The year ahead: 2011

This is going to be BIG.

There will be an estimated 50+ million tablets sold in the US in 2011, and 36 million of them will be iPads—I’m likely to be a buyer at some point before I head to Strata. This year, I’ll attend my 10 year college reunion. My oldest friend, of 25 years, is getting married. My parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I will be competing in my third triathlon and aiming to break 2:30—10 minutes faster than 2010.

2011 Valuation Survey of North American Angel Groups

Gust

Because of the interest in the 2010 survey, I decided to survey a larger number of North American angel groups this summer (2011). 2011 Angel Group Valuation Survey. Bill Payne October 2011. Here is a summary comparison of the 2011 results to last year’s survey of only 13 groups: The average valuation increased from $1.7 million in 2010 while the range is broader in 2011, from $0.8 In this 2011 survey, ten groups reported average valuation of $1.5

Insiders

Sign Up for our Newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

What Should We Make of Peter Thiel’s “20 Under 20? Education Program?

Both Sides of the Table

Several people have been asking me to weigh in publicly on the “20 under 20″ initiative announced by Peter Thiel in which he will award up to $100,000 to 20 people under the age of 20 who agree immediately to pursue entrepreneurship (the implication of which is that they’d drop out of university to do so). Thiel and friends will also agree to mentor these young entrepreneurs. Here is their inaugural class. So is this a good idea? My 2 cents: 1.

9 Women Can’t Make a Baby in a Month

Both Sides of the Table

Those of us that are willing to admit that we fawked things up in the first dot-com explosion and learned from our mistakes have the battle wounds to make more pragmatic decisions in 2011. This post originally appeared on TechCrunch. I’m a very big proponent of the “lean startup movement&# as espoused by Steve Blank & Eric Ries.

A Few Key People Really Can Make a Huge Difference

Both Sides of the Table

This article originally ran on TechCrunch. I’m in Seattle this week. People keep asking me if I’ve “seen anything interesting.&# Of course I have. I’m an entrepreneur at heart so I’m always inspired when I hear stories about innovation. I really liked BigDoor, MediaPiston, OpsCode, BuddyTV, SEOMoz and much more. Can’t list them all. But I’m not here trolling for deals.

How I Use Visualization to Drive Creativity

Both Sides of the Table

Creativity. I’ve always believed it’s been one of the most important attributes of business success yet something very few business leaders talk about. So I thought I’d write a post about how I drive my personal creativity. (A A slightly shorter version of this post originally appeared on TechCrunch ).

Lead, Follow or Get the Fuck Out of the Way

Both Sides of the Table

Today’s post courtesy of the Dave McClure school of vocabulary. About a month ago I was meeting with a seasoned entrepreneur. After 10 minutes I felt like we were old buddies because we had both been through the trenches of startup tech land and had had similar experiences. He was recounting one of his higher profile startups to me. He founded the company, raised a bunch of money, built the product and established a good reputation and market position.

Technology Trends: 10 Areas of Innovation to Watch for 2012

This is going to be BIG.

Tweet. One of the best things any investor can do is to pull back from the day to day of getting pitches and think about high level trends. What areas are going to change? What areas need to be disrupted? What types of things might happen in 2012, as opposed to needing another 3-5 years to come to fruition.

Your Product Needs to be 10x Better than the Competition to Win. Here’s Why:

Both Sides of the Table

Last night I had the great privilege to interview Bill Gross , one of the Internet’s true pioneers. To say he has had an impact on the web would be an understatement. His impact has even helped a small country gain admission to the United Nations. All of that are in this week’s episode of This Week in VC. Summary notes, as always, provide below. It was a pleasure to write them myself. Overture (Goto.com). He invented the category of sponsored search.

Don't Forget Brooklyn: NYU's plan for the old MTA headquarters needs to happen

This is going to be BIG.

Seemingly to save face, Stanford pulled out of NYC's Applied Sciences initiative to build a world-class engineering school last week. At the same time, Cornell got an anonymous $350 million donation to move forward with it's proposal--and rumor has it that the Mayor will announce Cornell's victory as soon as today. I have no doubt that any new school dedicated to engineering will be a good thing in New York City--one that I will fully support.

Should Startups Focus on Profitability or Not?

Both Sides of the Table

While Google and Facebook will buy “acquihires” (at least as of Dec 2011), many acquirers hate the idea of buying companies that aren’t profitable. There are certain topics that even some of the best journalists can’t fully grok. One of them is profitability. I find it amusing when a journalist writes an article about a prominent startup (either privately held or preparing for an IPO) and decries that, “They’re not even profitable!”

Tradeoffs in Innovative Careers

This is going to be BIG.

Tweet. This is the first of a series of posts this week on careers in innovation and startups--sort of a thought exercise for me on the topic for my talk at General Assembly at 8PM on 12/15. With any company I work with, I inevitably play the role or recruiter--mostly because I often play the role of career counselor to friends and other folks in the community. I've been thinking about career paths for a long time.

Why Aren’t There More Female Entrepreneurs?

Both Sides of the Table

I’m often asked the question about why there aren’t more women who are entrepreneurs. On my blog I’ve been hesitant to take the topic head on. Somehow it seems kind of strange for a man to answer this question that obviously comes from a man’s point of view. But last week I noticed a blog post by a woman, Tara Tiger Brown, that asked the question, “ Why Aren’t More Women Commenting on VC Blog Posts? ” [it's short, you should read it].

Future of TV: The Quick Version

Both Sides of the Table

I recently gave a talk about the Future of Television. I’m still planning to write some in depth pieces on the topic but I thought, “given that this is about how video will consume the Internet over the next 5 years, what better way to exemplify this than with a 10-minute video.” ” Here’s a link to watch it or click the image below. Sorry for speaking so quickly. I was given the impossible task of covering this in just 10 minutes.

The Importance of The Narrative

Both Sides of the Table

I went to undergrad at UCSD, which is not a place known for its Greek institutions and my father grew up in South America and had know idea what a fraternity was. So I went to college with no expectation that I would ever join a fraternity let alone aspire to become president one day. Yet being in a fraternity was one of the most transformative experiences I had in college and prepared me better for becoming an entrepreneur than any class that I took.

Careers in Tech Startups & Innovation: What will I learn?

This is going to be BIG.

Jennie Baird left a comment on Monday's post about learning from each job and I think that is of the most critical importance. If you're not considering how this next job will make you a better contributor to the job after it, and so on, then you're failing to adequately assess the ROI of your time in a new position. It's something I'll be talking about at General Assembly later this month. With any position, I think that if you're not going to strive to be world class, what's the point?

The End of the Web? Don’t Bet on It. Here’s Why

Both Sides of the Table

Fred Wilson recently posted a great video on his blog with the CEO of Forrester Research, George Colony. The money slide is the graphic below. The chart shows three scarce resources and their improvements over time. The top line is available storage (S), the middle line represents processing power (following Moore’s law) or (P) and the bottom line is the Network (N). In it he asserts that the web is dying and in its ashes will see the rise of the “App Internet.”

Understanding Changes in the Software & Venture Capital Industries

Both Sides of the Table

In this three-part series I will explore the ways that the Venture Capital industry has changed over the past 5 years that I would argue are a direct result of changes in the software industry, not the other way around. Specifically, Amazon has changed our entire industry in profound ways often not attributed strongly enough to them. I believe the changes to the industry will be lasting rather than temporal change.

You Need to Win the Battle for Share of Mind

Both Sides of the Table

So as I get around the country speaking at college campus in 2010 & 2011 I have been preaching the same theme. But what I do see in the market in 2011 is way too many “me too&# solutions where a bunch of founders have brainstormed a way to do a better GroupOn, a better GiltGroupe, a better Twitter or a better Quora. This article first appeared on TechCrunch. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the proliferation of starutps in the past 2 years.

The Harder I Work, The Luckier I Get

Both Sides of the Table

That’s how it felt then and a bit how it feels in May 2011. And 18 months later, in May 2011, I have crossed 422,000 views. Overnight success. It’s one of the biggest myths in the tech industry. It’s a ongoing struggle to overcome this bias. I say “struggle to overcome&# because I care about young people entering our industry with a set of realistic expectations about what “normal&# is.

advice 312

How the New York City innovation community can still lose (and what you can do about it)

This is going to be BIG.

There isn’t a single person in the NYC that is more excited than I am about how far we’ve come. As a Brooklyn native who has never lived outside the five boroughs—and someone who left Big Finance—I feel a special kind of pride over what’s gone on here in the last six+ years. But I am also someone who is very colored by my past experience of seeing the venture implosion after the first bubble and walking through the fundraising tumbleweed of late 2008.

Stock Market Drops. Then It Rallies. What Happens Next for Funding?

Both Sides of the Table

2010 was the year of the “super angel&# and 2011 has to date been the year of unbelievably highly priced B,C & D rounds of venture capital. 2011. August 2011. This article was originally published on TechCrunch. Venture Capitalists typically have partners’ meetings on Mondays. Why is that? Who knows. But probably because as a group we travel a lot.

Pacific Crest’s 2011 SaaS Survey

For Entrepreneurs

Pacific Crest, an investment banking firm with a strong focus on SaaS, has surveyed a 70 SaaS companies with very interesting results. There is some great data on topics such as growth rates, cost of customer acquisition, churn/retention, expense models, capital efficiency, etc. The full survey, which was put together by David Spitz and his team [.]. Building for Success SaaS CAC SaaS churn SaaS pricing

SaaS 131

The Coming Brick Wall in Venture Capital & Why This is Good for US Innovation

Both Sides of the Table

This is the final part of a 3-part series on the major changes in the structure of the software & the venture capital industries. The series started here if you want to read from the start. Or the Cliff Note’s version: Open Source & Cloud Computing (led by Amazon) drove down tech startup costs by 90%. The result was a massive increase in startups & a whole group of new funding sources: both angels & “micro VCs&#.

Why Startups Need to Blog (and what to talk about …)

Both Sides of the Table

This post originally ran on TechCrunch. Blogs. We all read them to get a sense of what is going on in the world, peeling back layers of the old world in which media was too scripted. By definition, you read blogs. But should you actually write one if you’re a startup, an industry figure (lawyer, banker) or VC? Absofuckinglutely. This is a post to help you figure out why you should write and what you should talk about.

Learn to code? How about learn to sell!

This is going to be BIG.

Tweet. There are a lot of reasons not to like the space that Publicstuff is in. The company sells to local governments, real estate management companies, educational institutions--anyone responsible for public or private infrastructure. That alone is enough to make a lot of VCs throw up a little in their mouths. Slow sales cycles. Joe and Mary Bureaucrat who don't even use the internet because Smalltown, USA blocks it as the decisionmakers. Ugh, right? Except that its working.

On Bubbles … And Why We’ll Be Just Fine

Both Sides of the Table

But when it’s all over and they define the era of this mini run up in stock prices I suspect they’ll include 2011 in the “over valued&# category. This post originally ran on TechCrunch. I recently spoke at the Founder Showcase at the request of Adeo Ressi. I asked what the audience most needed to hear. He said, “They need an unbiased view of the fund raising environment because there is too much misinformation and everything seems to be changing fast.&#.

Master of Customer Acquisition, Matt Coffin, On Startups …

Both Sides of the Table

Matt was one of my inspirations behind Launchpad LA (yes, we’re going to have a program in 2011 – news very, very soon). I recently sat down with Matt Coffin , the founder of LowerMyBills, which sold for $400 million but was very nearly a bankruptcy only a few years early, and talked “startups.&#. Matt is one of the most transparent, focused & honest startup guys you’ll meet.

Lessons for Brooklyn: Information Spillover at the Roots of NYC Tech

This is going to be BIG.

With all of this news about Brooklyn 's tech scene , I've been thinking a lot about what made the NYC innovation community grow so quickly. Talk of buildings and incubators reminded me of the story of Building 20 from "Where Good Ideas Come From". ".Legendary

How Tech People Can Make a Difference in the Lives of Under-Privileged Children

Both Sides of the Table

I’d like to start by asking each of you to consider helping under-privileged children in America get a little bit more than they have today. Sure, you can give a small amount of money. Even $10. Please. It’s better than zero. You can combine that with supporting Fred & Joanne Wilson. (if if you click no other links on theis site click that one). But even more valuable if you don’t have much money to give is to give your creativity or your programming time.

Avoid Monoculture. Travel. Read Widely. Let Experience be Your Compass.

Both Sides of the Table

I sometimes feel that the Silicon Valley culture and we as technologists more broadly can breed monoculture in our approach to entrepreneurship, problem solving, market analysis and technology solutions. Experiences way beyond any hack-a-thon, startup blog or your current company engagement can enrich your thinking and challenge you to think more broadly about the solutions you offer in the market.

Spolsky on Software on Both Sides of The Table

Both Sides of the Table

Sometime around 2003/04 my technology team turned me on to “Spolsky on Software&# a periodic newsletter served up blog style from Joel Spolsky of FogCreek Software, a maker of bug-tracking software. Blogs weren’t popularized yet so it was an oddity for me to read the founder of a software company spewing out advice. But I loved reading them and so did my team. So it was a thrill for me last month to be able to have dinner with Joel and shoot the breeze.

Why Did I Invest in the Company Pose?

Both Sides of the Table

What a sweet feeling it was last week to see the launch of the photo sharing site Pose , whose application targets shoppers of apparel. If you don’t know it and own an iPhone (soon Android) please check it out. What I’d like to do is tell you the story of how the investment came to be, what my thesis is / was and share some thoughts on macro trends. I always try hard to make this blog a place where you can learn lessons rather than an advertisement for portfolio companies.

Can You Really Build a Great Tech Firm Outside Silicon Valley?

Both Sides of the Table

But one common theme I’m hearing from there in 2011 is that it’s impossible to recruit. This article originally appeared on TechCrunch. Last year I was on Sand Hill Road in Silicon Valley meeting with one of the most prominent venture capital firms in the country.

Changes in Software & Venture Capital – Part 2 of 3

Both Sides of the Table

Yesterday I wrote Part 1 of the series on the changes to the software industry over the past decade that has led to changes in the venture capital industry itself. If you don’t want to read that post, the summary is: Open source computing drove computing costs down 90%, which spurred innovation in technology. Open cloud led by Amazon with their AWS services drove total operating costs down by 90%. This led to an explosion in startups.

Hobbies and Entrepreneurship

This is going to be BIG.

If you're looking to build relationships with VCs, learn from top entrepreneurs or just get deep into the NYC innovation community, I suggest you read a book. I don't mean any particular book about startups--I mean join a book club. Joe Yevoli and Reece Pacheco run a book club of 30 local entrepreneurs that meets monthly. How about riding a bike?

250 Developers

This is going to be BIG.

Back in the 60’s, JFK make a bold proclimation that we were going to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. The details of exactly how this was going to happen were a bit sketchy, but having a big hairy audacious goal galvanized the innovation community into achieving something spectacular. In today’s world, one of the bottlenecks we have to innovation is the lack of software development talent.