Entrepreneurial

Q & A with MycroBurst co-founder Joe Witte

Joe Witte is the co-founder and Executive Vice President at MycroBurst, a crowdsourcing site for companies and individuals who want custom logos and designs. Reuters Small Business interviewed Witte about building a tech startup and how Mycroburst balances work with clients and designers.

First off, can you briefly describe MycroBurst? How it works, etc.

I’ve always described MycroBurst as an eBay for design services. We have a community of more than 35k designers representing more than 100 countries. They participate in design contests for our customers (aka Project Holders), who require anything from a brochure, postcard, website or logo design. What makes our marketplace so powerful, is that a Project Holder will typically receive dozens, and typically more than 100 design concepts from our design community to choose from. And that’s in one week. Our platform makes it easy to communicate with all the designers, and easy to review the concepts side by side.

Where did the idea come from?

Previously, we had a design team that provided services to our clients via online transactions. Many of our designers were leaving in order to freelance for sites like eLance. And after seeing this model work for other crowdsourcing sites, we felt that this was where the future was with sourcing design services. After we shifted in 2009, it was apparent that everyone was happier. Our designers had freedom, and our clients received far greater choice, and flexibility in a faster delivery method.

MycroBurst relies on a crowdsourcing model that actually helps pool talent for clients. Are there any other sites that you think are operating a similar model (not necessarily with design), and how has that affected MycroBurst?

We are actually a member of a “Crowdsortium” which had more than 100 crowdsourcing companies such as UTest, CrowdFlower, and GeniusRocket. Some of the other services that are crowdsourced include videos, website/application testing, content writing, labeling, research, translation, and the list goes on.

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.”

Will startup visa boost entrepreneurship?

– Stephanie Rabiner is a contributor to FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

The immigration debate continues: Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar have reintroduced a startup visa bill into Congress.

The bill, which has been modified since it first burst onto the scene last year, is designed to encourage partnerships between U.S. investors and immigrants in a way that benefits the national economy. The Senators hope that the StartUp Visa Act will attract innovation and innovators to the country, creating jobs and propelling the United States back to the top in the realm of technological development.

How to “Startup America”

– Daniel Isenberg is Professor of Management Practice at Babson Global and founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project. Dr. Isenberg has been an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, consultant, and educator, having taught at Harvard, Columbia, Technion, INSEAD, and Reykjavik. –

The White House recently convened an unprecedented consortium of public and private entities to announce the launch of Startup America. The purpose was to galvanize a coordinated effort to define and implement President Obama’s vision and strategy to foster entrepreneurship and provide more push to the United States’ economic development.

Startup America has a lot going for it: a broad group of influential entrepreneurship stakeholders, real entrepreneurs at the heart of the dialogue, a sincerely committed president and an independent convening S.W.A.T. team who are making entrepreneurship a top priority and a powerful, well-connected, smart board with a smart-looking interim CEO. In my book, Startup America has gotten the basics right; I don’t take this lightly – my observations of more than two dozen countries is that very few have done even this.

Taking the entrepreneurial plunge

– Jeff Bussgang is a partner at Flybridge Capital Partners and the author of “Mastering the VC Game” and the blog “Seeing Both Sides“. The views expressed are his own. –

When to become an entrepreneur is a common quandary for many. For whatever reason, this issue has come up a great deal recently (recession-driven workforce dislocation?), so I thought I’d share a few thoughts that might help frame this critical decision.

I have concluded that being an entrepreneur is an irrational state of being. If human beings were purely rational, evaluative, value maximizing individuals (see Harvard Business School professor Michael Jensen’s paper on self-interest and human behavior), they would not start companies. If they sat down and did the expected value calculation by laying out the probability weighted outcomes of being an entrepreneur as compared to taking a safe job, it would not pencil out.

from Felix Salmon:

Norway, entrepreneurial paradise

Max Chafkin has a fantastic story in Inc magazine about how to structure an economy so as to encourage entrepreneurship, full employment, and general happiness and contentment, all while drastically reducing inequality. It's easy, in fact: all you need to do is become Norway.

There's loads of great stuff in this piece, and I'd encourage you to read the whole thing. But a few things stand out.

Chafkin starts with the tale of Wiggo Dalmo, an industrial mechanic with a high-school education who chafed under his bosses, set up his own shop, and is now running a $44 million company with 150 employees. That's the kind of story which should be common in the US but is in fact rare. But ask yourself: in the US, how much would such a person be paying in taxes? Dalmo paid $102,970 in personal taxes on his income and wealth last year, which is probably lower, not higher, than the CEO of a $44 million company would pay in taxes in the US.

Focus on what you’re good at

– Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur that blogs about business at Quick Sprout and is the co-founder of KISSmetrics. The views expressed are his own. –

Is it me or is everyone these days trying to get rich quick? Not only am I meeting more and more people who don’t want to work hard to make money, but they are starting to get into new business ventures that they are clueless about.

I know the grass always looks greener on the other side, but it really isn’t. Don’t get me wrong, those lucrative businesses are making people millions of dollars, but it’s probably doing that for less than 0.3 percent of the people in that industry.

Timing your startup

– Chris Dixon is co-founder of Hunch and founder of Founder Collective, and an investor in many early-stage companies like Skype and Foursquare. Previously he co-founded Siteadvisor, which was acquired by McAfee. This blog originally appeared on cdixon.org. The views expressed are his own. –

I never had the opportunity to invest in YouTube but I have to admit that if I did I probably would have passed (which of course would have been a huge mistake). I’d been around the Web long enough to remember the dozens of companies before YouTube that tried to create crowdsourced video sites and failed. Based on “pattern recognition” (a dangerous thing to rely on), I was deeply skeptical of the space.

What I failed to appreciate was that the prior crowdsourced video sites were ahead of their time. YouTube built a great product, but, more importantly, got the market timing just right. By 2005, all the pieces were in place to enable crowdsourced video – the proliferation of home broadband, digital camcorders, a version of Flash where videos “just worked,” copyrighted Web content that could be exported to YouTube, and blogs that wanted to embed videos.

Golf and career transitions

- Candida Brush is the Paul T. Babson Chair of Entrepreneurship at Babson College. The opinions expressed are her own. -

For years I have been an avid golfer, spending as much time in the summer playing on a competitive team, in tournaments, or even just four holes in the evening with my husband.

As a professor of entrepreneurship, I’ve written hundreds of articles, books, and papers on these topics over the past 25 years. But, I have always wanted to write an article about golf!

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