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Articles in the Featured Category

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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 …

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 …

Articles, Featured, Guest Posts »

[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 …

Articles, Featured »

[1 Dec 2010]
How to Handle the Startup Dip

I read The Dip by Seth Godin a few weeks ago.  For those not familiar with The Dip, Godin’s book helps you figure out when it’s time to quit.  In a typical startup, there will be many dips.  I define a dip as anything that makes you question what you’re doing.  Have 1,000 visitors to your website last week and not 1 signup?  That’s a dip.  Send your startup link to a friend with excitement only to receive “advice” that your idea stinks and you should get a full time job? …

Featured, Guest Posts »

[29 Nov 2010]
Finding the Right Startup Attorney by Process of Elimination

This is a guest post by Roman R. Fichman, ESQ, who practices in the areas of business and technology law. Founders Block would like to thank Roman for sharing his perspective regarding the entrepreneurs search for the right startup attorney.
There is plenty of advice out there on how to find a startup attorney. Most such advice is pretty generic, for example: “ask other startups for a recommendation” or “interview several attorneys.” If an entrepreneur needs this type of advice then a bankruptcy attorney rather than a startup attorney would be …

Featured, Interviews, Misc. »

[17 Nov 2010]
Advice from “The Pitch Doctor”

McAdory “Mac” Lipscomb, operating partner at RRE Ventures, is often referred to as “the pitch doctor” around the VC community in New York. Mr. Lipscomb brings extensive corporate management experience to RRE, with senior level positions held at Accenture, Showtime Networks, and WorldSpace – the first global satellite direct radio broadcaster (leading the joint venture strategy that created XM Satellite Radio). Mr. Lipscomb also spent time working on Presidential campaigns on both side of the aisle during his 12 years in Washington D.C.
Mr. Lipscomb was kind enough to take part …

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) …