Entrepreneurial

Is ‘Occupy Silicon Valley’ next?

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

There it was on Craigslist – an ad for “young, successful professionals living in America’s most emerging area, Silicon Valley,” ostensibly posted by a “major cable network” that’s looking to cast a Silicon Valley reality show.

No wonder. While many Americans are suffering through an abysmal economy, Internet startups seem impervious to bad news of any kind. Valuations have been rising for several years straight; companies like Zynga, Facebook, and Twitter are minting millionaires left and right; and many young outfits can’t hire skilled, highly paid software engineers or salespeople fast enough.

To get the picture, one only need look to the invitation-only, tequila-fueled industry party that entrepreneur-investor Sean Parker hosted two weeks ago. Split-roasted pigs, Dungeness crabs, and sashimi bars were a mere warm-up to nationally known musical acts like The Killers.

Silicon Valley has much to celebrate. It has the most highly educated workforce in the nation and boasts the highest economic productivity – almost twice the U.S. average, according to the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI). It also deserves kudos for creating the social media tools that have been empowering revolutions around the world.

from Environment Forum:

Steve Jurvetson on clean tech innovation that will change the world

(This article by Felicity Carus first appeared on Clean Energy Connection and has been edited for length. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

What venture capitalists really think and what they say aren’t always the same thing.

Steve Jurvetson, from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, last week gave his overview of disruptive innovation in clean tech at the Always On Going Green conference in San Francisco.

Small business, America and the “Disenfranchized Diligent Optimist” gene

– John Krubski is an entrepreneur and the architect of The Guardian Life Index: What Matters Most to America’s Small Business Owners. He is currently working on his next book, “Cracking the America Code: How to Get US Back on Track”. The views expressed are his own. –

In their latest book — “That Used To Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” — authors Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum maintain that our hope for a happy future lies in how we address four critical issues: resolving the impact of globalization, the revolution in information technology, the nation’s chronic deficits, and its pattern of energy consumption.

These are all very big issues requiring equally big solutions and presumably requiring some form of central planning.

from Reuters Money:

Secrets of wealthy whiz kids: How to make a million by 21

Earlier this month, Reuters Money featured a story with advice on how to get on the road to Millionaire Row. But what if you're in a hurry, like so many multi-tasking teens of the 21st Century? What if your goal is to make that million by the time you turn 21? Can it be done?

The answer is yes, if you take the fast lane as an entrepreneur on steroids — something common to the four millionaires we polled for this follow-up. Three made it to the seven-digit milestone by 21; the fourth reached it when he turned 24. Here, those wealthy whiz kids past and present share the secrets that contributed to the fortunes they made.

 

Jon Koon, 27

Position: Owner and designer of the Private Stock denim line, marketing guru and manufacturer of auto accessories.

Bringing order to the unruly world of early stage entrepreneurship

This article originally appeared in the Venture Capital Journal, a Thomson Reuters publication.

Eric Ries, author of the “The Lean Startup”, offers a worthy attempt to bring the scientific method to the often intuitive exploration of young companies.

What leads most startups astray is the lack of a disciplined, empirical procedure for making decisions, says Ries, who also writes on the blog Startup Lessons Learned and is a 2010-11 entrepreneur-in-residence at Harvard Business School.

Chicago’s startup community sticks by struggling Groupon

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Not long ago, daily deals giant Groupon was the toast of Chicago, a press darling that received the blessing of Oprah Winfrey, was commended by Forbes as the “fastest growing company ever,” and even reportedly spurned a multibillion-dollar buyout offer from Google.

A Chicago Tribune headline from last December summed up its place in the ecosystem: “Groupon’s Success Adds Luster to Chicago’s Startup Community.”

Some lessons learned as an entrepreneur and VC

– Chris Dixon is the co-founder of Hunch and of seed fund Founder Collective. This blog originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

Note: Google was kind enough to invite me to give a short talk at their Zeitgeist conference earlier this week. It was a really interesting conference and I got a chance to meet a lot of people I admire. For my talk, I decided to use material from some of my blog posts over the years that I thought might appeal to a broader audience. Unfortunately, I was still recovering from a nasty cold/flu so I didn’t deliver the talk as well as I’d like. Below is the text.

Today, I wanted to talk about some of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years from my experiences as an investor and entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship a “series of failures”: Babson study

Failure shouldn’t be a dirty word for entrepreneurs.

That’s one of several new findings by Babson College, in collaboration with The Business Innovation Factory, a nonprofit research group, as part of an in-depth look at American entrepreneurs and their attitudes toward business.

“We found that entrepreneurship is just a series of failures,” said Heidi Neck, an associate professor of entrepreneurship and director of the Entrepreneur Experience Lab at the Boston area college, which is known for entrepreneurial studies.

“You need to prepare for failure, you need to tolerate failure and you need to learn from failure,” she said. “Maybe we need to start talking about it as intentional iteration.”

Employee rewards site raises $24 million from Sequoia Capital

Prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital is wading into the near $50-billion employee rewards market with its $24.5 million Series C round of financing of online San Francisco-based company Achievers.

The announcement on Wednesday by the venture capital heavyweight signals a heightened interest in the space that Sequoia partner Alfred Lin said is “highly fragmented” and lacks a dominant player.

“We want to be an investor in the most interesting companies of tomorrow and we felt like this would be a company for the ages,” said Lin, who will take a seat on Achievers’ board of directors. Sequoia has had a long history of backing technology companies such as Apple, Oracle, Cisco, Google and YouTube.

Making a case for more candor at startups

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

In an age where seemingly everyone in the startup community now blogs, tweets and leaks his or her news, stretching the truth has become de rigueur. But I’d argue that it’s creating distrust; it’s also distorting the way that founders, the real engine of Silicon Valley, see the world.

What can be done about it, if anything? Recently, I asked neuroscientist and best-selling author Sam Harris, whose new Kindle essay, “Lying,” explores our fundamental inclination to lie and self-promote. Our conversation has been edited for length.

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