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[25 Apr 2011]
Is Your Ideal Domain Name Already Taken? Here’s What You Can Do About It

After days of heated debate with your co-founder, you finally settle on the perfect name for your startup. You go to check if the .com is available and, lo and behold, the domain is taken and being parked at Go Daddy. To add insult to injury, Go Daddy won’t even tell you who the seller is unless you fork over $75 for one of their “certified representatives” to fetch the information for you.
Sound familiar?
Every day, entrepreneurs with new ideas are discovering that the domains they’d like to build business on …

Articles, Featured »

[25 Mar 2011]
What to Consider When Hiring a Freelance Developer

We’ve all heard the story:
You’ve got a great idea for the next billion dollar company and maybe even some respectable domain expertise to back it up, but you need a prototype built in order to gain traction and attract investors and you have no idea how to code it yourself.
Your options are:
1)      Find a CTO
2)      Learn to code yourself
3)      Hire developers to build your prototype
Here are the well-known challenges with each:
1) Find a CTO
Welcome to the club. Everyone is looking to find a CTO. The supply is scarce and the …

Case Studies, Featured »

[22 Mar 2011]
Zero-Dollar Validation: Free Ways to Vet Your Startup Idea

Written for the AppSumo Lean Startup Challenge. Vote for us HERE!
If launching a startup is like jumping off a cliff and building a plane on the way down, then lean startup principles are the kiddie parachutes you deploy to buy yourself time before you hit the ground. While they’re no guarantee that you’ll land safely, they do minimize your chances of a spectacular crash and burn.
To the uninitiated, the lean startup movement advocates maximizing learning and minimizing cash burn during your search for a sustainable and scalable business model. If …

Anecdotes, Guest Posts, Headline »

[2 Feb 2011]
Why Startups Fail: An Analysis of Post-Mortems

The guys at ChubbyBrain have graciously allowed Founder’s Block to repost this analysis, originally published Jan 11th, of the top 20 reasons why startups fail.
We’ve previously highlighted the top startup failure post-mortems (32 in total) written by a group of startup entrepreneurs gracious enough to share their lessons learned from failure. Many of you read those post-mortems and asked, what are the most common reasons why these startups failed? After a thorough analysis of those 32 start-up post-mortems, we compiled this list of the top 20 causes of startup …

Articles, Featured »

[5 Jan 2011]
Want To Get Gamification Right? Build a Community First

For any consumer-facing company, attention is money. Acquiring new customers requires that you grab their interest long enough to convince them that your product  is deserving of their time and cash. Doing this effectively is expensive and elusive. Failure in both startups and storied corporations is rooted in the inability to attract new users and keep existing ones happy.
Enter gamification, the strategy du jour for increasing customer engagement and stickiness. For those unfamiliar with this buzz word, gamification is the application of gameplay mechanics to traditionally non-game activities like professional …

Articles, Featured »

[13 Dec 2010]
Going Viral on Mobile: Lessons from Social Gaming

Social gaming is a fiercely competitive industry. Just look at how quickly and widely successful models like Zynga’s Frontierville or Playdom’s Social City are ripped off by eager copycats. Even Farmville started off as a clone of another popular title, Farm Town. The rewards of cultivating a captive gaming audience certainly justify the efforts. In the past year or so, Zynga’s estimated market capitalization has risen to over $5 billion and we’ve seen traditional media companies like EA and Disney snap up social gaming companies like Playfish and Playdom for …

Headline, Lifehacks, Misc. »

[23 Nov 2010]
Are You An Expert? Share the Wisdom!

As an entrepreneur, there’s a ton of critical stuff you don’t know. Whether it’s how to incorporate, how to reach your target customers, or how to build a scalable technology framework, we are all plagued by questions that we need to answer. While tapping our personal networks and shooting a question out on Quora may sometimes teach us what we need to know, these methods don’t always lead to answers. To address this, Founder’s Block is building the Experts Exchange, an organization of entrepreneurs who are willing to share their …

Articles, Featured, Interviews »

[15 Nov 2010]
Common Misconceptions about Customer Development: An Interview with Steve Blank

At New York Entrepreneur Week, I got a chance to chat with Steve Blank before he went onstage for his keynote speech, “Why Accountants Don’t Run Startups”. The customer development methodologies that Steve pioneered have become trendy with startups, particularly in conjunction with agile development methodologies. This is no surprise, as the right application of these principles can make a business 10x more productive. Yet, despite their widespread popularity and adoption, many entrepreneurs still misunderstand the customer development process. According to Steve, here are some common misapplications of his advice:
1) …

Articles, Featured »

[27 Oct 2010]
The Gender Gap in Venture Capital

Plenty of buzz has been tossed around recently about the lack of female entrepreneurs and technologists in the startup world. Although women own 41% of privately held companies in the US, only a mere 3-5% successfully obtain venture capital. While we’ve heard many of these shocking statistics about entrepreneurs, less has been written about the equally pathetic gender ratio on the investor side of the table. As Fred Wilson recently declared at a Change the Ratio event in New York City, “the VC industry is not just dominated by white males, but arrogant …

Case Studies, Featured, Guest Posts »

[7 Oct 2010]
25 Best Startup Failure Post-Mortems

The guys at Chubby Brain have graciously allowed Founder’s Block to repost this compendium, originally published October 3rd, of some of the best startup post-mortems from the web.
We love a good entrepreneurial success story – entrepreneur as protagonist overcomes obstacles and builds a thriving, successful company (and become wealthy while doing so). We want to hear about, learn from and even replicate what they’ve done. However, this survivorship bias is problematic. Jason Cohen of Smart Bear Software does a nice job articulating this issue stating:
The fact …