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pwarden
San Francisco, CA
A programmer who likes to get things done - pete@petewarden.com
Recent Activity
I've long been intrigued by 'micro-nations' as the equivalents of startups for countries: http://petewarden.typepad.com/searchbrowser/2010/02/micronations.html The history of most of them is riven with feuds and financial disasters, but startups have a pretty low success rate too. I'd argue we're living in the equivalent of 'Google' for startup nations here, the US was a radical new idea that worked.
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Everyone uses 'passionate' when talking about good entrepreneurs, but I prefer 'obsessed'. Everyone loves to think that they're passionate because it's got only positive connotations. A lot fewer people are willing to admit they're obsessed, but it's a much better description of the drive successful entrepreneurs seem to share. They're willing to sacrifice almost anything for their mission, and from the people I know that sometimes includes unattractive tradeoffs like losing marriages.
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Mar 15, 2010
Have you seen Yoram Bauman, the Stand Up Economist? http://www.standupeconomist.com/videos-public/ Not quite as much bling though!
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Great tips, thanks. On the deliverability front, I'm a massive fan of http://sendgrid.com. They automate the checklist you run through, with plans starting at $10 a month. I'm a bit biased because they're fellow Techstars, but I've also been an active user for the last six months, and I'm very happy with the results.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2010 on Sweat the Small Stuff at Summation
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I think another way of putting this is that internet startups are now dominated by market risk, not technology risk. Back in 2000 just getting a site up and running was risky and expensive, just like developing a new drug. Now the engineering is a lot more routine, so you're much more likely to be killed by lack of customers and revenue than technical failures. I've talked to Eric Ries about this, and I see the Customer Development movement as a path for engineers to learn about the fundamentals of business in a way that resonates with the technical mind, to get to the market-focused approach you're talking about.
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I have to admit the first-person shooter part took me by surprise! Is it actually something more like 'violent video-games' in the contract, since otherwise GTA would seem acceptable?
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You're not missing anything, that sort of ironic sneering is the lazy man's substitute for wit, and sadly it's very acceptable in Britain. It makes it very tough to be openly passionate about getting crazy ideas off the ground, and it's the main reason I'm a lot more comfortable here in the US. I did a post talking about this kind of negativity: http://petewarden.typepad.com/searchbrowser/2009/07/you-cant-fail-if-you-dont-try-or-why-i-left-the-uk.html There are some good people in the UK fighting to change attitudes, but it's an uphill struggle against the culture.
Great 'back to basics' post. I guess the implicit argument behind a lot of the advice is that the VCs/entrepreneurs giving it see a strong correlation between the characteristics they're encouraging and making lots of money. It's worth calling out that assumption though, since then it's possible to test the evidence, eg look at companies that either made money or crashed and burnt and see how their characteristics measure up against the advice. I just submitted this to news.ycombinator.com, since I think there's an interesting discussion to be had here.
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