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November 16 2007

olivertaco

Negotiating (or Not) Your Term Sheet

Whatever your company does there is someone doing something fundamentally similar (from the perspective of a VC building a portfolio of companies). So, ceteris paribus, VC's will always invest in the management team that is willing to sign the worst contract. 

How you feeling about that termsheet now?

November 15 2007

olivertaco

Venture Capital Term Sheets: What They Really Mean

Many entrepreneurs view their first round of funding as the end game for their startup. They’re so excited by the prospect of “big money” that they don’t look at the long term implications of selling their soul. Many entrepreneurs view their first round of funding as the end game for their startup. They’re so excited by the prospect of “big money” that they don’t look at the long term implications of selling their soul.
olivertaco

Stackranking Saves Startups

Stackranking is a valuable tool, simple to use, and it helps you concentrate on the very specific parts of a project. I do it because it helps me decide what criteria use to identify what to concentrate on. I like to stackrank pieces of my project by importance, cost, and risk. And I want a name on every piece so, in my head, I know who should know the answers.

November 14 2007

olivertaco

How Can You Join A Successful Startup?

Got a quarter? Flip it twelve times and call it every time. Get ‘em all? Then you can easily choose the successful startup when you interview. More seriously here are your options…..
olivertaco

Zen Focus

Yep, that makes no sense at all, yet that is what you have to have to be successful in a small business. Eyes in the back of your head and the ability to predict your competitors moves in advance are handy too. But Focus is really the only thing you have the ability to develop - that other stuff is more art than craft. Like good poker, really.

November 12 2007

olivertaco

Replan Projects to Look Less Stupid

Ah, plans are wonderful things - if only reality were more sensitive towards the tender ego of the planner! In twenty five years of planning projects I’ve never had anything with a horizon longer than three months and three people actually work.  So why have I been successful?
olivertaco

ShutterFly - Why MBA’s are Evil

Ok, that is a broad statement, but ShutterFly has an MBA driven feature that has made me so mad I got up out of bed early on a Saturday to write about it: Once you load your pictures in you can’t get them back out.
olivertaco

Terminate Projects to Stay Healthy

It may seem very Ah-nold to manage a company that way, but killing a project is better than killing your company. From Valdocs (yes, I am that old) to the FAA’s almost killing us all with 12x over budget software - we all can tell stories, and we’ve all had a hand in real train wreck stuff. It may seem very Ah-nold to manage a company that way, but killing a project is better than killing your company. From Valdocs (yes, I am that old) to the FAA’s almost killing us all with 12x over budget software - we all can tell stories, and we’ve all had a hand in real train wreck stuff.

November 09 2007

olivertaco

Google Hates Us

We came up with several domain name options for our new company and surprisingly, Promote-My-Site.com was available. So we grabbed it. But no Google love after a month.  We took a look at the wayback machine and we found that this was pretty much a sponsored listings page. Great. We bought a spam domain.

November 07 2007

olivertaco

Only Try to Predict the Near Future

Most projects suffer from a Catch-22. They really run on politics, not engineering.
olivertaco

You Can Only Save Time Early

No, not daylight savings time (which I hate, but only because it messes up the kids sleep) but early in a project is the only time where you can put some time in the Oh Crap Bank & Trust.  Really, you know it's true.

November 05 2007

olivertaco

Extend Your Runway

When you were learning to drive, did your dad ever tell you to "brake early" or "shorten your sails before you dock?"  Man, I just wanted the GO pedal and loud rock.  I think your first startup is like that as well.  Quit your job, hock your house, cancel your healthcare, work 1000 hours a week, and spend your money before your IPO.  Then you run out of money, layoff everyone, and go back to work at your old job, slightly embarrassed at what a yerk you must look.  But, oh, my, a little pause at critical points can really avoid a lot of that.
olivertaco

Planning Saves You Time

I'm not talking about the futile and overly detailed planning that takes place in most corporations.  You know the kind: 80 meetings to determine the best rollout schedule for a new version of Norton Antivirus.  Or, god forbid, the hundreds of thousands of hours spent trying to figure how to implement the next version of SAP.  But planning can save YOU time if you do it right - and it doesn't even have to be boring.

November 03 2007

olivertaco

Time is your enemy

“The time crunch in a big company feels slower than in a small one, but that is the difference between hitting an iceberg in an ocean liner and a telephone pole in a Ferrari.  It's an illusion.  There is never enough time.”  I really like that line – it's all a great read.

November 02 2007

olivertaco

Welcome message

Initial thoughts on what we're about....

November 01 2007

olivertaco
Back during the salad days of Web 1.0, raising $1M to try out an idea wasn't an impossible task.  VCs were throwing money at business plans written on paper napkins (or so it seemed).  They were able to flip these questionable ideas to a willing public through extremely lucrative IPOs, so everyone was happy.
— Me
olivertaco

Social Networking Tools

Hmm, hard to describe something before launch.

I will just say that it will be very very handy.
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