Tag Archive | idea

Two Year Anniversary – Stop Crying

New Years 2014 Fire Works

The Spark n Launch Team celebrate with some backyard fireworks…

According to WordPress we just celebrated our two year anniversary – two years since we registered this account. Since our first blog post we have published over 100 articles and written another 100 draft posts. The site attracts traffic from around the world and continues to increase it’s readership. Thanks to all our loyal followers!

Unfortunately most of the traffic is spam bots, and the quality & frequency of our posts has diminished. Nevertheless we will try and keep up the web presence. If you’re interested in guest blogging or want some links shared, get in touch. Drop us a comment and share some love!

For those looking for some inspiration, check out some of our published posts below. Got a favourite post – tweet it!

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In The Beginning:
Hello world! *
Starting a Blog – Don’t expect any Shakespeare
Working for the “Man” (Draft)

WordPress Links:
About
Social
Glossary *****
Tools
Table of Content (TOC) *****

Startups – Lists:
The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed (2012) *****
The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed (25-50) *****

Startups – People:
Fabrice Grinda – Musings of a Serial Entrepreneur
Jason Calacanis talks to Alex Tew of Calm.com
The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Startups – Stories:
Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories *****
14 Year Old Girl: "Stop making excuses, make something awesome”
Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus *****
Samsung's Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
Lessons Learned – Be Your Own Boss *****

Startups – Lean:
The History of Lean Startup by Steve Blank *****
Startup Is Not The Same As A New Start Business
Building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in One Day
The Apprentice – Lean Startup Builds Minimum Viable Product in Two Days?
Building Your Minimum ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP)

Startups – Weekends:
Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
Startup Weekend: What to Expect?
Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0) *****
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 1) (Draft)
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 2) (Draft)
Startup Weekend: Lessons Learned in 54 Hours (Day 3) (Draft)

Entrepreneur:
The Year of The Entrepreneur – It’s YOU again

Business Ideas / Business Planning:
How to go from Idea Guy to Execution Guy? ****
Evaluate Your Business Idea – Evaluating your spark
Business Plans – "When you fail to plan, you plan to fail" (includes business plan template)
Starting Up – 9 Business Selection Criteria
Another Way To Plan – The Business Model v Business Plan *****
Step 1 – Where to Begin
How To Get Traction? Or Why Is My Startup Broken? *****
Thinking of Starting a Startup? 8 Sentiments To Think About ****

Customer Development:
Ghetto Testing the Viability of an Idea
A Smart Bear – Jason Cohen on Startups *****

People / Management:
Why Being a Deal Maker Matters To Your Team

Social Media / Blogging:
Twitter – Tweeting to your #audience
The Problem with Twitter – Social Disconnection by Stealth ****
Blogging: How Do You Promote Your Blog Posts? *****
Blogging: How To Get New Traffic To Old Blog Posts? *****
Blogging: Is Blogging Dead?

Social Media – Experiments:
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment #1
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #2
Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3
Technorati – Does the verification process work?
Technorati – Does the verification process work? (Yes it does!)
Social Media Experiment – Twitter, Google+ and now Facebook
Social Media Experiment – How we made it onto the BBC!

Brand / Marketing:
Picking a name – The importance of brand
Affiliate Marketing 101
Lessons Learned From 10,000 Page Views ****
Online Advertising Experiment with Google AdWords
Happy V Day – Seasonal Opportunities
The Zoo Project – A Fantastic Marketing Opportunity
Product Functionality Often Trumps Beauty

Traffic / SEO:
How do you get on the Frontpage of Hacker News? (4 Links in 1 Day) ****
Lessons Learned From A Hacker News Traffic Spike ****

Design:
Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) – Ugly Websites That Went Viral ****

Toolkit:
Helpful Startup Tools for Entrepreneurs – Q&As
Helpful Startup Tools for Entrepreneurs
Creating Your Very Best Startup Business Logo ****
Podcasts – Hearing and Learning From Others
Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening
Weekly Digest #1 – How We Stumbled Upon Top Biz Resources
Weekly Digest #2 – More Golden Resources for Startup Entreprenuers
New Startup Lingo – More Buzzwords
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #2
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo
The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
Need Startup Advice? – Just Ask Online

Funding:
Crowdsurfing: Alternatives to Kickstarter
Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes ***
Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
Startup Funding: I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea
Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available In Europe
Raising Money (Draft)
Working Full Time and Bootstrapping Your Business Startup (Draft)

Web:
Web Stats – Who is top of the league table? ***

Rants / Musings:
Why is everything broken? (Draft)
Getting Real – It’s a project, not a startup (Draft)
Web Two is awesome – Web 2.0 changes our surfing experience
The Public Image of Business People (Footballers versus Bankers)
To Code or Not To Code

Messages:
100 Posts – Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained
Be the First to Like Us on Facebook
Who Are We? About Us Page Updated in FAQ Format
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers
Project Mackerel – Calling all Beta Testers (Follow Up)
Blog Milestone – Lessons Learned From 50 Blog Posts
New Month, New Look – What Do You Think?
Blog Milestone – 30th Post – What it means? (Mostly nothing)
Project Mackerel – Please Sir… Complete our quick survey?
Upcoming Posts – Please Vote
Project Mackerel – Sneek Peek of Prototype

Weird / Unclassified:
It’s a numbers game – 11/11/11 @ 11:11:11
Happy New Years – Bring on 2012!
Random Generated Startup – Life gets easier (again)
Get hired with the help of your friend, Mark Zuckerberg?
The London Olympics 2012 (In Infographics)
Technology – Is a black pixel on or off? ****
Leap Year – 3 interesting facts about 29 February
April Fools Day – Some of Our Favourites
Friday 13th – 3 interesting facts
How the $16bn Facebook IPO looks like in cash (Image) **

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

This Site Gets More Hits than You

Cute Cute Little Cat

Cute Cute Little Cat

Reddit, the supposed frontpage of the Internet drags in a massive amount of traffic. It records, approximately:

+ 15 million unique visits per month
+ 50 – 100 thousand unique visits per hour
+ 150 million pageviews by month
+ 100 – 250 thousand pageviews by month
+ 5 million pageviews by day
+ 8 thousand subscriptions by day

It’s ranked 27th in the US and 69th in the world by Alexa!

The numbers are amazing and explains why Reddit has become such a popular place for visitors, including spammers. While the community is quite harsh on spam, there are various places where you can advertise legitimately. A successful post could drive millions of visitors to your site. Scary!

So next time you see a cute cat picture. It is likely it originated from Reddit! *meow*

Image Credit: Desktop HD Wallpapers

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Startup Funding: I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea

quora_question_answer_funding_startups

Hi, I’m 15 With An Amazing Product Idea

Recently on Quora a bright eyed kid asked for some advice.

Like most youngsters they had come up with a great product idea. A simple idea that could solve a common problem. They asked:

“Q. I’m a 15 year old with an amazing product idea. Should I ask for funding?”

“I feel like I have a stellar idea that everyone will benefit from, but I don’t have a lot of the skills needed to make the software. Should I go to a local firm and pitch my idea so I can receive support and/or hire a contractor or two to help me write the code, or am I being too ambitious?”

We are not given too much more information but on the surface this looks admirable. You have to admire the kid’s ambition. Certainly easy money may be available, especially to motivated young people. However it all feels too soon to be knocking up investors for cash.

We suggest: “Build it first, then ask for money.”

Build It First, Then Ask For Money

We think the key here is to build evidence demonstrating the idea is actually a good one. Good in the sense it is commercially viable to put money into. Or simply will this product idea create value.

Start by validating your idea. Ask family, friends, teachers, acquaintances and potential customers if they would buy or use the product.

Then look at building a prototype or minimum viable product. First prove to yourself that the product is worth pursuing. Then worry about funding.

No one is going to throw money at you until you can demonstrate – i) you have taken time and effort to think about the idea; ii) you have gone out and validated the idea; and iii) you have drawn out a plan for getting the idea to market.

They may however throw some money at you when you’ve proved you are truly interested in taking the concept forward. And don’t forget, those friends and family you speak to early on, may well offer to help out – with money or their time!

Closing Point

The one benefit of being young is that many adults are likely to give you a moment of their time. Therefore if you can put together a strong plan and proposal – the money, or at least the good (free) advice will follow.

If your 15 with an amazing idea. Drop us a line. We’d love to hear your story.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Your Holiday is Now Over

head_in_hands_disappointment_sadness

Your Holiday is Now Over

You spent the last couple of weeks frolicking in joy and laziness. You got into a habit of waking up after midday. Well sadly the holiday is officially over. For most, you are forced to resume your daily commute to your office cubicle. You can now begin the 365 day countdown to the next summer holiday break.

On the Plus Side

The good news is that you can get back to pursuing your dreams. New years is often the time for reflection and goal setting. January is time to start pursuing your new year’s resolutions. Those goals we set ourself that are often forgotten by January 31st.

Goal Setting

Let’s make 2013 different! Let’s write down some goals/resolutions and aim to fulfil them. Let’s prove those sceptics wrong and show them that new year’s resolutions can be met and even exceeded.

Step 1

According to the experts, you should try the following:

+ Decide what you want.
+ Start small, but keep walking.
+ Be positive when stating your goals.
+ Don’t underestimate yourself.
+ Write it down.
+ Affirm it.
+ Stop procrastinating.
+ Habituate yourself to liking the challenges.
+ Review your progress.

The focus is setting realistic and positive goals that you can monitor. Writing them down and sticking them on your wall can be a massive motivator. It can also prompt visitors to press you on your progress.

Our Goals

In 2013:

+ We want to write better posts by being better story tellers.
+ We want to build more things by stop making excuses for not building things.
+ We want to learn more from others by talking more to others.

What are your goals?

Drop us a line, leave is a comment. Share the love. Good luck in 2013!

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Why Why Why Why Why – The Five Whys?

why why why why why five whys

Overview

We just finished listening to Mark Graban’s interview with Lean Startup author Eris Ries. The two talk about Taiichi Ohno’s influence on their lean methodologies.

Taiichi Ohno is considered to be the father of the Toyota Production System, which later became Lean Manufacturing. His written experiences at Toyota heavily influenced the manufacturing industries across the globe.

The two agree that Ohno’s books may lack the western style instruction many readers seek out however do praise the author on his alternative approach to manufacturing and it’s powerful application across all industries.

What stood out from the interview was Eric’s impressions of Ohno’s approach to root cause analysis – the five whys. The approach is a simplistic but powerful method of solving problems. Let us take a look…

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The “5 Whys” Problem Solving Approach

Essentially the five whys ask why until the cause of the problem is identified. This leads to the ultimate question – How do we fix this problem once and for all? You can keep asking why until you drive out all issues.

Here is an example (Wikipedia):

The Problem: The vehicle will not start.

First Why? Why? – The battery is dead.
Second Why? Why? – The alternator is not functioning.
Third Why? Why? – The alternator belt has broken.
Fourth Why? Why? – The alternator belt was well beyond its useful service life and not replaced.
Fifth Why? Why? – The vehicle was not maintained according to the recommended service schedule.
Sixth Why? Why? – Replacement parts are not available because of the extreme age of the vehicle.

Often we overlook the cause of problems; or shy away from asking the simple questions. Sometimes going back to basics can solve the most complex questions.

Did this help? Let us know.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening
+ Helpful Startup Tools For Entrepreneurs

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

How to go from Idea Guy to Execution Guy?

Startup Business Idea Execution

Great Expecations

You are always thinking up great ideas. Good, bad the ugly. Your bedside notebook is full of brilliant ideas to turn you into the next business billionare. One problem, you never execute any of these ideas.

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The Idea Guy

A recent question to Quora asked: How do I go from being an idea/vision guy to an idea and execution guy?

It strikes at the very problem many entreprenuers face. How do we get started? How do we take these ideas and make them real? Execution (good or bad) seperates the men from the boys…

Start Executing

Want to go from day dreamer to execution guru. Here are some steps. Be warned you may actually execute something!

1) Open your idea notebook – If you have one, open it to page 1. If you don’t have one, you ask yourself ig you really are the “ideas” guy.

Inc.com writes: “Get them out of your head and onto paper. Having all of this brilliance trapped in your brain is exhausting – it wants out!”

2) Choose an idea – Pick the easiet and smallest idea you have. Pick one.

3) Execute – That’s right. Give yourself one month to execute that idea.

Add a reminder in your calendar, stick a post-it on your front door. For the next 30/31 days you need to deliver.

4) Complete – If you executed the idea, congrate yourself and pick the next idea to execute. If you failed, keep going until the idea is executed.

5) Practice – Practice makes perfect. Keep refining your execution skills and proving to yourself and others you have atarck record of delivering.

Did these steps help? Did you execute? Let us know.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Kickstarter Crowdfunding Now Available in Europe

Crowdfunding UK

On 31 October 2012 Kickstarter launched it’s operations in the UK. There are already more than 1,500 applications kicking about.

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website for creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse mixture of arts projects including indie films, music, stage shows and comics to journalism, video games and food-related projects. Individuals “back” projects in exchange for a tangible reward or one-of-a-kind experience.

The platform has helped many US based projects get off the ground. In the past, several technology based projects were well over subscribed, raising millions of dollars from backers. This spurred Kickstarter to clamp down on the rules to avoid pitches misleading users with false claims. Nevertheless, the platform remains a powerful and exciting method of funding.

Is it worth it?

Kickstarter will charge a 5% fee to successfully funded projects and no fee to unsuccessfully funded projects in the UK. Payment processing fees are:

+ Pledges of £10 or greater are charged 3% + £0.20
+ Pledges less than £10 are charged a discounted micropledge fee of 5% + £0.05
+ If a project is not successfully funded, there are no fees.

These charges are pretty good considering the wide reach of the platform and access to funding many projects wouldn’t normally have.

Getting Started

A great place to start is the Kickstarter website. Kickstarter offers plenty of advice and guidance on their website.

The Income Diary has published the Ultimate Guide: How to Make a Successful Kickstarter Campaign. Some key tips are:

+ First determine if your project is eligible for Kickstarter
+ Begin early
+ Check out past and present projects to get an idea for style and content
+ Use an eye catching project image and project title
+ Choose your funding goal
+ Set a project deadline
+ Select your campaign rewards for backers
+ Make a personalised and effective project video and description
+ Make regular updates
+ Prepare for launch

Kickstarter UK has opened the door for creative and existing projects to get off the ground. Good luck to those new applicants. Who will be the first to raise over £1 million?

Alternatives to Kickstarter UK

Not eligible for Kickstarter or looking for other similar platforms. Check out the following links:

+ We Did This – The UK’s leading arts crowdfunding platform, dedicated to making great fan-funded art happen.
+ Seedrs – Seedrs makes investing in startups simple and rewarding.
+ We Fund – The first crowd-funding platform to emerge in the UK, focusing on creativity in all forms. They help people find (paying) audiences for their work.
+ Crowd Funder – Fund and follow creative projects and inspirational ideas.
+ Sponsume – Small stakes in big ideas.
+ Please Fund Us – Crowdfunding creativity.
+ Crowd Cube – Raise business finance through the world’s first equity crowdfunding platform.

No more excuses. There are now many ways to raise cash for your next project or startup.

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You might also enjoy:
+ Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes
+ Ouya Breaks Crowdfunding Record – Exceeds Target By Millions
+ Startup Weekend: What to expect? How to prepare?
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Project Trout – Social Media Experiment Update #3

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Lessons Learned – Be Your Own Boss

Be Your Own Boss

The new entrepreneur TV series “Be Your Own Boss” started a couple of weeks ago on the BBC. This is an extension to the BBC’s portfolio of pop-business productions that includes Dragons Den and The Apprentice.

These shows are definitely pitched at the mainstream and simplify aspects of starting a business. The X-Factor style delivery can easily be criticised. Nevertheless Be Your Own Boss proves to offer some real nuggets to aspiring entrepreneurs. It preaches the freedom and satisfaction that can come from building your own business. Noble aspirations in times the current climate of high unemployment and declining opportunities for young people.

Innocent Drinks

The show follows Innocent Drinks co-founder Richard Reed and his search for bright minds with great ideas to invest in. Richard’s own story is inspiring.

From Wikipedia:

+ Innocent was founded by three graduates – Richard Reed, Adam Balon and Jon Wright.
+ In 1998, after spending six months working on smoothie recipes and £500 on fruit, the trio sold their drinks from a stall at a music festival in London.
+ People were asked to put their empty bottles in a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ bin depending on whether they thought the three should quit their jobs to make smoothies. At the end of the festival the ‘YES’ bin was full, with only three cups in the ‘NO’ bin, so they went to their work the next day and resigned.
+ Had a lucky break when Maurice Pinto, a wealthy American businessman decided to invest £250,000.
+ In total, it took fifteen months from the initial idea to taking the product to market.
+ In 2009 the company sold a small stake of between 10 and 20% to The Coca-Cola Company, with the three founders retaining all operational control for £30 million.
+ In 2010 Coca-Cola increased its stake in the company to 58% from 18% for about £65 million.
+ The three founders continue to retain full operational control.

Lessons from the Boss

Richard is brutally honest to hopeful candidates and rightly so. How can people seriously ask to use someone’s money to “conduct market research” or “advertise”?

In a way he is the typical angel investor seeking to reapply their recipe of success to others. Richard is constantly talking about the virtues of aiming big and getting into supermarkets; and knocking on doors of retailers to know if the product has any demand.

He also dismisses some ideas he is not passionate about. Rightly so given it will be his time and money he is investing. However occasionally he seems a little too quick to dismiss a pitch. Maybe some of the detail is lost in the editing.

The key points that stand out:

+ Validate your idea and product immediately. Determine if a market and demand exist.
+ Speak to people and potential customers.
+ Forget social media. You need to knock on doors and speak to people.
+ Get orders. The ultimate sign of a good idea is selling (even it is pre-selling before the product is available).
+ Be serious and take advise. Don’t expect investment if you’re closed or not at the right stage for investment.
+ Know your strategy.

There are many more, but the message of getting outside the building and conducting customer development is clear.

Stay Tuned

The series is entertaining and even features the occasional cameo from business legend Richard Branson. So far Richard Reed (not Branson) has invested in a couple of clever ideas. Let’s see if they reap him as much reward as Innocent.

Some of the Ventures so far (more here):

Week 1: Mango Bikes
Week 2: Twists Pasta Bar
Week 3: MixPixie

Image Credit: BBC

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Starting Up – 9 Business Selection Criteria

Small Business and Startup Selection Criteria For Entrepreneurs

Last week we wrote about Fabrice Grinda, a serial startup entrepreneur. During a podcast interview he spoke about his experiences on building large successful businesses. On his blog he writes about his experiences and shares a wealth of knowledge.

One area of interest is his writings on business ideas and business selection criteria. Below we have summarised his approach to picking a business idea or market to enter. They are not a stringent set of rules but do present some strong points to consider when brainstorming your next startup.

9 Business Selection Criteria

1. At least $1 billion addressable market – May be easier to obtain funding and holds greater upside potential.

2. A valid business model from the beginning – This is having an understanding of how the business will generate money. The stronger the cash flows and balance sheet, the better chance of business longevity. Grinda later removed this criteria however increases the risk of the business idea.

3. Does not require more than $2 million in seed or $15 million in first round VC money – Any more, and the business may be too large for a startup to build.

4. An opportunity to be one of the top players (market or region) – Consider markets where large players do not hold strong positions.

5. A scalable idea – An idea that can be grown.

6. A business with little or no risk of margin compression – Beware of markets where customers and/or suppliers can controls revenues and expenses. These create variables you cannot control.

7. A business in a rapidly growing market – Share the success in fast growing markets.

8. An idea that you can execute or learn to execute – Focus on an area where you have a clear advantage.

9. An idea that you want to do! – Pursue a business you have a genuine interest or passion in.

Note: These criteria are taken from a 2005 blog post and may not suit everyone.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Fabrice Grinda – Musings of a Serial Entrepreneur

tl;dr Serial entrepreneur Fabrice Grinda shares his intriguing background with Andrew Warner (Mixergy). Grinda started at a young age selling computers and went on to build and sell larger businesses (auction site Aucland and mobile company Zingy). His approach to big ideas and large scale execution is inspiring to all entrepreneurs.

Musings of a Serial Entrepreneur

We just finished listening to a great startup podcast with Fabrice Grinda. Embarrassingly we hadn’t heard of him before however he is a serial entrepreneur with an impressive track record.

In the early days Grinda started selling computers between the US and Europe, realising a price and time arbitrage opportunity to sell newer spec computers to Europeans. Fabrice later went to work at McKinsey but grew tired of corporate life and left to start Aucland, at the time the European version of eBay.

After the successful exploration of various other ventures, Grinda went on to found Zingy, a mobile ringtones, wallpapers and games company. He later sold this to a Japanese based firm a few years later for $80 million. By then the company had numerous big name mobile companies on their books, including Sprint and Verizon.

He now runs OLX, a free online classifieds and auctions site. He also is heavily involved in the startup scene, investing in several up and coming startups.

The highlight of the interview is hearing Grinda’s approach to product generation and how well he executes. He is not scared to create a business that already exists. He challenged eBay and Amazon and survived. He persevered with Zingy and won. He writes more on his business selection criteria on his blog.

Links

+ Check out the Mixergy podcast with Fabrice Grinda.
+ Visit Fabrice Grinda’s excellent and informative blog – Musings of a Serial Entrepreneur.

Image Credit: The Old Fashioned

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ Startup Weekend: How to prepare? (Day 0)

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

The Top 100 UK Startups Revealed

Startups.co.uk has recently revealed their top 100 startups of 2012. The lists demonstrates “the most exciting, creative and disruptive new businesses in the UK today”.

According to the site:

“Launched in 2008, the Startups 100 was the first and bar-setting countdown of the top 100 start-ups in the country. It’s now our flagship feature, published every two years (you can check out our 2010 Startups 100 list here) and previous winners have gone on to phenomenal successes.

Huddle, Shortlist Media, Naked Wines, Wonga and Zoopla are just a few of our alumni, and we have equally high hopes for the companies on our latest list.”

Congratulations to all those that were named. This is a tremendous showcase of British business talent and innovation. The list of alumni members proves that this year’s businesses have a real chance of extending their start-up success.

You can view the full list here or check out the top 25 below.

If you made the list or are a new startup, please get in touch! We would love to learn more and even run a feature on your business.

Top 25 (of 100):

1. Shutl – The start-up solving e-commerce’s greatest problem, giving customers greater control over deliveries. (Read More)
2. Fetch Media – The mobile marketing and advertising agency serving global clients, both sides of the pond. (Read More)
3. MVF Global – The fast-growth online marketing business looking differently at lead generation. (Read More)
4. Hailo – The city-centric app which lets you book a licensed cab – in just two taps. (Read More)
5. Stylistpick – A subscription-based fashion site, selling shoes and accessories hand-picked by top stylists. (Read More)
6. MediaDevil – The five-star mobile accessory brand outstripping its competitors with customer service. (Read More)
7. Stylus – The design inspiration service with a £142m entrepreneur at its helm. (Read More)
8. Onefinestay – Authentic accommodation for the jet set – rent a real, luxury home, with all the trimmings of a hotel. (Read More)
9. Bear – The brand shaking up the snack market with a range of guilt-free, fruit treats. (Read More)
10. Neon Play – The mobile app developer making smartphones even more addictive. (Read More)
11. Crowdcube – The pioneer of equity-based crowdfunding, stamping a new path in alternative finance. (Read More)
12. Transferwise – A cheaper way to transfer money overseas, backed by top venture capital firms and the co-founder of PayPal. (Read More)
13. myParcelDelivery.com – The comparison website for courier services putting an end to the pain of post office queuing. (Read More)
14. zeebox – Hoping to change the way we watch television is free app Zeebox, the self-styled ‘TV sidekick’. (Read More)
15. Conversocial – Helping companies interact with their customers through Facebook and Twitter. (Read More)
16. Crane.tv – The ‘digital storytelling company’, comprising an online video magazine and full-service entertainment agency. (Read More)
17. The Giving Card – The discount card which saves you money while raising revenue for charities. (Read More)
18. MarketInvoice – The online platform where small businesses can auction their unpaid invoices to global investors. (Read More)
19. Blippar – An innovative mobile application, which unlocks cool digital content from images. (Read More)
20. Blottr – The people-powered news service breaking stories quicker via mobile and web. (Read More)
21. Adzuna – The pioneering search engine bringing millions of classifieds together in one place. (Read More)
22. Brainient – The company making video advertising more effective – tapping into a potentially huge market. (Read More)
23. BBOXX – Providing the world’s poorest with access to affordable electricity. (Read More)
24. Seven Hills – The pioneering PR firm putting British entrepreneurship on the map. (Read More)
25. Central Working – The city workhubs helping entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. (Read More)

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Top 100 UK Startups (2010)
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Kickstarter: Ouya raises $1million in 8 hours and 22 minutes

Update: Ouya raised $8,596,475 from 63,416 backers. Read more about Ouya and crowdfunding here.

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Kickstarter is the well known crowd funding website for creative projects. Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of endeavours, ranging from indie films, music and comics to journalism, video games, and food-related projects.

They have gained attention from the growing popularity in crowd funding and the rapid pace at which participants raise money.

From the Kickstarter blog: Yesterday a video game project called Ouya became the eighth project in Kickstarter history to raise more than a million dollars, and the fastest ever to do so.

This is absolutely incredible and shows a lucrative opportunity for startups seeking funding. There are numerous resources online that provide a guide to crowd funding.

Ouya are not the only team to raise more than a million dollars. Here are the top eight by speed:

  1. OUYA — 8 hours and 22 minutes
  2. Double Fine Adventure — 17 hours and 30 minutes
  3. Pebble — 27 hours
  4. Wasteland 2 — 41 hours
  5. Shadowrun Returns — 7 days
  6. The Order of the Stick — 27 days, 5 hours
  7. Amanda Palmer — 27 days, 12 hours
  8. Elevation Dock — 57 days

And here are the top ten by dollars received in 24 hours:

  1. OUYA — $2,589,687.77
  2. Double Fine Adventure — $1,064,652.05
  3. Pebble — $863,132.92
  4. Wasteland 2 — $555,407.84
  5. Shadowrun Returns — $378,008.28
  6. Amanda Palmer — $223,348.50
  7. The Icarus Deception — $178,194.00
  8. Elevation Dock — $161,507.00
  9. Penny Arcade Sells Out — $151,221.17
  10. gTar — $138,891.00

If you wish to share your own experiences drop us a line or leave a comment or join the Hacker News discussion.

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ Top Startup Podcasts – Learning From Listening

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones

The original office building of Samsung Sanghoe in Daegu

In April Samsung overtook Apple and Nokia in the first three months of the year to become the world’s largest smartphone vendor. This ended Nokia’s amazing 14-year run as the largest maker of all phone handsets by volume.

This is all very impressive for the former South Korean dried fish and noodle business started in 1938. It was only in the late 1960s they entered into the electronics industry. So how exactly does a small Korean food company evolve into one of the world’s largest electronics companies?

Reading through the company’s history on Wikipedia and their own corporate website, the following points stand out:

+ Established by son of a wealthy landowning family, Byung-Chull Lee
+ Dropped out of University
+ Used inheritance to open a unsuccessful rice mill
+ Established a trucking business
+ Business grew into food wholesaling and noodle manufacturer
+ Prospered post World War 2 (end of Japanese Rule)
+ Forced to relocate/pivot due to Korean War – stared a sugar refinery business
+ Diversified into insurance, securities, and retail
+ Founder strong believer in industrialization and domestic economies
+ A joint investment in the group of companies ended due to differences in management style
+ Samsung enter the electronics industry, producing black-and-white television sets
+ During the 70′s they enter the telecommunication hard industry

By the 90′s they had extensive investment in a variety of businesses becoming the leading manufacturer in many fields, including chip sets, display panels and even engines. Not a bad history of events for a company that is only 74 years old!

Reading through articles on the company, the breadth of products and services is outstanding. It is questionable whether such diversity and pivoting would still work today? Whatever the case, Samsung has the experience to compete with the best in the world – smartphones or dried fish…

Links:
Hacker News Discussion
More Startup Posts

Image Credit: London Korea Links – Will Samsung Electronics innovate again?

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Be the First to Like Us on Facebook

We recently announced our foray onto Facebook. It is difficult to ignore Facebook with 900 million active users. Unfortunately we are yet to get much of a following. Therefore this is a shout out for support.

Simply log onto Facebook and visit our page. Invite your friends and share your views on entrepreneurship, startups and technology.

And don’t forget, we are also on all the other mainstream social media site – please get invovled:

twitter.com/SparknLaunch

plus.google.com/SparkNLaunch

facebook.com/SparkNLaunch

sparknlaunch.wordpress.com/feed/ (RSS)

stumbleupon.com/stumbler/sparknlaunch

technorati.com/SparkNLaunch/

sprouter.com/sparknlaunch/

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus

Business Guru Advice For Startups

Being a guru is a real balancing act…

Waqas Ali, a Pakistani based startup entrepreneur made the new years resolution not be fooled by bad advice. He pledged:

“…I shall not be fooled again by gurus…”

It got us thinking about the massive volume of startup guidance and advice being published and preached. How much can be relied on? How much can be applied to your startup?

The usefulness and accuracy of advice varies greatly. One size does not fit all. What worked for one business may not work at all for another. Another problem is that bad or misleading guidance may lead you down the wrong track and waste your time and efforts.

We certainly praise those that share their experiences and enjoy the open discussion. However one must be aware of the dangers of taking advice that is not tailored specifically to your circumstances. Ultimately careful judgement is required to pick out and implement the best and most applicable advice for your own startup. Ensure any advice can be actioned and be measured.

Below is a sampling of commonly shared cliched startup advice, inspired by the Quora question: What popular startup advice is plain wrong? How many of the above do you full/partially agree of disagree with? Do you have some more quotes to add to the list? Leave us a comment below.

On Motivation:
+ Don’t give up too easily
+ Never give up
+ Be Careful
+ Take the plunge
+ Quit your day job and throw everything you have into it
+ All you need is passion
+ Do what you love, the money will follow

On Success:
+ You need to fail first before you succeed
+ Some startups are successful after long periods of failure
+ They were lucky by being in the right place, at the right time

On Being an Entrepreneur:
+ Being an entrepreneur gives you freedom, free from the constraints of working for others
+ You have to be in silicon valley
+ Join an accelerator/incubator/academy
+ You do/don’t need a qualification

On Advice:
+ Ignore all startup advice
+ Follow all startup advice
+ Don’t blindly believe another successful entrepreneur
+ Advice from the more technical team members is going to be technically biased
+ Advice from consultants is going to be focused on consultant deliverables rather than real deliverables

On Business Development:
+ Build it and they will come
+ It’s already been done
+ It’s impossible to compete with Microsoft, Google, Facebook…
+ Be first
+ Don’t worry about learning the ‘business’ side of things because you can bring on a partner to handle that
+ Start business development as soon as possible
+ You don’t need a business plan
+ Do your homework and make sure that the problem you think you’re fixing really exists

On Technology:
+ You need a technical co-founder
+ You need to know how to code
+ You can’t outsource the product
+ Do/don’t outsource
+ Keep technology and business separate

On Launching:
+ Just setup a landing page and collect emails
+ Launching is an event
+ Iterate rapidly and don’t worry about scaling

On Funding:
+ Startups have to raise venture capital in order to succeed
+ Your time (sweat equity) doesn’t have any value
+ Do not raise funding as great businesses are all about bootstrapping
+ Venture Capitalists have an interest in big exits and therefore will mislead you
+ Take lots of debt now

On Revenue:
+ You don’t need revenue
+ Go ‘freemium’

On Lean:
+ Lean startup means keeping costs low
+ Lean startups change their business plan every five minutes
+ The first thing to validate is your solution
+ Lean startups are internet Startups
+ Quality is not important in a Lean startup
+ First build a Minimal Viable Product

Links:
Hacker News Discussion
More Startup Posts

.

You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Samsung’s Pivot From Dried Fish to Smartphones
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

Welcome new readers! If this is your first time here, you might want to start with a new article or read through our older submissions.

Where to next? Check out a random article.

Stay in touch: Check us out via RSS Feed, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook.

Join the conversation: Leave a comment or this post.

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