Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Interviews and Recruiting for Startups

Matt Bradley, FundingUniverse.com's unstoppable Jedi Knight Sales Ninja, and I were chatting today about the dearth of conversation taking place about hiring and interviewing in start-ups.

We all know that one of the most important elements of a successful start-up is the team. The best entrepreneurs surround themselves with people that are smarter than they are. Every text book in every b-school in the country addresses the importance of getting "A players" on your team, but rarely do you find practical advice about how to find them and how to interview them.

Josh James shared some valuable "Hire slow, fire fast" advice at a MWCN luncheon I attended, and Paul Allen has some creative ideas as well. The Workforce.com daily newsletter has some great tips too.

Do you have any hiring/team building tips for entrepreneurs? What's the best interview question you've asked/been asked?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Free Lunch!!

If you don't get a new idea or two out of these two links, I'll buy you lunch.

Intuit Fails Towards Success -- Intuit has a "Swing for the Fences" award for ideas that fail.

Nine Keys to Fostering Innovation (podcast) -- Speech by Marissa Mayer, Google's VP of Search (Thanks Trent!) Products and User Experience

Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rockin' the iPod

I finally caught up with everyone else on the planet: I got myself a nifty little iPod mini, and I'm looking for a few good podcasts to put on it.

Here's a sample of the podcasts I subscribe to so far:

The Businessjive Podcast (Big shout to fellow ProvoLabanite Judd Bagley for putting on the illest business podcast on the web!)
The FundingUniverse.com Podcast
The Negotiation Tip Podcast
Venture Voice
HBR Ideacast

What podcasts are you listening to?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

LinkedIn Kicks it Up a Notch

Is it just me, or has LinkedIn totally stepped it up over the past few months?

The site is a great case study on harnessing the power of human nature to increase usership.

Every time a user logs in, she can see how many of her contacts have gained new connections. This simple feature makes the user frequent LinkedIn because

1) We're competitive. If so-and-so can add connections, so can I.
2) We follow the crowd. If so-and-so is actively seeking connections, I should be too.
3) We want to be seen. Everytime I add a connection, everyone in my network knows.

We are also insecure. We need to know that we are appreciated and important. LinkedIn gives its users quantifiable means of confirming their "coolness". If a LinkedIn user ever feels a tinge of self-doubt, he can look on his LinkedIn account and see 5, 50 or 500 connections that say he's cool.

We are lazy. LinkedIn's updated UI makes it insanely easy to add connections, solicit endorsements (Big shout to my peeps who gave me LinkedIn props last week!) and subscribe to premium services.

Anyhow, if you're into internet marketing and you haven't analyzed LinkedIn lately, it's worth a look.

(Speaking of LinkedIn, I got an endorsement from NimbleIt.com CEO Jeff Barson last week. In addition to being a great entrepreneur, my man is hilarious. Note: I haven't seen a single episode of Queer Eye, I haven't exercised in months, and my mother says I eat like a vacuum. Everything else in Jeff's endorsement is true.

Jeff is a muscular and powerful man. He would be an asset to any business if only for his keen sense of fashion. It's been rumored that he's TIVOed every episode of Queer Eye. Having seen Jeff at many functions with his hair standing on end, I avow that he chews with his mouth closed. Jeff's sense of humor is legendary, having a reputation for using a high-powered super-soaker to squirt every boss he's worked for in the crotch before important presentations. Work with Jeff and this could be you. (He also pays fast on Ebay.)

Friday, May 19, 2006

UtahBloggers Get Together

If you live in Utah and you blog, you should be at the Utah Bloggers networking event on June 13th at the Larry H. Miller Innovation Center. The event will run from 6:30 - 9pm.

Based on what I heard, it's gonna be straight crunk.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Another Blogger Gives JetBlue Props

So I was working on my laptop at JFK a couple of weeks ago and I had to step away from my machine for a moment. I asked the woman sitting next to me if she would watch my laptop until I returned. She seemed trustworthy (40-year-old Utah mom) so I kidded her about stealing my gear. Her reply was suprising:

"Oh, don't worry! You can trust me ... I'm a Jetblue employee."

When I returned, she couldn't stop herself from spouting off about the True Blue program (Jetblue's rewards program), how much she loved working at Jetblue, and how much she enjoyed her job.

How does Jetblue do it?

Brock Blake Cracks v100

Big shout out to FundingUniverse.com CEO Brock Blake and all of the others who made this year's V Spring v100, a prestigious list of Utah entrepreneurs in the biotech and technology sectors.

I share an office with Brock, and I can say without reservation that my man is more than deserving of the recognition that he gets. Way to be, bro!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Angel Investors Rock!

I gained a greater appreciation for angel investors at the Angel Capital Association's education conference in NYC last week. I blogged about it at the FundingUniverse.com blog.

Here's the link.

Angel Investors -- Save us from the bubble!

For the past year or so, I've heard countless experts and analysts talk about the return of the internet bubble (Gasp!). They say that the stocks and valuations of technology companies are way too high and the whole thing is going to come crumbling down as soon as we all wake up and smell the coffee.

As a shareholder in a promising internet company, I fear the bubble. The last thing I want is to see the hard work of internet cowboys everywhere go to pot.

The burden of preventing the bubble from forming, growing and bursting rests partially on the shoulders of angel investors and VC's. As long as they continue to give reasonable valuations, the bubble stays safely full but not over-inflated. If they let things get out of hand, we can all consider ourselves Netscaped (read dead).

So to all of you angel investors out there: Please don't over-pay for internet companies. Don't let the Google/MySpace/YouTube excitement cloud good judgment. If you let things get out of hand, you lose money and our hard work becomes worthless.

Social Capital

I propose that we ban the words "social capital" from our business vocabularies.

"Aquiring social capital" is a phrase I've heard used to describe the process of making friends with people in order to increase the size of one's business network, and therefore increase one's ability to do business with, and in some cases, connect others.

Every time I hear someone talk about social capital, I find myself questioning their motives with regard to their relationship with me. "Is this guy really interested in what I do, or is he just looking for another LinkedIn connection to quantify his social capital?" I don't want to be anyone's social capital. I just want to be partners, friends or both -- not just a notch in the belt of some social climber.

I'm not writing this post because I think everyone who has referenced social capital has a hidden agenda. In fact, most of them are awesome people with legitimate, sincere desires to help others as they grow their network.

Steering clear of terms like social capital simply eliminates the risk of potential friends misinterpreting your intentions.