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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 …

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[13 Apr 2011]

Knowing the audience for your startup is crucial. Great feedback from the wrong audience can take you in the complete wrong direction.
Although I originally targeted Easy Unsubscriber as a productivity tool for tech savvy users, I quickly found that it was much more popular with the older, less tech savvy crowd. Indicator #1 was that over 60% of my visitors use Internet Explorer. Indicator #2 was these are the users who actually call you when you put your phone number on the website.
Originally, I was planning for …

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[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 …

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[10 Mar 2011]
Let’s Bring Some Ass Kicking To Boston

Jason Evanish is Right.  There’s not enough ass kicking in Boston.
I want to change that.
Jason suggested that we all need to be more critical of one another’s startups.  While I think this is true, we also all need to motivate and help one another as much as possible.  Boston startups need honest criticism.  Boston startups need positive motivation.  And Boston startups need to actively help one another.  This is the type of environment that helps peer groups such as Tech Stars and YCombinator Succeed.  I want to create this type …

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[8 Mar 2011]
Andrew Warner, Ramit Sethi, and Noah Kagan Are Doing it Right

The number one reason to be an entrepreneur is to gain independence.  It’s to be able to come to work as you please.  It’s to be able to do a great job in your own eyes and the eyes of your customers.
These guys are doing it right.
Ramit Sethi (Earn1K)- He helps people get out of debt and make money.
Andrew Warner (Mixergy)- He helps people learn the ins & outs of entrepreneurship
Noah Kagan (AppSumo)- He helps people get great deals on software and web apps.
Here’s what these guys have in common:
1.) …

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[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 …

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[4 Jan 2011]

Many lean startup founders don’t know how to optimize google adwords correctly.
Whenever I start a new project, I put adwords up after I have an MVP ready. My goals are to spend the minimum amount per impression and to keep the price relatively low.
Google uses an algorithm with Adwords that helps maximize its revenues. It want Ads that are clicked on so they can bring in revenue. Because of this, they use an algorithm that forces advertisers to charge more per advertisement to get to a higher …

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[15 Dec 2010]

…at least when you’re working with Adwords.
Today is the first time I’ve worked with adwords in almost a year and they are still sneaky with their bid “recommendations”.  They suggested I bid $1.25 per click. I remember them being sneaky two years ago, so I decided to low ball them with a 20 cent bid. Of course, the “your bid is too low” errors followed on the keywords page. But it didn’t tell me I needed to bid $1.25 to get on the first page of results, …

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[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 …

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[9 Dec 2010]
Seed Fund Reject Still a Ne’er-do-well

This is a guest post by Walter Chen, co-founder of Leasely.  Below he muses over his experiences applying for the Y Combinator & Tech Stars seed funding programs.
Before our Y Combinator interview, Rodrigo, Nathan, Silas and I bummed around in a park.  We each tried to find our zen place, I guess.  I think Nathan was asleep.  The night before, Silas snored like a bear and Nathan proposed that we drink bottles of Guinness.  I don’t think any of us slept well, Silas aside.  Rodrigo got up early to finish some …