Another startup culture bash was making the rounds, this time about a common term in the startup world - "getting shit done", and what a terrible mentality it is to have. Disclaimer - I know the author personally, as him and I were at the same 500startups batch this summer, and I also consider him a good friend. But I think he's completely off on this one.
Archive for the ‘Startups’ Category
Everybody and their grandma is now a "Growth Hacker", a term originally coined to describe marketers who use unconventional approaches and measure their effectiveness with analytics instead of gut feelings. In fact, apparently everyone who uses multiple marketing channels is now a "growth hacker".
As someone who is on the other side of the table, looking to hire someone to drive growth to his business, I have a newsflash for you - nobody cares about the exact classification and semantics of your title.
What Growth Hacking Means To Startups
Startups are designed for growth. Not every company needs to grow fast - most businesses don't. Startups use technology to achieve scale rapidly - that is the most common definition of what a startup is.
As such, traditional marketing - while very important and required, is typically not enough. That means that in order for a startup to achieve its goals, a different distribution approach is often required. Enter, Growth Hacking.
As such, growth hacking is not
AngelList recently launched a new feature called syndicates. In simple terms, it allows investors to get behind other investors and invest together as a group (termed a syndicate). The investor who facilitated the deal takes a carry of 15% (interest over a positive return - such as an exit or IPO) - not unlike VCs. In fact, this structure effectively turns angels into fund managers.
Many investors already chimed in, such as Jason Calacanis (The great venture capital rotation), as a syndicate "leader", and Hunter Walk (Angel vs. Angel), Fred Wilson (Leading vs. Following) and Mark Suster (Is it a big deal?) as VCs. But what does it mean for startup founders?
A recent interview with Ycombintator's Paul Graham on Inc. created somewhat of a backlash online for his comments on using startup founders' accent as a filtering criteria for future success.
.@paulg so you're saying that your statement in English wasn't clear enough to be properly understood?
— Anil Dash (@anildash) August 27, 2013
(You should click over to the original tweet to see the long discussion thread that ensued)
The original quote was:
One quality that's a really bad indication is a CEO with a strong foreign accent. I'm not sure why. It could be that there are a bunch of subtle things entrepreneurs have to communicate and can't if you have a strong accent. Or, it could be that anyone with half a brain would realize you're going to be more successful if you speak idiomatic English, so they must just be clueless if they haven't gotten rid of their strong accent. I just know it's a strong pattern we've seen.
Paul makes two points:
In a previous post, I wrote about why and how you should join the 500startups accelerator (or any premier accelerator program, for that matter). I briefly mentioned that I've been given access to provide opinion on applications for the next batch (Fall 2013), as a 500startups program alumni.
To date, I've reviewed close to 300 startup applications, likely more than anyone else with review access on this batch, so far (to be clear - each application would be reviewed by multiple people before a decision, sometimes as many as 30). A running joke in the office is one of the 500startups staff walking near my desk and asking me "don't you have a company to run?" or "don't you get tired of reviewing those applications?". I'll have the last laugh though, because they will have to go through all of those applications eventually, where as I can just skip the ones that are not a clear yes or no.
Reviewing startups turns out to be somewhat addicting. I keep hoping the next application would blow me away, and it will be an easy upvote, but unfortunately most are not. From reviewing all those applications, I think that most people are not clear on what the top accelerators look for in companies. So in favor of openness and in the hopes of helping someone out there increase their chances of getting accepted, here are a few rules of thumb for being attractive to startup accelerator (or even VCs):