The best solutions and the worst mistakes of Internet startups (part two)

    The best and worst decisions (part two).

    ( Part One ).

    Mark Fletcher : I asked many successful Internet entrepreneurs about what they learned by opening and supporting the work of their Internet companies. I asked about their best solutions and worst mistakes, and got a lot of practical answers. Here is the second series of answers - from Mark Kanter, Greg Linden and Mark Moore.

    Mark Kanter (Marc Canter).

    Mark Kanter founded MacroMind, later renamed Macromedia. He had a great influence on the nascent "multimedia industry" in the late 80s - early 90s. Since then, Mark has worked in the areas of scalable content, interactive television and what is now called “Ajax” - all this during the dot-com era. Since 2001, Mark has been developing the idea of ​​“structuring a digital lifestyle aggregation” and helping to create open standards in social networks and blogging. Mark is the CEO of Broadband Mechanics . He runs a blog called “The Voice of Mark .”

    My best decision : I must say that, as an entrepreneur, every day I am convinced that the decisions I make on a hunch are the most correct. When it came to terms, preplanning what would happen or where there would be the most money, I was always 10 years ahead of everyone. So the question was how to slow yourself down, and be prepared for the time when the rest of the world appears on the horizon. This is exactly what is happening today with social networks in the field of open source.

    My worst mistake: Rely on community efforts and let this interfere with my internal visions of future milestones. This served as an obstacle to success. You cannot rely on free labor. You have to pay people to work for you. This is the only way to get ready-made code.

    Greg Linden (Greg Linden).

    Greg is the founder of Findory, a service that uses personal information about a person to help readers find information that they would otherwise have missed. Prior to that, Greg worked at Amazon, where he wrote a recommendation module and led the team that developed the personalization system for the site. Greg runs the Geeking with Greg blog .

    Work on the task whose solution you would like to see. If you do this, you will feel inspired every day, no matter what happens. I liked the task that Findory tried to solve - to help people find the information they needed by studying the behavior of each person - and I received satisfaction from every minute I worked in the company.

    Be careful, but not too much. Looking back, I think I was too thrifty starting up Findory. Budget planning is an equation with death from lack of resources at one maximum and death from squandering money in another. “Findory” spent money very economically for a long time, but at the same time experienced a lack of resources, slow growth, restrictions in hiring new people and in the development path.

    Mark Moore (Mark Moore).

    Mark Moore is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of One True Media , where he is now responsible for the overall concept, business and product strategy, as well as the team and projects necessary for this work. Prior to that, Mark was among the founders of three startups -, MilleCom, and Diba, Inc, where he selected successful development teams. While working for Oracle, Mark began his career developing a media server core and database ( author note: I am an investor in One True Media ).

    The best solution : I convince everyone that the best solution for a startup is not to interrupt the release of the product, collect feedback and quickly repeat the cycle. I understand that not all companies are able to work in this mode (some require more time to create and develop due to difficulties with their products, etc.), but the closer you can work with this method, the more you have chances of success. In my case, I found that your initial idea of ​​a business plan is incorrect after 6 months. Therefore, start as soon as possible - present your product on the market, and only then you can start writing a real business plan that will work and that has already been tested. Good luck to those entrepreneurs who want to become inconspicuous for a year - make sure that you are financed by one more.

    Biggest mistake: Oh, the list is very long. So, I would say that one of my biggest mistakes was the conclusion of partnership agreements while the company was just starting its work. Each entrepreneur will be happy to sign a contract with a large company, which gives him access to a huge market, or simply provides a solid income for the company. The problem is that there is no free cheese. Large companies simply will not open up great opportunities for a small company. And if they do this, they will first make sure that they will have the lion's share of the proceeds (or that they will be able to replace the startup with their own). In most cases, this relationship deceives expectations, because they don’t work (it’s just an experiment for a large company and due to lack of effort it ends in failure) and at the same time they can be a big distraction for a startup that is just getting on its feet. Therefore, my advice - beware of large partners - they know their business very well and will not just feed you free cheese. There are exceptions to this rule, but they are few in number - just make sure you get something valuable in return from your partner before moving on.

    Thanks again to Greg and the two Marks. We continue the series next week.

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