Archive for November, 2013

Successful Entrepreneurs Do One Thing Really Well

dick costolo twitter

Eric Gaillard/Reuters

Twitter, Instagram, and shopping site Polyvore all have one important quality in common. They do one thing extremely well.

Zeroing in on one idea and executing it exceptionally is the key to entrepreneurial success, argues Daniel Roberts in “Zoom: Surprising Ways to Supercharge Your Career.” You don’t need a complex, multifaceted idea to succeed in today’s market, Roberts argues. Just pick one thing, and do it better than everyone else.

“These days many of the buzziest startups are brilliantly basic in concept,” he writes. “Whether you’ve come up with a completely revolutionary idea or you’re building upon a preexisting one, if it’s clear and addictive it will take off with users.”

Here’s a look at how the founders of Twitter, Instagram, and Polyvore found their one thing and made it work:

Make the business easy to understand.

The initial idea for Twitter was incredibly simple: create a way for people to share brief “status” updates about what they happened to be doing. When the company’s founders first rolled out the service internally, employees loved it. “It was fun, simple, and friendly,” Roberts writes. “And it took only a moment to understand how it worked.” He argues that Twitter has succeeded in large part because it never lost sight of that simple starting principle, even as it began to monetize its services and add new features. “If an idea is clever enough — simple, clean, and addictive, like Twitter — it can weather other problems that would normally bring a company down,” Roberts writes.

Strip the bells and whistles.

Before it was called Instagram, the founders had named it Burbn. Back then, it was supposed to be a location-based photo sharing app (a “mashup” of Foursquare and Flickr, as Roberts puts it). That idea garnered some interest from backers but failed to catch on after its initial release. So co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger decided to strip the app of all but one part — photo sharing. “Burbn had too many different features,” writes Roberts. “What would be a hit, they knew, was something simple that did one thing.” Sure enough, the night the app relaunched as Instagram in October 2010 the servers crashed within two hours from the flood of traffic.

Focus on what you do best.

When Jessica Lee first became CEO of Polyvore, the popular online shopping site, she decided that the company needed some serious streamlining. She began to cut extraneous features, minimize projects, and sent out a company-wide note asking staff to “identify what is most impactful to the company. Then figure out what to cut.” Simplicity was Lee’s obsession, Roberts writes. She wanted to create a smooth, simple customer experience. “We really try to focus,” she told Roberts, “because at the end of the day you’re going to be remembered for one thing.”

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Silicon Valley VC hottest since crash; Meet No. 1 investors by sector

Venture investing in Silicon Valley hit its highest level since the 2009 financial crisis, a new report from CB Insights shows. Click through the photo gallery to see who the top investors in the hottest trends are.

Senior Technology Reporter- Silicon Valley Business Journal
Big Data, mobile, digital health and the Internet of Things are a few of the hottest trends in Silicon Valley these days and a new report shows who the biggest investors in those sectors are.

The Silicon Valley Venture Capital Almanac, which compares VC and angel investments in the region since 2009, shows data and Internet technology investments are dominating in the region today where the sector once shared top billing with health and cleantech.

“There used to be three main areas that the Valley dominated in, but cleantech and health have given way and tech investing is by far No. 1 today,” according to Anand Sanwal, CEO of CB Insights. His research firm wrote the report for Silicon Valley Bank, Orrick and GLG Share.

The number of deals and dollars in the third quarter were the highest they have been since the financial crisis of 2009, with 267 fundings and $2.8 billion invested here, the report also shows.

Here is a look at who the almanac says are the big dogs in the hottest trends in tech investing in the region. All of the totals are based on the number of funding deals they have done since 2009. Click through the accompanying photo gallery for more detail:

Most active in Internet deals: SV Angel, 111.

Most active in mobile deals: SV Angel, 41.

Most active in ad tech deals: 500 Startups, 15.

Most active in Big Data deals: Lightspeed Venture Partners, Khosla Ventures, tied with 11 each.

Most active in finance tech deals: Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, tied with 9 each.

Most active in digital health deals: Felicis Ventures, 7.

Most active in Internet of things deals: Intel Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, tied with 5 each.

Here is a look at who the most active overall investors have been since 2009:

Most active investor: SV Angel, 156 deals.

Most active corporate VC: Google Ventures, 89 deals.

Most active seed investor: 500 Startups, 106 deals.

Most active late stage investor: Sequoia Capital, 26 deals.

Click here to see the Silicon Valley Venture Capital Almanac online.

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How To Sell Yourself In 30 Seconds And Leave People Wanting More

How do you get people interested in you when you only have 30 seconds?

Whether you’re at a job interview, networking at a cocktail party, or run into Warren Buffett in the elevator, quickly persuading others to think you’re the most interesting person they’ll meet is no easy task.

“Most people can’t present what they’ve done effectively,” Paul McDonald, a senior executive director at staffing firm Robert Half, tells Business Insider. “They’re not used to giving sound bites of what they do.”

Below, McDonald gives us eight steps to crafting the perfect elevator pitch:

1. Know exactly where you want to go.

Your elevator pitch should answer three questions: Who are you? What do you do? Where do you want to go, or what are you looking for? You need to know exactly what you want to achieve or no one can help you get there.

“Take your resume and LinkedIn profile and go through it thoroughly,” says McDonald. If you’re unemployed, focus on where you want to go and what you want to do.

2. Bullet point it.

After studying your resume and LinkedIn profile, write down four bullet points that explain why you’re great, advises McDonald. Discuss your work history, background, skills, accomplishments, and goals. Keep out any irrelevant details that take away from your core message.

3. Tell them a story.

People love stories, says McDonald, so tell them a story. It also makes it easier for others to remember you later on.

Self-improvement guru Dale Carnegie said in his book “Public Speaking and Influencing Men in Business” that our minds are essentially “associate machines,” which means we remember things better when there’s a story or association attached to the subject. In other words, if you want people to remember you, tell them a story and make sure it’s good.

4. Eliminate jargon.

You need to be able to explain what you do and who you are in a way that appeals to most people. This means avoiding acronyms or terminology that wouldn’t be understood by someone outside of your industry.

Dumbing down complex ideas is a “real art,” says McDonald. A good strategy is to imagine explaining what you do to your parents and using a similar formula in your elevator pitch. Making sure your pitch is in layman’s terms is especially critical for those in accounting, finance, and technology.

5. Make sure it invites conversation.

After telling your story, the listener needs to be left wanting more. Is your story compelling enough to do this? If not, you need to change your pitch.

6. Time yourself.

While practicing your pitch, you should time yourself to make sure you can tell your story in 30 seconds. If you can’t, cut down details and try again.

7. Record yourself on video.

You need to know what you look like to others while you’re telling your story. Are you interesting? Are you believable? People will come to their own conclusions while listening to you so make sure you give off a good impression. Relax, act natural, and get comfortable with your story.

8. Pitch it to your friends and colleagues.

After you’ve got your story down, practice your elevator pitch with friends and colleagues. Ask them to give you feedback. Ask them what you should do to make it better. Keep practicing and tweaking your pitch until it’s natural for you to say aloud and convincing to the listener.

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THE FUTURE OF APPLE by Caroline Moss


Michael Seto

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster spoke at Business Insider’s IGNITION conference today to go over his predictions for Apple for the next few years.
On the roadmap: new iPhones and iPads of course. But a lot of the focus was on Apple’s plans for a television, smart watch, and Web-connected devices in the home.

Click here to see the predictions for Apple’s future products »

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/gene-munster-future-of-apple-2013-11?op=1#ixzz2kTBJS7Si

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San Francisco, November, 2013
“Terminating/Restructuring Prohibitive Real Estate, License, Payables & Contingent Liabilities”
Gerbsman Partners has been involved with numerous national and international equity sponsors, senior/junior lenders, investment banks and equipment lessors in the restructuring or termination of various Balance Sheet issues for their technology, life science, medical device and cleantech portfolio companies. These companies were not necessarily in Crisis, had CASH (in some cases significant CASH) and/or investor groups that were about to provide additional funding. In order stabilize their go forward plan and maximize CASH resources for future growth, there was a specific need to address the Balance Sheet and Contingent Liability issues as soon as possible.

Some of the areas in which Gerbsman Partners has assisted these companies have been in the termination, restructuring and/or reduction of:

1.  Prohibitive executory real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior/sub-debt obligations – Gerbsman Partners was the “Innovator” in creating strategies to terminate or restructure prohibitive real estate leases, computer and hardware related leases and senior and sub-debt obligations. To date, Gerbsman Partners has terminated or restructured over $810 million of such obligations. These were a mixture of both public and private companies, and allowed the restructured company to return to a path of financial viability.
2.  Accounts/Trade payable obligations – Companies in a crisis, turnaround or restructuring situation typically have accounts and trade payable obligations that become prohibitive for the viability of the company on a go forward basis. Gerbsman Partners has successfully negotiated mutually beneficial restructurings that allowed all parties to maximize enterprise value based on the reality and practicality of the situation.
3.  Software and technology related licenses – As per the above, software and technology related licenses need to be restructured/terminated in order for additional capital to be invested in restructured companies. Gerbsman Partners has a significant track record in this area.
About Gerbsman Partners

Gerbsman Partners focuses on maximizing enterprise value for stakeholders and shareholders in under-performing, under-capitalized and under-valued companies and their Intellectual Property. Since 2001, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in maximizing value for 79 Technology, Life Science and Medical Device companies and their Intellectual Property,, through its proprietary “Date Certain M&A Process” and has restructured/terminated over $810 million of real estate executory contracts and equipment lease/sub-debt obligations. Since inception, Gerbsman Partners has been involved in over $2.3 billion of financings, restructurings and M&A transactions.

Gerbsman Partners has offices and strategic alliances in Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Alexandria, VA, San Francisco, Orange County, Europe and Israel.


Web: www.gerbsmanpartners.com
BLOG of Intellectual Capital: blog.gerbsmanpartners.com

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