bgoldberg @Ballard Yeah I disagree completely with this article. Most 10 out of 10ers (or 8 out of 10'ers, etc.) keep starting new companies because they KEEP having great ideas (at least in their minds). I don't know any entrepreneurs who are aren't 100% passionate about their newest idea becoming uber-successful, even if it's the 7th one they've had in the last 10 years.
Does this mean that all their great ideas always work out? Of course not. You're extremely lucky and/or skilled that the one and only company you started worked out. Many entrepreneurs fail 2, 3, 4, or 5+ times before they learn how to successfully build and scale a technology business (newsflash: it isn't easy, thus the high failure rate of startups). You don't junk a Mercedes because there's a little dent in it -- you get the dent fixed and make the car more awesome than it was before you got the dent. Plus, there's a HELL of a lot to be said for an entrepreneur who has learned from past mistakes and has new-found experience with which to draw upon in their newest venture.
So to chalk up who to invest in or not based on how long they've been an entrepreneur or how many companies they've started is completely asinine. If you're concerned about whether an entrepreneur is passionate about their current idea and company, there are better and more probing questions that you can ask to get to the root of that question -- not just "what number company is this for you?"
6 months, 1 week ago on The “Ten Lives” game
I used to own a recruiting firm (before I became a tech entrepreneur), and as a former recruiter, I'm ok with all of the questions except the first one about what they studied at college and what their favorite class was. Unless you're ok with the answer to the first question being "Hated the classes I took in college, and if I had to do it over again, I would have done XYZ differently." Many students go to college, spend big $$$ on it, and and take most of the classes that they do because they perceive it's the right thing to do. Not because they wanted to take classes that they were really passionate about or felt would help their careers (this is fairly well evidenced by how often people switch careers after they leave college).
This is especially the case with tech startups -- a lot of awesome tech people either didn't finish college or couldn't stand the classes they took in college, and that's why they left the traditional corporate world to get into startups. So again, unless you're ok with them saying how they would have done things differently when they were in college (as a thoughtful, well-thought out answer), that question needs to go.
And for all of the belly-aching from people about not liking the questions that get asked, Bryan is correct in that hiring managers ask other types of moronic questions all the time. There's nothing wrong at all with probing into non-core or non-technical areas in an interview. Hiring someone in a startup is just as much about culture fit and work ethic as it is about technical ability.
6 months, 2 weeks ago on Losers exist. Don’t hire them