Archive for the ‘ review ’ Category

How to Have a Better Startup Networking Event

Monday I attended Entrepreneurs Helping Entrepreneurs, a networking event sponsored by the Mayfield Fund and First Round Capital. Roughly 100 founders were invited to come network over finger food and the chance to win a mentoring session with a famous founder like Jay Adelson (Digg), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Aaron Patzer (Mint), Gina Bianchini (Ning), Max Levchin (Slide), or Mark Pincus (Zynga).

There are a few things that made this event stand out from others that I’ve recently attended. I recommend the following for a better startup networking event:

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3 Ways to Fail at Customer Development

For the last few weeks, I’ve been auditing Steve Blank and Eric Ries’ Customer Development and the Lean Startup class at UC Berkeley. I’ll discuss the class as a whole in another post but I wanted to share a great talk we heard tonight from the co-founders of Flowtown: Ethan Bloch and Dan Martell. They shared customer development mistakes they’ve made and what they’ve learned from them. The following are my notes from their talk.

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Intel Youth Rock Stars Summit Recap

I had a great time at Intel HQ last Friday. I didn’t know what to expect but I walked away surprised that the big chip maker is a lot more than just a big chip maker. They’re investing a lot in researching some radically innovative new technology. I shot some interesting videos and walked away pretty impressed.

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Drew Houston Berkeley eTalk Highlights

Drew Houston, the founder & CEO of Dropbox gave a talk tonight on the UC Berkeley campus. I could only attend the last half of the talk and there should be a video later (watch Hacker News for it). Here are my favorite bits in no particular order:

  1. Own your name

    Dropbox has always been called Dropbox but until recently, their main domain was If you don’t own, everyone from Paul Graham to Sequoia partners will tell you to fix that. If you have money, that means get it. If you don’t, that means get a new name. What does that say for the Lighthouse’s ( and Basecamp’s ( of the world? Drew says: just do the math on how much business you lose and how many emails are bounced because people hear about your great company but end up at the wrong domain.

    I’m thinking of applying this to every new project I start: pick a good name that’s available, buy the domain, and name the repository after it. After all, how many companies have successfully navigated the branding nightmare of a name change?

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