Ellis Island for Entrepreneurs – SVStartup.com

Silicon Valley has long been the destination for entrepreneurs looking to live the American Dream by building something in their free time, taking lots of VC money, and cashing out a billion dollars in stock options. Yet there's a lack of information on the basics of how to go about doing that.

Even for US entrepreneurs, many aren't even sure what neighborhood they should live in let alone how to go about meeting Mark Zuckerberg. Move to Silicon Valley? Or San Francisco Proper? (Hint: Not the Tenderloin!)

That's why when Jonathan Nelson from Hackers and Founders suggested that we needed a wiki for entrepreneurs moving to the San Francisco Bay area, I jumped on it as one of my Four Startups in Four Weeks.

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Eat Your Own Dog Food

Yesterday it occurred to me that although I'd been diligently conducting customer development and diligently using my own site, I had missed something important. Sure, I've been browsing the new ideas, making comments, looking for interesting projects I might contribute to, but was I really using our own platform the way it was intended?

No.

I hadn't bothered to use startupSQUARE the platform to ask for advice on where startupSQUARE the business should go from here. That'll change now.

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Startup Weekend Lesson Learned #2 – Customer Development

(Continued from Startup Weekend Lesson Learned #1)

Ok...this is less of a lessons learned and more of an outright challenge.

At the last Startup Weekend (#swmobile) the team I joined was called KissMobs. As far as I'm aware, we are the only Startup Weekend team ever to finish the weekend cash flow positive. It could be there are others, I don't have the stats and I'll let Franck correct me on this one. We also didn't pay ourselves any salaries and my dividend totaled enough for a cup of coffee. A bad cup of coffee.

Still, every team coming out of Startup Weekend should have this as a goal: A SALE

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Reverse Customer Development a.k.a. Thank God for Early Adopters

This week I was incredibly excited to be ambushed at Startup Waffles by a couple of users who told me how many things we needed to fix in order to make the site usable. All of the points were right on.

What thrilled me about the conversation with Ron and Eugene was that they were passionate enough about the concept of startupSQUARE to put up with all the problems and open enough to talk to me about it. I can't stress enough how important the feedback we keep receiving is. Our site needs a commitment to feedback and constant improvement in order to be a great resource for entrepreneurs.

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$3.95? We’re Rich! First Revenue During Alpha Testing

On Friday, I received this welcome email:

Subject: Sale - Entrepreneurs Guide to CustDev- ID:5777670 Entrepreneur's Guide to CustDev eBook

You have earned an affiliate fee of 3.95 USD for the sale (ID:5777670-686=
2856) of Entrepreneur's Guide to CustDev eBook on Thu May 27 2010 23:52:3=
9 MST.

Sincerely,
Entrepreneurs Guide to CustDev

startupSQUARE, having not yet progressed to beta testing, now has revenue! Granted, a very small amount of revenue. Why?

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First Dates and One Night Stands for Co-Founders

Before you and your co-founders step up to the alter and say "I do", it's a good idea to get to know each other a little first. Maybe even play a little footsie.

I've been searching and searching for good advice on the subject and consistently come up empty. There's plenty of advice on how to split up equity, qualities to look for in a co-founder, and even the occasional article on places to go to find entrepreneurs.

Why is there zero information on how to vet them?

The typical article seems to suggest a good conversation will do the trick, presumably because you've just dosed your co-founder with sodium pentathol and wired him to a lie detector.

While there's no perfect answer for this, just as there's no perfect first date, I'd like to suggest a few options.

(For the record: The perfect first date is always in black tie. Everyone looks good in a tux.)

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