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  • Unicorn pressures and startup failures

    Unicorn pressures and startup failures

    The startup anti-patterns section of my blog summarizes the repeatable ways startups waste time & money and, often, fail. Learning from startup failure is valuable because there are many more examples of failures that successes. (Anti-)Patterns becom…
    - 26 Apr 16, 12:35pm -
  • Advertising marketplace design

    Advertising marketplace design

    In the past decade several Nobel prizes in Economics have been awarded in the broader area of market (mechanism/auction/game) design. This is not surprising as the combination of Internet connectivity and ample computing resources are causing automat…
    - 13 Oct 15, 8:34am -
  • Angel investing strategies

    Angel investing strategies

    My friend Jerry Neumann wrote a great post on angel investing strategies, dissecting truth and myth about different betting strategies and sharing his own approach. The question of luck came up and a commenter linked to my work on data-driven patt…
    - 7 Jul 14, 4:03pm -
  • JSON and JSONlines from the command line

    JSON and JSONlines from the command line

    At Swoop we have many terabytes of JSON-like data in MongoDB, Redis, ElasticSearch, HDFS/Hadoop and even Amazon Redshift. While the internal representations are typically not JSON but BSON, MsgPack or native encodings, when it comes time to move larg…
    - 21 Jan 14, 1:14am -
  • My most favorite math proof ever

    My most favorite math proof ever

    Math is beautiful and, sometimes, math becomes even more beautiful with the help of a bit of computer science. My favorite proof of all time combines the two in just such a way. Goal: prove that the cardinality of the … Continue reading →
    - 25 Nov 13, 12:51pm -
  • Monitoring Redis with MONITOR and WireShark

    Monitoring Redis with MONITOR and WireShark

    At Swoop we use Redis extensively for caching, message processing and analytics. The Redis documentation can be pithy at times and recently I found myself wanting to look in more depth at the Redis wire protocol. Getting everything set up … Continu…
    - 28 May 13, 10:57am -
  • Google and the ecosystem test

    Google and the ecosystem test

    I am roaming the halls of Google I/O 2013 and wondering whether Google’s platform passes the ecosystem test. … no platform has become hugely successful without a corresponding ecosystem of vendors building significant businesses on top of the pla…
    - 16 May 13, 8:29pm -
  • Anatomy of an online ad

    Anatomy of an online ad

    I’ve been asked to explain how online ads are delivered many times and every time I’m surprised by the complexity of covering even the most basic elements of how ads appear on Web pages. Since Wikipedia’s article on ad serving … Continue read…
    - 17 Apr 13, 1:35am -
  • Startup anti-pattern: platform risk

    Startup anti-pattern: platform risk

    One of the fastest ways for a startup to grow has always been to ride on the shoulders of a successful platform: from Microsoft/OSS in software to AWS in cloud computing to iOS/Android in mobile to Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest in social to … Continue…
    - 5 Mar 13, 11:18am -
  • Startup anti-pattern: ignorance

    Startup anti-pattern: ignorance

    Listening to a startup pitch a few weeks ago I had to exercise effort not to shake my head in disbelief. The presenters were describing the products and business model of an established company I was very familiar with and … Continue reading →
    - 4 Mar 13, 2:00pm -

Instigator Blog

  • Hello, 2017

    Hello, 2017

    2016 was one heck of a year. It started with a fairly big shakeup professionally. I didn’t end up taking much time off; instead I started meeting with lots of people and looking for my next adventure. In July, 2016 I announced the launch of my new…
    - 5 Jan 17, 10:10pm -
  • “You Don’t Look Like a Founder”

    “You Don’t Look Like a Founder”

    WTF does that even mean? It means: You’re not a young white guy. And it’s total bullshit. Heather Anne Carson, co-founder @ Repable recently posted this on Facebook: (She didn’t ask me to write this.) Oy. It’s not surprising that guys feel /…
    - 27 Oct 16, 8:59am -
  • Who Really Wants to Work in a Factory?

    Who Really Wants to Work in a Factory?

    In a recent presentation I gave on the use of data in the product management/development process there was one slide that I ended up taking out. It didn’t fit the flow of the talk, but I think it’s still an important point. Here’s the slide: Th…
    - 24 Oct 16, 9:35am -
  • Data is an Input and a Filter into the Product Development Process

    Data is an Input and a Filter into the Product Development Process

    Recently I spoke at CrunchConf in Budapest. It was a great experience. The conference is fantastic for people interested in data (e.g. data analysts, scientists, product managers, etc.) Having said that, I’m not a data scientist. I don’t spend th…
    - 17 Oct 16, 3:43pm -
  • Speaking Gigs, Training, Discounts, Free Tickets and More

    Speaking Gigs, Training, Discounts, Free Tickets and More

    I don’t normally post about speaking engagements, conferences or training sessions that I’m conducting, but there are a bunch of upcoming events that I hope interest people. Along with that, I have discounts and free tickets to give away–so why…
    - 13 Oct 16, 11:32am -
  • Finding Your Inspiration

    Finding Your Inspiration

    Founders need inspiration. I believe most founders have a deep well of inspiration inside of them that they’re able to draw from as needed. Otherwise they wouldn’t be able to survive. But that’s not always enough–founders need to find inspira…
    - 10 Oct 16, 9:24pm -
  • Data should be the Common Language in an Organization

    Data should be the Common Language in an Organization

    - 22 Sep 16, 7:30am -
  • The Startup Rollercoaster is Real

    The Startup Rollercoaster is Real

    You know what’s hard?   Starting a company. You know what’s fun?   Starting a company. There’s something about the insane challenge that makes starting a company so incredible. Having said that, I really don’t enjoy being told I’m wrong…
    - 12 Sep 16, 9:02am -
  • Introducing Highline BETA – a Startup Co-Creation Company

    Introducing Highline BETA – a Startup Co-Creation Company

    Today, I’m launching a new company: Highline BETA. I’m co-founding Highline BETA with Marcus Daniels. I’ve known Marcus a long time and we’ve stayed in touch throughout the years. We’ve now found the right time and opportunity to work toget…
    - 11 Jul 16, 7:55am -
  • The Product Manager’s Portfolio

    The Product Manager’s Portfolio

    It’s not always easy for a product manager to explain her precise role in building product. Every company defines product managers differently, and a product manager’s output is sometimes difficult to see or quantify. Product managers tend to use…
    - 9 Jun 16, 10:46am -

SBA: Small Business Cents

  • How to Protect Your Small Business from a Negative SEO Attack
    Negative SEO -- does it really exist?   And if it does, what is it and how can you protect your site?Consider this post a short whirlwind tutorial for a typical small business website...
    - 3 days ago, 16 Nov 17, 4:38pm -
  • Celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week by Encouraging Small Business Exporting
    This week marks the 10th Annual Global Entrepreneurship Week. In our increasingly interconnected global economy, it’s important for American small businesses to have the tools to compete on the...
    - 3 days ago, 16 Nov 17, 2:38pm -
  • Should You Be Looking At New Franchise Opportunities?
    When it comes to investigating franchise opportunities, you have lots of choices these days.You can explore:Food franchisesRetail franchisesB2B franchises...
    - 5 days ago, 14 Nov 17, 1:26pm -
  • Join #SBAchat for Marketing Tips this Holiday Season
    It’s that time of year again! The U.S. Small Business Administration (@SBAgov) will host a holiday marketing Twitter chat on November 14 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. Join us and industry experts as we share...
    - 10 days ago, 9 Nov 17, 7:27pm -
  • Why Hire Veterans?
    The month of November is a time to celebrate Veterans Day. This year Veterans Day falls on Saturday, November 11 (Friday, November 10 is the federal holiday to celebrate it). There are more than...
    - 11 days ago, 8 Nov 17, 9:23pm -
  • 5 Ways to Enhance the Power of Your Business Credit Profile
    A business credit profile is the face that a company presents to lenders, suppliers, insurance companies, lessors and other businesses when they decide whether to extend credit or do business with...
    - 11 days ago, 8 Nov 17, 8:54pm -
  • SBA serves veterans who served our nation
    Retired U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant Greg Lyles and his son Chandler, a retired USAF Airman, turned their love of barbecue into a successful business that has generated over $1 million in sales...
    - 12 days ago, 7 Nov 17, 10:51am -
  • How to Market for Small Business Saturday
    Small Business Saturday is bigger than ever—and despite what you may think, it’s not just for retailers or even just for brick-and-mortar businesses. Here’s what you need to know and how to take...
    - 17 days ago, 2 Nov 17, 4:22pm -
  • What Makes an Ongoing Business Forecast Realistic?
    I’ve posted here before about about why to forecast basic business numbers and...
    - 17 days ago, 2 Nov 17, 4:09pm -
  • Moments that Matter: Making the Connection
    Your first business plan. Your first employee. The training course that gives you an edge in the marketplace. Finding a mentor. Receiving the capital you need to expand your business. The turning...
    - 17 days ago, 2 Nov 17, 1:29pm -


  • You Can’t Fix Stupid

    You Can’t Fix Stupid

    Creating a delightful customer experience is one of the most important things in business. Creating a delightful customer experience is also one of the most complex and difficult things to do in business.  Doing that work is so much easier when d…
    - 26 Aug 16, 12:41pm -
  • The Supplier Relationship Advantage

    The Supplier Relationship Advantage

    Supplier relationships are not more important than customer or employee relationships. But so many business owners and business experts don’t even put them in the same ballpark. They treat suppliers like the awkward cousins at Thanksgiving dinner.…
    - 17 Jun 16, 1:36pm -
  • Entrepreneurship Is Not About Work-Life Balance

    Entrepreneurship Is Not About Work-Life Balance

    There is no balance. When we seek work-life balance we are seeking that doesn’t exist and wouldn’t be good enough if it did. Metaphors are powerful. They can change how we think. We use metaphors because they work. When we talk…The post Entre…
    - 27 Apr 16, 5:37pm -
  • Customer Loyalty is Sticky Business

    Customer Loyalty is Sticky Business

    I heard this joke: A: When is customer loyalty not repeat business? B: Wait, repeat business isn’t loyalty? A: No. It’s not. And can you just answer the question now? B: No. I can’t. I need some help. A: You…The post Customer Loyalty is Stic…
    - 10 Apr 16, 1:06pm -
  • Complaining Customers Are a Gift From Heaven

    Complaining Customers Are a Gift From Heaven

    The Silently Unhappy We know little about each other when things are going well. The mask stays in place. We find what you are made of when things go wrong. We find what we are made of when things go wrong and…The post Complaining Customers Are…
    - 22 Mar 16, 1:19am -
  • Minions: Vectors for Change

    Minions: Vectors for Change

    Extend your reach. Great Performances rule #2 is: to grow is to delegate. But your workforce, your team, could be so much more than just a tool in the growth of your business. They could be minions of value. You believe…The post Minions: Vectors…
    - 13 Mar 16, 12:33am -
  • Limina – The Courage of Decisions

    Limina – The Courage of Decisions

    You are standing at a doorway. We are always standing at a doorway. We have in each moment of our lives a choice to walk through a door that moves us into a new space, or we can leave it…The post Limina – The Courage of Decisions appeared first…
    - 23 Dec 15, 11:05am -
  • The I Factor – The Truth of Initiative

    The I Factor – The Truth of Initiative

    There aren’t any in ‘team’ but there are 4 of them in initiative. i The i-factor, the heart of the intrapreneur: the employee who behaves like an entrepreneur within the organization. World War I saw the end of battles in formation.…The pos…
    - 28 Nov 15, 10:56am -
  • The iMyth: Doing Requires Inspiration

    The iMyth: Doing Requires Inspiration

    You cannot move a mountain without inspiration, but inspiration will not move the mountain. Believing inspiration and doing are the same thing is the iMyth. I can come across as being anti-inspiration, anti-self-help, anti-Kumbaya. I’m not. Really.…
    - 16 Nov 15, 10:43pm -
  • BDC Report – Small Business Challenges – Human Resources

    BDC Report – Small Business Challenges – Human Resources

    This is the final article on the report issued by the Business Development Bank of Canada: a study of the top challenges faced by small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. The first two articles were about marketing challenges and financial…
    - 9 Nov 15, 8:17pm -


  • Which metrics do Valley investors tend to check first?

    Which metrics do Valley investors tend to check first?

    When investors see our business for the first time, they need to wrap their head around it. It's like films - they often start with a bit of scene-setting before jumping in with the plot.Investors also like to hear the main numbers up front. They'r…
    - 26 Aug 15, 3:15am -
  • Disrupt or compete

    Disrupt or compete

    Pontus Siren at Innosight illustrates the difference between direct competition and Disruption by looking at one of the most competitive industries - shipping.The basis of competition in the industry continues to be the efficiency of moving a metal…
    - 4 Apr 15, 5:15am -
  • Estimating your market size from non-technical sources

    Estimating your market size from non-technical sources

    Bart Doorneweert is a Dutch textile and agriculture entrepreneur who's operated in India and East Africa. Looking at situations where market data is unavailable and running experiments is expensive, he shows how it's important to learn from analogs.…
    - 4 Apr 15, 3:15am -
  • How you grow affects your defensibility

    How you grow affects your defensibility

    There's a connection between how you choose to grow, and how defensible your business is from competition. Just like it's easy to throw gasoline on a fire to get it going with a boom, it's stoking the coal that produces all the heat in the long-run.…
    - 31 Mar 15, 11:15am -
  • Hidden cofounders

    Hidden cofounders

    Suranga Chandratillake on partners, friends, etc, as hidden cofounders:I’ve found that “hidden co-founders” – husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends and even parents – are often a crucial factor in the success of a startup. Why? Because…
    - 6 Mar 15, 4:15am -
  • True ecosystems

    True ecosystems

    I somehow missed posting this last year, when it was published. An excellent article by our very own Salim Virani, on the topic of ecosystems.Sal and the rest of the FounderCentric team spend a lot of time working with incubators, accelerators, gove…
    - 6 Jan 15, 4:15am -
  • The fatal pinch

    The fatal pinch

    Paul Graham explains how startups that are burning through their first round of funding often don't realise they're about to die, and need to either make more money or cut expenses:There may be nothing founders are so prone to delude themselves abou…
    - 14 Dec 14, 12:25pm -
  • The psychology of a VC, and how to take advantage of it

    The psychology of a VC, and how to take advantage of it

    Great article by Roberto Bonanzinga looking at investment difficulties from the point of view of how the VC decision processes happen:The decision struggle has two different dimensions: first, the venture capitalist needs to convince himself/herself…
    - 9 Dec 14, 3:15pm -
  • Early stage capital in EU vs US

    Early stage capital in EU vs US

    I've covered this topic before, obviously, but this seemed like an excellent article, worth linking to.In short, things haven't changed much since I posted those articles 4 years ago: European VCs are still slow to respond, slow to make decisions, r…
    - 6 Dec 14, 10:15am -
  • I don't know

    I don't know

    Mark Suster:She reminded us that in the world we live in we are often expected to be experts. We are expected to know everything and many people rush to conclusions given a limited set of information.(...)Learning comes from starting with a point-…
    - 6 Oct 14, 5:15am -


  • Hello world!
    Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
    - 14 May 15, 6:21pm -

About PopMuse

A curated aggregation of musings from across the land and of different subject matters for the scanoholics.