Readings - Investors

Selected from this week's passing stream as worth reading. There's more room here to make notes than on Twitter.

Steve Blank on early adopters
There are several serial entrepreneurs and investors who regularly post useful comment for people starting businesses. Steve Blank's Silicon Valley startup advice has a broad perspective and a specific viewpoint on how to create 'lean startups'. Finding a few early adopter customers who are able to be internal evangelists for your ideas in their organization is a critical step in getting a business going. Ideally they will also be prepared to be quoted in public as a paying customer.

"Earlyvangelists are a special breed of customers willing to take a risk on your startup’s product or service. They can actually envision its potential to solve a critical and immediate problem—and they have the budget to purchase it. Unfortunately, most customers don’t fit this profile." Post

Mark Suster's investment thesis
Mark Suster is an entrepreneur turned early stage investor who also posts useful advice.
Here he describes his investment thesis - it's unusual in having a longer than usual perspective on the investment methdology and returns he expects, and on being more willing to pay attention to the entrepreneur's need to make an early return on their first company exit.

"I have a philosophy. A thesis. An entrepreneur thesis. I’m not talk about the age old debate amongst investors whether you back entrepreneurs, markets or products (or as many people like to hedge – product / market fit). I’m unequivocal on that topic. It’s entrepreneurs I back. I’m on the record as saying I’m 70% management, 30% market." Post

Investment and startups outside the Valley
There's an ongoing discussion among the VCs in New York about what it needs to do to create more successful investments. While sitting in Silicon Valley, I have an interest in promoting the same discussion for the UK.
Stowe Boyd (who moved from the Valley to New York) observes that New York now has a critical mass of smart early stage investors, partly as a side effect of the financial meltdown - talented people no longer so eager to work at hedge funds or big banks.If this is true, it should map to London and Edinburgh. Post

Chris Dixon, also in New York, visited the Valley and observes a contrasting style - he suggests making it an ally, partner and role model. Post
Robert Scoble, who tends to be 18 months ahead of actual trends, lists characteristics which make it much easier than it used to be to have a sucessful startup somewhere other than the Valley. Post

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