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The latest news on Startups from Business Insider

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    nick woodman

    Hardware startups don't nearly get enough attention.

    Companies that build apps and Web services get all the attention but more and more companies are starting to build physical products you can buy and use. 

    In light of Facebook buying virtual reality company Oculus VR for $2 billion, we decided to shed some light on other hardware companies in Silicon Valley doing incredible things. 

    Alexander Asseily, Hosain Rahman

    Co-founder and Chairman; Co-founder and CEO, Jawbone

    Jawbone quietly raised more than $100 million in a debt round of financing back in September because, Jawbone says, demand for its Up fitness tracker is high. In February of 2014, we got word that the company is raising $250 million at a $3.3 billion valuation

    Jawbone also bought BodyMedia, a 14-year-old wearable fitness startup, for $100 million last year.

    Mike Del Ponte

    Founder, Soma 

    Mike Del Ponte is the genius behind Soma, a sort of Warby Parker of water filters. In July 2013, it closed a $3.7 million round of seed funding led by Baseline Ventures and Forerunner Ventures.

    Soma is targeting people who are tired of ugly Brita water filters and are passionate about sustainability. For every biodegradable water filter it sells, Soma donates money to charity.

    Jason Johnson, Yves Behar

    Founders, August

    The Internet of Things is all the rage lately, so it's no wonder startup August was able to snag $8 million for its smart locks from Maveron Ventures, Cowboy Ventures, Industry Ventures, Rho Ventures, and SoftTech VC.

    With August, you'll never have to worry about getting locked out of your house because the system is entirely key-less. August also gives you total control of who can enter your home and when. August will start shipping its locks later this year.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Colin Grussing

    For most aspiring business minds, conceiving a viable enterprise is the project of a lifetime. For 28-year-old Colin Grussing, it's about to become a weekly routine.

    With a seemingly time-bending initiative entitled 52businesses that is sure to intrigue dreamers and skeptics alike, Grussing and a small team will set out to create one new business each week for one year.

    Why? To demystify the process of launching an early-stage startup, says Grussing — a Yale graduate, serial entrepreneur, and former "Shark Tank" contestant from New Orleans. As lofty as it sounds, "We want to encourage people to responsibly pursue their ideas, and ultimately contribute to a stronger, more resilient economy," he said.

    If the premise doesn't sound brazen enough, here's more: the team of three employees and five interns will base their operations out of a retrofitted cerulean school bus from the 80s, which they have lovingly nicknamed 'Bob' (Business Operations Bus.)

    And the entire experiment will be documented through social media — on blogs, podcasts, webisodes, Facebook, Twitter, and more.

    The weeks ahead

    Though they will have to be deployed at lightning speed, Grussing says he's already chock-full of business ideas. One venture is a mobile yoga studio. Another, Apocalypse Camp, is a survival course for adults to be held within a derelict jailhouse, where proficiencies such as siphoning gas, hotwiring cars, and shooting guns will be taught.

    "In terms of overall planning, we always want to stay four weeks ahead of the curve — while still maintaining the authentic sense that we're starting fresh every Monday," Grussing said.

    To judge the success of each venture, "we're aiming to have proof of concept — and in some cases, even profitability — within seven days." The team is targeting a success rate of 100%, he added, "though we'd be happy with 75."

    But just how will each company subsist once its dedicated week has passed? Many can become automated, Grussing explained, while others will represent joint ventures or will have been developed from the outset with a specific manager in mind. Nevertheless, "We have a stake in each one," he insisted. "These aren't throwaways."

    And then, halfway through the process — once the concept has proven itself, Grussing said — 52businesses will open its doors to outside applicants in hopes of supercharging the dreams of fellow entrepreneurs.

    "Just watch me"

    If 52businesses sounds slightly harebrained, a glance at Grussing's former endeavors helps to contextualize the undertaking.

    After college, Grussing founded RootSuit— a vendor of skin-tight spandex bodysuits that landed him on "Shark Tank." Next, he created a dealership of motorcycle sidecars sourced from India. Though these endeavors bear little in common other than the impulsive passions of their inventor, each has turned a sizable profit.

    At the age of 28, his businesses — and a handful of strategic investments in real estate — had earned Grussing enough passive income to retire, he said. This was a path he seriously considered before realizing that it was the entrepreneurial process that fueled him more so than the financial returns.

    Acknowledging that none of his proposed businesses are conventional in any sense of the word, Grussing said his strength lies in creating quick cash flow in tandem with fun and meaningful experiences. "What I specialize in is bootstrapping an idea, turning it into cash, and then adding it to my portfolio," he said.

    And for detractors who might snicker at those ideas — or doubt Grussing's seriousness of his purpose — he has three simple words: "Just watch me."

    SEE ALSO: Here's Why Apple Will Never Be What It Was Under Steve Jobs

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    startup pitches

    Creating a pitch deck is hard, especially when you’ve never done it before. If you’re a first-time entrepreneur like I was when we raised our series $15 million first round for Bigcommerce back in 2011, then you’re probably excited, nervous, and anxious about raising your first round of financing.

    The good news is that a pitch deck can (and should be) be almost formulaic. You’ve got to tell a story, paint a vision, know your metrics, and sell, sell, sell. Whether you’re raising a small seed round or a bigger series A straight off the bat, you need to get a few things right, and the rest will fall into place. In this post I want to share with you eight tips to create the perfect pitch deck.

    There’s a lot of advice out there about creating pitch decks, so why should you take mine? Well, I’ve raised a total of three rounds of venture financing totaling $75 million for Bigcommerce over the last three years. I’ve pitched to dozens of venture capitalists, including most of the tier one and tier two VCs up and down the west and east costs. And I’ve received multiple term sheets, all with strong valuations, great terms, and the most important thing: great investors and board members.

    So let’s jump in. Here are the eight tips I think are the most important for creating a pitch deck that will make your fundraising experience short, effective, and rewarding for you, your co-founders, your employees, your business, and your future investors.

    1) Have a big vision, then make it 10x bigger

    Having a compelling vision for where you want to take your business is important, but most first-time entrepreneurs think too small. I know I was guilty of this a few years ago. I can tell you now, whatever your vision is, it needs to be bigger and more compelling.

    For example, if you have a vision to make it easy for people in a specific country to solve a problem, then expand your vision to help everyone in the world solve that same problem.

    How do you know when you’re thinking big enough?

    When you’re uncomfortable and even nervous with the size of the vision you’re adding to your pitch deck. Over time you’ll get used to the bigger vision and you’ll be surprised at how much more aggressive it will make you towards pursuing it.

    2) Explain in detail how you’ll use the money

    “We will invest half in marketing and half in engineering” is not the most articulate way to address how you will spend the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars you want an investor to trust you with.

    Having a detailed financial model for at least the next two years will paint a picture of not only your operating expenses but also your revenue growth, margins, and potential profit over that time, as well.

    More than anything, know by department and ideally by business case where you will invest the capital, and if you already have a marketing machine with a predictable ROI (i.e. $1 in brings $5 out), then explain that in detail, too.

    Having an accurate financial forecast will help mitigate some of the risk potential investors see in your business, especially if you’re pre-revenue and/or are a first time entrepreneur. Remember: the more risk you can take away, the better your chances of closing the deal.

    3) Know your metrics better than anyone

    For a subscription business it’s CAC, LTV, CAC:LTV, net MRR, conversion rate, churn (both number of clients and percentage of revenue), gross margin, etc. For other businesses the metrics will be similar. You need to know your current and future metrics in exact detail, and you should be able to talk to how you will improve the metrics that aren’t up to scratch.

    David Skok wrote the ultimate guide to metrics back in 2010 on his great blog For Entrepreneurs. It’s a long and detailed post, but it’s foundational to understand if you’re raising capital.

    4) Have a short main deck

    This one is simple. Your pitch deck should have two parts: the main deck and an appendix. In the main deck, include slides that are critical to telling your story and showing your metrics, team, and vision. Supporting slides should be in the appendix.

    How long should your deck be? Generally 30 to 60 slides is about average. The main part of our series C deck, which we used to raise $40 million from Revolution, was 26 slides. The appendix was 16 slides for a total of 42 slides.

    5) People grow a company, not capital

    The best companies are built by amazing and capable people. Devote at least one slide in your deck to outlining your team and what makes them amazing.

    Are you an amazing engineer? Spell out your talents and how they contributed to your product. Do you have a strong executive team from A-list companies? Include a mini bio on each executive, including the companies they’ve been at and each of their key accomplishments.

    For example, has your head of sales built large, high-performing sales teams before? If so, call it out. Did your CTO built highly scalable systems that handle tens of millions of users at her previous company? You get the idea.

    Investors know you have competitors, and generally, the strongest team will build the best product and brand and therefore win the market. If you have a strong team, make it known. If your team is just a handful of first-timers, then talk to your vision for the team. Who will you hire with the capital and how will you recruit them?

    Have ambition to hire and build the best team you can, and communicate that ambition in your pitch deck. Be honest about your team’s weaknesses, and emphasize your strengths.

    6) Talk about pain & how you solve it

    All great pitch decks include a story that guides the reader from the initial pain point to the solution to the promised land (a business with excellent metrics that’s growing quickly). Be sure to talk about the initial pain point your product solves.

    How did you come across it? Why are you solving it? Why is your approach the best one, and how can you solve the problem for more people as a result of raising capital?

    7) Traction speaks louder than words

    Whether you’re generating revenue or not, it’s important to show your product already has traction. Again, this reduces the risk in the eyes of potential investors and gives you a better shot at getting a term sheet.

    If you’re generating revenue and it’s accelerating fast, make sure that’s a slide in your pitch deck. If not, look at all of your metrics and choose the one that best represents the potential of your business, such as total number of users, total photos uploaded, or similar. Ideally this metric should chart “up and to the right” and show that with a little capital you can push this metric even faster while on your way to revenue and profit.

    8) Pitch, polish, repeat

    As soon as you’ve wrapped your first pitch, make sure you have a Q&A session at the end. Questions help potential investors get clarity on everything from your numbers to your competitive advantage. Take note of their questions and feedback and use them to tweak your deck before the next pitch.

    Repeat this for every pitch you do and, after three or four pitches, you should notice you’re getting fewer questions about the content in your deck. Because your pitch deck is continually improving, you should get a lot of positive feedback about your presentation — assuming you’re a captivating speaker and actually have a business that excites potential investors.

    Mitchell Harper is the co-founder and co-CEO of Bigcommerce, the leading e-commerce platform for small businesses looking to grow their revenues faster. Starting with $20,000 in credit card debt from a rented office above a friend’s phone shop in Sydney, Australia, the company has grown over 100% year-over-year and has raised a total of $75M from US-based General Catalyst, Floodgate, and Revolution. Mitchell tweets at @mitchellharper.

    SEE ALSO: 13 Slides That Landed Two Founders $500,000 In 3 Months

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    cece cheng

    When you're a venture capitalist investing in startups, it takes about seven years to know if you're doing a good job or not. That's how long it generally takes for a startup to exit and for you to know if you made a great investment or put money into a major flop.

    There are a bunch of 20-somethings in New York who are helping source deals for their firms. They're taking board seats and being handed millions of dollars to find the best new companies around.

    A few 20-somethings have left traditional firms and raised tens of millions of dollars for their own funds.

    We rounded up a list of people who have already accomplished a lot in the New York startup scene. If they keep at it, they could become the next Ron Conways, Fred Wilsons, and Bill Gurleys. 

    Max Stoller was formerly an engineer for a startup that was acquired by Groupon. Now he sources deals like Soylent for Lerer Ventures.

    Age: 23

    Title: Senior Associate, Lerer Ventures

    Deals led: Soylent, Runscope. Stoller was previously an engineer at HyperPublic, a startup that was acquired by Groupon, and an intern at Foursquare.

    Caitlin Strandberg helped launch Flybridge Capital Partner's NYC office. She sits in on BetterCloud board meetings, and organizes a slew of events for women and up-and-comers in tech.

    Age: 25

    Title: Associate, Flybridge Capital Partners

    Startups she's worked with: Attends board meetings for BetterCloud. Co-hosts Women in VC lunches, breakfasts/events for young VCs in NYC, runs an email group of young VCs in NYC and hosts the Option Pool Party, a big event for up-and-coming tech talent in NYC startups. She was also Flybridge's first NYC hire and helped the firm open the office in 2012.  Prior to joining Flybridge, Caitlin worked for NYC startups, LearnVest and Behance. Behance was acquired by Adobe. 

    Jesse Beyroutey previously worked for Insight Venture Partners and is now an associate at IA Ventures. He has a board seat and is an observer at DigitalOcean.

    Age: 24

    Title: Associate at IA Ventures.

    Startups he's involved with: On the board of Updater, and observer at DigitalOcean, Sight Machine, Transcriptic, TransferWise, and Twice. He previously worked for Insight Venture Partners.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    LinkedIn YogaQuestion: What's your best advice for staying healthy when you're working insane startup hours?

    Exercise consistently

    "Get some form of exercise regularly. It doesn't have to be every day but stay consistent: every day, two times a week, four times a week, whatever works for you. Determine what time of day makes you feel best. Personally, exercising in the morning makes me feel great during the day, but if I can't do morning, I'm fine exercising at night."

    Tim Jahn, matchist

    Drink plenty of water

    "Our body is made of up to 60% water, and I talk to people who haven't had a glass in days! Grab a stylish (and large) glass, fill it up, and sip as you go. If I get nothing on my to-do list done because of fire drills, but somehow my water glass is empty, I can end the day with a win, no matter how small!"

    Kim Kaupe, ZinePak

    Be social

    "Having friends is the number-one most important key to longevity. In fact, it is as good for your long-term health as avoiding cigarettes, according to many studies. Why? Friends tend to call you out when you're going astray. Increase your health without drastic changes by spending time with your more active and healthier friends."

    Eric Corl, Fundable

    Take walking meetings

    "As often as possible, take your meetings while walking. Prepare for your phone meetings so you do not need to be in front of a computer. Carry a small notebook so you can track important notes from face-to-face meetings, too. You'll be amazed at how many steps you can take — and how refreshed you will feel — by getting outside multiple times per day."

    Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

    Throw away your office chair

    "Replace your office chair with a stability ball. Sitting on the stability ball requires the use of stabilizer muscles throughout your core and legs, even at rest. This idle workout activity is perfect for entrepreneurs who are working insane hours at the computer."

    Anthony Saladino, co-founder and CEO of Kitchen Cabinet Kings

    Schedule your life, too

    "Reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and that add value to your life, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or social night. Reserve time for family activities and a yearly vacation. You will look forward to it, and a vacation also provides extra motivation to manage your time well so you do not have to cancel on others — or yourself!"

    Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

    Eat vegetables

    "I switched to a vegetarian diet and noticed that my after-lunch productivity increased because my body wasn't using as much energy as it was before to digest proteins like chicken or beef. By stocking up on vegetables for snacks and eating a plant-based diet more often, you can deliver your body its needed nutrition and optimize your production. Avoid loading up on carbs like pastas and bread."

    Benjamin Leis, Sweat EquiTees

    Make time for yoga and meditation

    "Millions of yogis and years of history can't be wrong! Yoga and meditation are effective tools for managing stress and maintaining health. No matter how busy I am, I commit to at least one in-person, guided meditative yoga practice every week to ground me and my practice. I try to independently incorporate the physical and mental teachings of yoga into my work and life on a daily basis."

    David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

    Curb your coffee consumption

    "When you're working insane startup hours, there is a big temptation to stay alert and awake 24/7. Often, startup founders start drinking lots of caffeine to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, lots of caffeine is not a good long-term strategy for health. You need to be able to sleep well and recharge. Make sure to keep your coffee consumption to a moderate amount!"

    Doreen Bloch, Poshly Inc.

    Get out of your chair

    "Every 45 minutes or so you should get out of your chair for at least a minute or two. Stretch, get coffee/water, anything to get you up. Nobody is meant to sit in a chair for 12+ hours straight."

    Josh Weiss, Bluegala

    Make every minute count

    "Do calf raises while you brush your teeth in the morning."

    Jordan Fliegel, CoachUp

    Buy a juicer

    "About 18 months ago, I bought a juicer. I cannot stop telling people about the benefits of juicing. It is a fantastic way to fill your body with vitamins and all the good stuff it needs to continue to operate at a high level. I try to juice at least three to four days a week, and I've noticed that my frequency of colds and illness has gone down dramatically. It keeps me energized."

    Anderson Schoenrock, ScanDigital

    Plan a healthy diet

    "Your brain needs good fuel to function properly, and eating small, healthy snacks throughout the day keeps energy levels up and makes you more productive. If you're a startup company, invest in healthy snacks in the office, rather than soda or candy. It is more expensive, but I can guarantee the $30 per week you spend on Clif Bars and green tea will return to you tenfold."

    Ziver Birg, ZIVELO

    Walking phone calls

    "As a remote company, our culture promotes getting exercise and getting out of the office. I take all of my phone calls standing up or even walking around. It improves my alertness and helps me incorporate physical activity while I work. We are also implementing treadmill desks right now with mounted monitors."

    Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

    SEE ALSO: How To Beat The Monday Blues

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Airbnb hosts in San Francisco may be in for a rude awakening. 

    Last week San Francisco resident Jeffrey Katz received a 72-hour eviction notice that stated, "You are illegally using the premises as a tourist or transient unit," charging him with violating the city's ordinances. 

    Katz reportedly contacted Airbnb, but said the company "didn't seem quite interested,"SF Gate reports.

    "Unfortunately, we can't provide individual legal assistance or review lease agreements for our 500,000 hosts, but we do try to help inform people about these issues," an Airbnb spokesperson tells Business Insider via email. "Countless San Franciscans have been able to pay their bills and stay in the city thanks to Airbnb. People who occasionally share the home in which they live aren't hurting anyone and landlords who seek any excuse to evict tenants so they can raise the rent are only helping themselves."

    San Francisco bans short-term rentals, which means that anyone who rents out their space on services like Airbnb and VRBO can face fines by the City Planning Department, and eviction on the grounds of illegally operating hotels. 

    "Using an apartment for short-term rentals is a crime in San Francisco," Edward Singer, the attorney who filed the notice against Katz, told SF Gate. "It's obviously not the same moral culpability as running a house of prostitution or manufacturing methamphetamines, but any illegal use is grounds for eviction."

    For what it's worth, the law is pretty clear (see section 41A.4). In short, San Francisco bans all residential rentals that are shorter than 30 days, unless the host has a permit. Airbnb also warns hosts to check in with their local laws and leases. 

    Last month, Lisa Weitekamp and Chad Selph also received a 72-hour eviction notice for renting out one of their guest rooms to two Airbnb guests for a total of three nights in October 2013.

    For hosts in San Francisco, it's probably best to try to be as discreet as possible with guests. Though, it seems that the law may eventually change down the road. If San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu has his way, a new law would amend the codes that ban short-term rentals. 

    "If you live next door or nearby, and all of a sudden a place is turned into a hotel with people coming in and out, generally that is not welcomed by most residents," Christine Haw, SF Planning Department code enforcement manager, told SF Gate.

    But it's not just San Francisco hosts who are at risk.

    In New York, there's a law that makes it illegal for people to rent out their homes or apartments for less than 29 days. The law is actionable only as a secondary offense, however. For example, if the police show up after a noise complaint and then find that you're renting out your space, that's when you get in trouble.

    All eyes are on Airbnb, as it's reportedly raising somewhere between $400 million and $500 million at a $10 billion valuation. That would make Airbnb more valuable than large hotel operators like Wyndham Worldwide Corp, which is valued at $9.4 billion. It would also be more valuable than Hyatt Hotels Corp., which is valued at $8.4 billion.

    SEE ALSO: How Techmeme became the must-read news site for everyone in the multibillion-dollar tech industry

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    daily muse kathryn minshew mccreery cavoulacos

    There is a gender gap in tech. 

    Which investors are doing their part to help change the ratio and fund more female founders?

    Business Insider researched active portfolios for 16 early-to-mid-stage venture capital funds in New York. We then found the number of startups in the portfolios that had at least one female founder and calculated what percent of the total portfolio included female-founded companies. We then got in touch with every firm to confirm the numbers. Angel investors, incubators and accelerators were not included.

    Here are the results.

    16. Female-founded startups in Bowery Capital's active portfolio: 0%

    Firm partner: Mike Brown Jr.

    Total active startups in portfolio: 8*

    Total investments in active, female-founded startups: 0

    Female founder in portfolio: N/A

    Percent of female-founded startups in active portfolio: 0%

    *Bowery Capital is a brand-new fund that's less than one year old

    15. Female-founded startups in IA Ventures' active portfolio: 2.9%

    Firm partners: Roger Ehrenberg (founder) and Brad Gillespie

    Total active startups in portfolio: 34

    Total investments in active, female-founded startups: 1

    Female founder in portfolio: Sonpreet Bhatia of MyCityWay

    Percent of female-founded startups in active portfolio: 2.9%

    14. Female-founded startups in Insight Venture Partners' active portfolio: 8.8%

    Firm partners: Alex Crisses, Deven Parekh, Jeff Horing, Jeff Lieberman, Larry Handen, Michael Triplett, Nikitas Koutoupes, Richard Wells, Ryan Hinkle, Hilary Gosher, Euan Menzies, Peter Sobiloff

    Total active startups in portfolio: 91

    Total investments in active, female-founded startups: 8

    Female founder in portfolio: Christina Koshzow (Branding Brand), Claudia Helming (DaWanda), Saki Dodelson and Susan Gertler (Achieve3000), Milda Mitkute (Vinted), Julie Mahloch (Hayneedle), Danae Ringelmann (Indiegogo), Priya Ayer (Anaqua) and Karen Minnick (Evestment)

    Percent of female-founded startups in active portfolio: 8.8%

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Yunha Kim

    What is it like to be a female in tech?

    I think the industry is really curious about this topic — almost so much so that we appear committed to proving how different (or perhaps difficult) it is to be a female CEO.

    If a reporter asks me why it sucks to be a female CEO, I can come up with hundreds of reasons. On the other hand, if I am asked to argue why it’s awesome to be a female CEO, I can also do that pretty well. So here is my take on both sides.

    Top 3 reasons it sucks to be a female CEO

    1. If you are aggressive, you are a b---h. If you are emotional, you are PMSing. If you are soft, you are too feminine. Whatever way someone finds you, they can always justify it is because you are female.
    2. You may get more sales meetings because some of the guys that you are pitching to have a different agenda. Since it’s difficult to distinguish it early on, you may end up wasting some time. If you turn down their advances (and it gets awkward), doing deals with their companies can become difficult.
    3. Hiring engineers can get tricky. When you reach out to prospective developers, you may get emails like this:


    And the sad news is, this is one of the more professional emails.

    Top 3 reasons it is awesome to be a female CEO

    yunha kim

    1. Sometimes, guys are more willing to help you because you are a girl. On the flip side, girls will help you because you are a “fellow female entrepreneur.” This is one of the rarely spoken benefits of being a female CEO, especially when you are trying to get things off the ground.
    2. Fundraising can be easier. For instance, there are female investors whose personal goal is to empower other female entrepreneurs. When Tyra invested in Locket, I felt lucky to be a female CEO. 
    3. You might be able to hire more talented female employees. You understand them better so it can be easier to identify a good fit. And if you land on the right ones, they can be really good (e.g. our designer Lisa is the best). After all, there are bunch of studies (done by female organizations, obvi) that show women perform better on the job.


    The lesson here is that it is all about how you frame your perspective. If you are committed to believing that it sucks to be a female CEO, you will be right, and it will suck to be you. If you are committed to believing it’s awesome to be a female CEO, you will be happier and confident to be you.

    After all, it’s not like you can choose whether to be a female CEO vs male CEO. But you can choose your attitude toward it.

    This was originally published on Medium, and is republished here with permission.

    Yunha Kim is CEO and founder of Locket, a San Francisco based startup that’s changing the way we use our lock screens. Its first product, Locket is the next generation Android lock screen app that brings stuff you care about to your lock screen based on your interests, swiping habits, and time of the day. 

    Recognized by Business Insider as advertising’s “30 Most Creative Under 30”, Yunha graduated magna cum laude from Duke University in 2011 and worked at Jefferies as an investment banking analyst before starting Locket.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    performance review meeting

    The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. Eight of its members shared their favorite tips for landing a meeting with practically anyone.

    Question: What's one tip you have for getting a meeting with a high-value individual who might be able to help your startup grow?

    Get a warm intro

    "Find somebody in your network who has a first- or second-degree connection to the person you wish to connect with. A warm intro is exponentially better than cold calling or emailing somebody important. Spend the time to dig through your network and find that warm intro."— Tim Jahn, matchist

    Position yourself as an expert

    "High-value individuals want to know you're the real deal before meeting with you. If you consistently contribute to publications in your industry and establish yourself as a thought leader, your chances of landing that meeting, or even getting those people to approach you, are a lot higher."— Kelsey Meyer, Influence & Co.

    Find a way to stand out

    "Make yourself stand out in one way or another. How are you different than the other hundreds of people who want to meet this high-value individual? Separate yourself from the rest and find some way to grab his or her attention. And when you get it, be genuine and humble and, most of all, listen more than you speak. Be thankful for the time they give you — time is very valuable."— Shahzil (Shaz) Amin, Blue Track Media

    Be politely persistent

    "There have been a few times that I shied away from writing a second email or picking up the phone, only to later meet the person I was seeking and realize he or she just needed a reminder. Important people are busy, so don't be afraid to reach out multiple times, especially if there's something you can share in your follow-up that makes you memorable."— Martina Welke, Zealyst

    Let your name be known

    "Start off by finding this person on every social network you use. Start building a relationship with him online. Make sure he knows your name. Tweet him, message him on Facebook, etc., and eventually get an intro from the right person, asking to meet him."— Ben Lang, Mapped In Israel

    Use LinkedIn Classmates

    "One of the best-kept secrets of LinkedIn is the Classmates tool. You can access your college alumni network and tap into those with whom you share a common bond. Sort, filter, and search your way through the database to find the professionals who can best help your startup. Invite them to coffee or lunch to learn more about their careers and ask for advice."— Benjamin Leis, Sweat EquiTees

    Take the value-add approach

    "Always frame a potential meeting with a high-value individual with the question: "How can I bring value and make this meeting worthwhile for him?" Once you have your value-add approach, think very carefully about the best way to obtain a meeting. A strong and warm introduction from someone he knows and trusts will improve your chances of landing the meeting and ensure a great start."— David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services

    Be authentic

    "High-value individuals can smell when you are trying to fake it, so be real and authentic to get that meeting. Yes, you should show them that what you are working on has huge potential, but the best thing to do is be humble and straightforward. Let this person know that you value her advice, and remember that she was once in your shoes. People appreciate it when you're candid."— Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

    SEE ALSO: Dwight Eisenhower Nailed A Major Insight About Productivity

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    Mark Cuban

    An awesome device that charges your phone by boiling water in a pot has just become the next hot thing, thanks to its appearance on ABC's hit reality show, "Shark Tank."

    The makers of the device snagged a $250,000 investment from billionaire Mark Cuban on the show that features inventors and entrepreneurs pitching to investors. They were initially offering to sell 10% of their company, Power Practical, for that sum — a $2.5 million valuation.

    Cuban liked the company and at first offered $250,000 for 20%. But the founders countered with 12% equity, plus another 3% in "adviser options" and a seat on the board. And he bit at that. At 12%, that's a valuation of just over $2 million.

    The company has sold about $300,000 worth of PowerPots, the founders said. When they said they expected sales to zoom to $2 million, they got a round of laughter from the investors on the show.

    powerpotThat laughter didn't deter Cuban, who took to Twitter later saying,"Notice how the other sharks are confirming my value #Shark Tank." (Tweeting is a big part of the "Shark Tank" show.)

    PowerPot is being marketed toward campers, but it earned Cuban's investment when the founders talked about selling it to developing countries like Uganda. That's a potentially huge market for the device, where local villagers in test markets are using it to light their huts.

    Business Insider's Dylan Love tested the $149 PowerPot and it worked well. He wrote:

    "The model we tested generates 5 watts of electricity, which means it'll charge your iPhone twice as fast as connecting it to your computer over USB. There's also a 10-watt model for those who want to be extra-prepared."

    Here's a video of the PowerPot in action, being pitched on Shark Tank.

    SEE ALSO: If You Don't Know About This Weird Feature In Dropbox, All Your Files Could Be Deleted

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    It's still hard being a woman leading a company. 

    The latest evidence comes from Yunha Kim, CEO of Locket, a startup that lets you change your Android smartphone's home screen.

    She wrote a post about what's great about being a female CEO and what's not so great

    In the not-so-great category is the email above, which she says is actually one of the more professional emails she's gotten. 

    The email came in response to her trying to hire an engineer to work at the company. 

    As you can see, someone wrote, "I'm pretty happy with my current job, but if you're single I'd like to date you. Perhaps there are some unconventional ways to lure me away from my company (besides stock options) if you know what I mean :)"

    Would a man say this to a male CEO? Would a woman say this to a male CEO?

    It's just strange, and it's a good reminder that it's still tough to lead a company as a woman. 

    NOW WATCH: 5 Things You Should Never Do In A Job Interview


    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' Investor Reveals Mark Cuban's Strategy On The Show And The Real Drama Behind The Scenes

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    PARISOMA, San Francisco, coworking

    Working from home or remotely can be lonely.

    Some people lose all boundaries when they work from home, and are unable to separate work from play. Having some other professional there with you can help force you out of bed, and keep you on point.

    As a remote worker herself, Sharona Coutts found herself wearing stained shirts, becoming anti-social, and going a bit "borderline crazy," she tells Business Insider. That's why she founded SpareChair.

    With SpareChair, you can list space in your home office, studio, or other workplace starting at $5 a day. It's a way to have your office "everywhere, and nowhere," Coutts says. 

    When you sign up for SpareChair, you specify exactly what it is that you're looking for. For example, you could say, "I am a creative and I need some company," or "I am an entrepreneur and I need a change of scenery."

    SpareChair also incorporates social elements so that you can co-work with people who share similar interests. And who knows, maybe you'll end up making a friend or even a lover. 

    SpareChair is currently invite-only in New York City. Check it out below. 


    SEE ALSO: How Techmeme Became The Must-Read News Site For Everyone In The Multibillion-Dollar Tech Industry

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    Jeff Bezos

    Entrepreneurship is hard, both physically and emotionally. Doubt, anxiety, despair — along the way, every entrepreneur struggles with those feelings.

    So why are entrepreneurs willing to face the vulnerability, the emotional ups and downs, and the risk of public and private failure?

    Easy. They have no choice. For entrepreneurs:

    1. The voice in their heads is louder than every other voice they hear.

    Others may doubt. Others may criticize. Others may judge and disparage and disapprove.

    You don't care. You see all those opinions for what they are: not right, not wrong, just data. So you sift through that data for the actual nuggets you can use. The rest you ignore.

    Why? You may respect the opinions of others but you believe in your ideas, your abilities, your will and perseverance and dedication. You believe in yourself. And that makes you want to live your life your way and not anyone else's way.

    2. They believe that how they play the game truly is more important than whether they win or lose.

    If you're an entrepreneur, you'd rather fail on your own terms than succeed on someone else's. You'd rather reach for your own future than have your future lie in someone else's hands. You feel it's better to burn out than to fade away.

    Sure, you want to win. You're driven to win. But you want to change the rules, create your own playing field, and win the game you want to play — because winning a game in a way you're forced to play would still feel like losing.

    3. They don't make choices — they create choices.

    Most people simply choose from Column A or Column B. Entrepreneurs glance at A and B and then often create their own Column C.

    As Jon Burgstone says:

    Every time you want to make any important decision, there are two possible courses of action. You can look at the array of choices that present themselves, pick the best available option, and try to make it fit.

    Or, you can do what the true entrepreneur does: Figure out the best conceivable option and then make it available.

    And that's why they often accomplish the inconceivable — because to entrepreneurs, that word truly doesn't mean what everyone else thinks it means.

    4. They enjoy succeeding through others.

    Talent is obviously important, but the ability to work together, check egos at the door, and make individual sacrifices when necessary is the only way any team succeeds.

    That spirit can only exist when it comes from the top.

    And that's why entrepreneurs focus on the individual rather than the position, the team rather than the hierarchy, and most important, from gaining happiness and success from the happiness and success of others.

    5. They don't need to be disciplined, because they can't wait to do all the things that bring them closer to achieving their goals.

    Discipline often boils down to finding a way to do the things you need to do. Entrepreneurs can't wait to do the things they need to do. They have goals and dreams, and they know every task they complete takes them one step closer to achieving those goals and dreams.

    That's why entrepreneurs can have fun performing even the most mundane tasks. When there's a clear line of sight between what you do and where you want to go, work is no longer just work.

    Work is exciting. Work is fulfilling. Work, when it's meaningful and fulfilling, is living. And that's why.

    6. They don't want to simply gain a skill and then live a routine.

    Some people work to gain a skill or achieve a position so they can relax, comfortable in their abilities and knowledge. They've worked hard and are content. (That's not a bad thing; everyone's definition of success should be different.)

    Entrepreneurs hate the contentment an acquired skill brings. Entrepreneurs hate the comfort an achievement affords. Entrepreneurs see acquired skills as a foundation for acquiring more skills. Entrepreneurs see achievements as platforms for further achievement.

    Entrepreneurs pay their dues, and they want to keep paying more dues. They look at themselves in the mirror and think, "OK...but what have you done for me lately?"

    And then they go out and do more.

    7. They're fans of other entrepreneurs.

    Working for a corporation is often a zero-sum game, because personal success usually comes at the expense of others. If you get promoted, someone else does not. If you get an opportunity, someone else does not.

    That's why, in a corporate setting, it's really hard not to begrudge the success of others — it's hard to be genuinely happy for a co-worker when you're really disappointed.

    Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, love when others succeed. They know the pie is big enough for everyone. (Forget the current pie; they're out there trying to make new pies.)

    Entrepreneurs see the success of other entrepreneurs as exciting and inspirational and as validation that creativity and hard work do pay off.

    8. They're willing to start a movement of one.

    We all like to belong, to feel we're kindred spirits, and that's why some ideas quickly gain a following and why great ideas can become movements.

    Joining a crowd is awesome. But every movement starts with one person who dares to stand up, alone, unprotected, and vulnerable, and be different: to say what others aren't saying, to do what others aren't doing — to take a chance and accept the consequences.

    What makes entrepreneurs willing to take that risk?

    9. They think, Why not me?

    Regardless of the pursuit, success is difficult to achieve. That's why we all fail sometimes. And when we do, it's easy to decide events were outside our control. It's easy to feel depressed and wonder, Why don't I ever get the opportunities other people get? or Why aren't my friends more supportive? or Why can't I catch a break?

    In short, it's easy to think: Why me?

    Entrepreneurs ask a different question: Why not me?

    That's why entrepreneurs will open a restaurant in the same location where other restaurants have failed: They didn't succeed, but why not me? Entrepreneurs will start a software company with nothing but an idea: They may have deeper pockets and a major market share, but why not me?

    Entrepreneurs don't assume successful people possess special talents or a gift from the startup gods. They see successful people and think, That's awesome, and if she can do that, why not me?

    Good question: Why not you?

    If you think about it, there is no real answer, because when you're truly willing to not just dream big but also to try incredibly hard, there are no reasons you can't succeed — at least none that matter to you.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' Investor Reveals Mark Cuban's Strategy On The Show And The Real Drama Behind The Scenes

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    meetup employees meeting

    When you are starting a business, you want to build a team of highly motivated, creative people who work well together. But there are also questions about which functions to fill positions for — and when.

    Much of the initial hiring effort goes into the product team — in our case, early on that meant engineers and designers. You are, after all, moving from an idea to bringing a product or service to market, and the faster your team perfects and launches a product, the sooner you can start generating revenue, attracting new investors and growing your business.

    In my years in private equity investing and as the founder and CEO of an equity crowdfunding site, I have seen many young, fast-growing companies go through the phase of rapid hiring with mixed results. Often overlooked in the rush to market are several key roles. Here are three hires any entrepreneur should make early and wisely:

    1. Product manager

    Founders almost always have a product in mind, and they typically designed it or are at least intimately involved in the design and development. This makes perfect sense in the early days and months of a business when it is evolving from just an idea on a napkin to an actual product — whether that product is an online marketplace dependent on code or an organic ice cream dependent on cacao.

    Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison, Mark Zuckerberg — many of the great CEOs and founders have been consummate product people. But at some point early in a company's development the founder/CEO has to fire himself/herself as product manager. The founder who remains deeply enmeshed in product management is probably not devoting the necessary time and energy to the many other critical tasks required to build a successful company, such as sales and marketing, regulatory issues, production and distribution and investor relations.

    Find a product manager early on who can be the bridge between the CEO's vision and objectives and the development of the products to reach those goals.

    When it comes to the nuts and bolts of recruiting a great product manager, one of the best pieces I've seen was from former Google Product Manager and current Google Ventures Partner Ken Norton: "How to hire a product manager" (disclosure: Ken is a mentor of mine and GV is an investor in CircleUp). The first step towards hiring a product manager? Firing yourself.

    2. Office manager

    Many young entrepreneurs underestimate the value of an office manager. They see the role narrowly — focused on taking phone messages, greeting visitors, and ordering lunches. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    More than almost anyone else, this employee can set the tone for the office, and create a vibe that cultivates talent and joy. Starting a business involves strategy, product development, hiring, marketing, and investor relations on one hand, and on the other executing on the day-to-day tasks required to keep your growing team happy and motivated. What your office manager cannot do will typically fall to you as the founder.

    A great office manager makes your company better and more valuable. To put it simply, after reaching 10 to 15 employees, I don't think you can have a great company without a great office manager.

    3. Regulatory lead

    Also important, but for very different reasons, is someone to steer your business through the myriad regulatory matters that will invariably crop up. This role is frequently an attorney, either on staff or at an outside firm. A young company may not have the resources for a full-time manager of regulatory affairs, but you should have access to the firepower you need. Browse recent headlines and you quickly realize that regulatory matters can range from federal laws to state regulatory roadblocks, such as Tesla's battles over laws protecting auto dealerships, to local ordinances, such as cities imposing limits on Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

    Disruptive business models, such as online marketplaces, are prone to attract the attention of politicians and regulators, frequently stirred up by entrenched competitors.

    Just as a startup should have a business continuity plan to account for potential disruptions or crises, you should do a genuine evaluation of real and potential regulatory risks that your business could face. From that assessment, you should invest sooner rather than later in the appropriate regulatory resources. If you don't fill the role of regulatory lead, you could find these matters sucking up internal resources at points when you least expect it.

    Every startup is unique, and every growth story has a different trajectory, but from my experience, I would say these roles are three of the most commonly overlooked in the process of building out an effective team. Fill them early and with superstars, and you'll smooth the day-to-day operations of your business, avoid disruptions in the future, and be able to focus more effectively on growing your company.

    SEE ALSO: The 11 Most Common Mistakes New Managers Make

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    From thousands of miles away, Silicon Valley can feel like a magic box: normal people enter and out pop billionaires. But the startup ecosystem is much like the Wizard of Oz, where, when you pull back the green curtain, there stands a man.

    There’s actually a fairly systematic process behind the formation, growth and financial success of many startups. Which is not to say that it is a fool’s errand to launch a successful startup and grow it into a billion-dollar company, but only to say that it has been done, and there is a worn path and a mature ecosystem surrounding this routine.

    Related: How This CEO Combined a For-Profit and Nonprofit and Made Both Better For It

    San Francisco-based startup organization Funders and Founders generated the infographic below, breaking down the way an entrepreneur goes from idea generation through to initial public offering. The infographic is based loosely based on famous programmer and venture capitalist Paul Graham's essay "How to Start a Startup.”

    Take a look to get a clearer picture of what goes on in the big black box that is Silicon Valley. Behind the green curtain.

    startup chart

    SEE ALSO: 3 Lessons From Historic Icons That Will Help Your Career

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    startup fisheye

    When a startup gets handed that first big check, how much of that can they dedicate to their own livelihoods?

    To read the tech media, you'd think they're all millionaires and billionaires. But they're not.

    According to Brad Feld, a VC at Foundry Group, the short answer is:

    • $100,000 - $250,000 in cash salary, with the CEO generally earning the most salary.
    • potential bonus money of $0 - $100,000
    • and equity (ranging from less than 1% - 20%).

    The CEO and CTO founders tend to keep the biggest stakes, but it's surprisingly small by the time they've raised multimillions. According to Feld the stakes often break out like this:

    • Founder CEO 5% - 20%
    • Founder CTO 2% - 10%
    • other co-founders between 3 - 7%
    • and non-founder equity holders 0.5% - 5%.

    Obviously, startups living in expensive places, like Silicon Valley, tend to pay higher salaries than those in cheaper areas of the country, Feld says, and founders of later-stage companies get paid more, too. While he originally posted those numbers in 2007, they hold true today, he told us, however "stage and geography matters a lot."

    Peter Thiel And things get complicated from here. For instance, venture capitalist Peter Thiel won't invest in any startup that pays its CEO more than $150,000, period. So he said in his Stanford CS183 class on startups:

    A categorical rule of thumb that Founders Fund has developed is that no CEO should be paid more than $150k per year. Experience has shown that there is great predictive power in a venture-backed CEO’s salary: the lower it is, the better the company tends to do. Empirically, if you could reduce all your diligence to one question, you should ask how much the CEO of a prospective portfolio company draws in salary. If the answer is more than $150k, do not invest.

    Before paying themselves anything, founders are expected to get the OK from their board and seed investor, says New York super angel David S. Rose on Quora. For a startup that just raised $5 million he advises:

    "It should be discussed directly with the Series A board director, and it is up to you to propose something.  ... it will likely end up somewhere between $100K and $200K. I'd personally suggest +/-$150K."

    Rose answered a similar question on Quora back in 2011 from someone who had just raised $1 million, and this is what he said then:

    "In my experience, the range is generally between about $75,000 and $150,000 per year."

    The stage of the startup is probably the biggest factor. A seed startup that's raised $500,000 - $1 million can't pay as much as one that's raised $5 million in a Series A.  Some founders give themself a raise every time they raise more funds.

    Aaron Levie What Foundry Group venture capitalist Seth Levine wrote in a blog post in 2012 is still fundamentally true today, too:

    • Companies that have raised $1M or less tend to pay their CEO between $75k and $125k, skewed to the low end of the scale.
    • Companies that have raised less than $500k tend to top out at $75k for CEO comp.
    • Companies that have raised between $1M and about $2.5M tend to pay their CEOs around $125k.
    • Companies who have raised more than that, pay more. amount skew up from there.

    All that said, investors are not looking to turn the founders into slave labor. Levine adds:

    "Don’t starve. There’s no sense in paying yourself so little that you can’t live or will be overly stressed about paying your bills. ... You don’t need to tighten the belt so much that it ends up distracting you from your focus on building a great business."

    Venture capitalist Jason Lemkin, a partner at Storm Ventures and previous CEO co-founder of EchoSign (acquired by Adobe), dittos that. On Quora he wrote:

    "Putting yourself in a position where you are overly stressed about making enough money to live is just going to damage the company's growth potential now."

    SEE ALSO: The 39 Most Important People In Cloud Computing

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    Jason Goldberg

    In the past year, Fab has slashed its staff from 750 people down to 300.

    Yesterday, CEO and co-founder Jason Goldberg wrote a blog post about what it's been like to lay off staff, and change direction with the company. 

    "Have you ever been clinging onto a rocket ship, then cut the engines at full speed, and then tried to fly again?" writes Goldberg. "That’s what we’ve been going through at Fab the past months."

    Fab started as a flash sales site, but has since pivoted to focus on selling high-end products. 

    The transition hasn't been easy. 

    "I’ve had VC after VC tell me that they’ve basically assumed Fab is going to die; for how in the world can a company possibly survive 3 rounds of layoffs and cost cuts as we’ve had?" says Goldberg.

    How do you keep employees inspired when your company is in really terrible shape?

    Goldberg asked employees to email him an answer to the following question last week:

    Why are you here?

    He posted the best responses on his blog, Betashop. Here they are below:

    • I am here because I’m a builder. 
    • I want to build a company that touches millions and millions of people in a positive way and is known as one of the great companies of our time.
    • I want to build a company that is known for solving tough problems head-on and overcoming great obstacles to achieve outsized market success.
    • I want to build a company that is known more for the turnaround than for the flop. The experience we will gain in this turnaround will be the most valuable experience of our lives.
    • I want to build a company that is admired worldwide for our innovation. We will be known for disrupting the design industry not just playing in it. That’s a big vision and we need to act with humility towards it, and understand the reality that it wont happen easily nor will it happen overnight. But we do need to keep thinking big even as we play small.
    • Times are tougher now than they’ve ever been, but I’m also more energized than ever by the strategic direction of the company.  We are narrowing our focus to the categories where we have the largest market opportunity and investing deeply into private label to increase our contribution margins.  We are building content rich consumer experiences that communicate the value of the products we sell and help get the user over the hump of making large purchases without being able to touch and feel the product.  We are making deep investments in analytics so that people across the company can be armed with the right data to make smarter and more informed decisions.  And we are evolving our culture into a collaborative work environment that fully engages the brain power of leaders across the company to solve our hardest problems.  I believe these decisions are putting us squarely on the path of becoming that disruptive design technology company, and that gets right at the passions that brought me to the company in the first place.
    • I love the fact that we’re having the difficult conversations as a team.  I think it’s incredibly important that as an organization we provide honest, thoughtful feedback whenever things don’t work as planned / certain areas aren’t performing as they should.  If we weren’t willing to have these conversations (and in all honesty, I don’t think we were for a major part of the last 2 years) I wouldn’t be here. I think these are critical and will be what help us to figure out how we can be successful as a company.  I also think that we added key people who will help us figure this stuff out.  If we hadn’t added certain individuals, I think our likelihood of success would be significantly diminished.  
    • I have the stomach for this.  One critical thing that I have learned over the last two years, which I didn’t know prior to coming to Fab, is that I have the stomach for the uncertainty.  It honestly doesn’t bother me and in fact actually motivates me to help try to figure out what it will take to make the company successful.  If I’m gaining the experience, am able to emotionally handle the ups and downs of this type of an environment and have the financial upside if things go well, then I realized there’s nothing more that I can ask for.  
    • I want to build. I want to build something great. To build a business with products that people want to write or tell their friends about. To build a team that our competitors want to steal. To build cash flow that frees us up to enrich others personally and professionally. I want to build processes that make it easy for customers to find (and fiend) for our products
    • I want to be a part of the Fab turnaround. I want to see Fab win in the marketplace. I want Fab to achieve commercial success that is far greater than our modest financial projections. I want Fab to be a beloved brand again. Harder to quantify, but I want Fab to be one of the most admired lifestyle brands in our space and one of the most admired companies to work for in our industry. And I take this all very seriously. 
    • I was asking this question to myself many times last year. There were times last year when everything was apparently going fine and I didn’t see myself making any difference. Those were the times when I thought I should quit. Times have changed since then. These are challenging times, fun times. I’m here now because I want to prove to myself and to everyone that we can turn this around. I’m here because I feel I can now make a difference.
    • This is an insane amazing challenge and I don’t back down from a challenge.
    • I want to discover and bring great product from amazing talented designers to people who love and appreciate quality product.
    • It’s weird. But I find myself progressively more pumped about work today than I was a year, six months or even three months ago. I love the challenge and the chase. I love the need to hit numbers, grow the business, address our gaps and all in lightening speed.
    • In short, I love the intensity our current situation demands. I love the opportunity I have every day to impact our business. It makes me feel like a net contributor, and that’s very important to me. If in 18 months, we’re out of the woods, I’m going to feel great knowing my input had at least some tiny role in getting us out. That’s important to me.
    • Fab has this insanely rare combination of having huge potential AND giving me the opportunity to have an outsized impact on it.
    • Because I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime.

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    stressedTwitter's CEO and co-founders have said that they won't sell stock when the lock-up ends on May 5. Why? It's not hard to guess. A sudden flood of shares hitting the market could send the stock price tumbling, and the company wants to keep a strong share value for possible acquisitions, adherence to lender demands, employee morale, and other reasons.

    In short, Dick Costolo, Jack Dorsey, and Evan Williams are doing what entrepreneurs often do: sacrificing for the greater good. The fear of failure runs deep, and for good reasons. It is ridiculously easy for a new company to crash and burn. But there are useful efforts and those that are wastes of time and energy. What you want to do is to work smarter.

    You can't avoid sacrifice in starting and growing a company. However, you can be more intelligent about how you do it and avoid unnecessary privations that will actually set you back. Here are five ways to keep some balance and sanity.

    Set regular hours (as much as possible).

    Running a business, whether new or established, can mean long hours. It shouldn't turn into a never-ending series of all-nighters. You'll burn out mentally and physically. Some significant time away helps you recharge, clear fuzzy thinking, and come back more able to succeed. Set regular hours for yourself. They'll probably be long and there will be times that you can't leave when you're scheduled to. Set the hours anyway and do your best to keep them.

    Trade off advancement with family and me time.

    One of the ideas that drives entrepreneurs to spend all their time at work is the thought that they are pushing their companies ahead. Often, that is wishful thinking. Track what an outsider would consider actual advancement, and you'll find that often you've indulged in wheel spinning. Maybe it's losing sight of a bigger picture or perhaps it's giving in to your inner workaholic. In addition to setting regular hours, insist that you do something during them. Maybe you'll hang out with a significant other, kids, or friends. You might occasionally indulge in a hobby, or even take a course.

    Meg Hirshberg, wife of Greg Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, said even "generally inquiring about [a] spouse's day" can help keep important family connections. You're not going for the big gesture so much as the little daily things that can help keep you and the people you care about sane.

    Treat yourself like an employee.

    Almost any entrepreneur will have stories about paying everyone else first or being the only one in the office on a holiday. You're the boss who stands to benefit most from establishing the company, so of course you're last on the list of anyone who gets a break. But that can be a mistake. For example, forgo salary long enough with insufficient savings and you'll be in no shape to get anything done. Think of yourself instead as an employee. This doesn't mean you get to slack off, but it will force you to consider some things you need when planning strategy, forecasting financials, and scheduling operations.

    You don't always have to be the hero.

    Many entrepreneurs want to be the one who comes to the rescue in a problem. Unfortunately, that is something to feed your ego, not grow the business. Many times you will have to be the one to put in the last effort or work on a particular project. Other times, not only could others take over, but they might even be better suited to whatever has to be done. Give employees, family members, or whoever can help out a chance to shine in the spotlight.

    Remember that things change.

    This may be one of the toughest tips to implement. As a business grows, it's easy to fall into habits over how it has to run and what you can and cannot allow yourself to do. In a couple of companies I have run, it took me some time to realize that I could actually take a week of vacation, or even two, without putting the business into peril. Next year there might be room for a slightly larger salary for you. Perhaps you can afford a key hire that could take pressure off you and help drive the company to greater success.

    Creating a business always requires some sacrifice. Just be sure that the sacrifice you offer is one that is necessary and won't hurt your enterprise more than it can help.

    SEE ALSO: 6 Super Successful People Share Their Biggest Career Setbacks

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    startup fisheye

    The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. Thirteen of its members shared their favorite traits of successful entrepreneurs.

    Question: What is one surefire, inborn trait that you believe inevitably leads to entrepreneurship?


    "Entrepreneurship starts by asking questions. Why is there not a product that helps me do X? How could we build a product that better solves the target audience's needs? Could technology make this easier, more efficient, more sustainable, or more affordable? If you continually ask questions, you'll find a problem to solve."— Emily Eldridge HoldmanPeopleKit

    Holistic thinking

    "Entrepreneurs are quick to see the whole picture, not just pieces of the puzzle. This complete view helps them move the pieces into place that will form the results they are after. The majority of people are at the mercy of details and calculations, which, while important, limit them. Entrepreneurs have the ability to view situations with a wide lens."— Kim KaupeZinePak 


    "People who follow all the rules are generally not entrepreneurs. A self-starter must be able to see beyond the often short-sighted objectives and identify long-term goals that may or may not be aligned with what other people tell them to do."— Michael CostiganYouth Leadership Specialist 


    "Entrepreneurs must be able to adapt on the fly to new situations and work with others to help them adapt. Entrepreneurship, at its core, is figuring out a new solution to an old problem or creating opportunities that address problems we didn't know existed. Adaptability — viewing the world as fluid and malleable — is required to succeed."— Eric HoltzclawLaddering Works


    "All entrepreneurs are born with a high propensity to take on risk. Starting a business is always going to be a risky endeavor, and the risk-averse are not willing to chance it."— Josh WeissBluegala 

    Enthusiasm for building

    "Ever since I was little, I was building with blocks, with sand, with Legos — anything I could get my hands on. In some ways, being an entrepreneur is no different: We're building the future that we want to see — much like the castles we built in the sandbox way back when."— Derek FlanzraichGreatist


    "As an entrepreneur, you are trying to do something that you've never done before and, potentially, something no one has ever done before. To make it through the times when you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, or uncertain, or when you have others doubting or criticizing you, you must have unshakable confidence in yourself and the value of your work."— Elizabeth Saunders, Real Life E


    "Entrepreneurs have to be autonomous in the way of self-motivation, thinking outside the box of conventional wisdom and rule systems and, sometimes, even doing things others tell them are impossible or bad ideas. That said, an entrepreneur should, of course, always be receptive to advice — it's a balance. It's important to be a good listener, too."— Christopher Pruijsen,  

    Irrational thinking

    "This may sound strange, but it's absolutely true. Founders need to view the world in a different and unique way. Look at the most successful entrepreneurs and you'll generally find a difficult person. As my MBA professor told me, "Starting a business isn't a rational choice." I agree. You need to have an irrational, exceptionally stubborn belief in yourself, your vision, and your product."— Mitch GordonGo Overseas


    "Entrepreneurs love to win. They want to win so much that they look at the other team and say, "If they can do it, why can't we?" There is a quiet confidence that accompanies all successful entrepreneurs, and it comes down to their belief that they can beat the other team. From there, you also need to be extremely intelligent, self-aware, and willing to take calculated risks."— Gagan BiyaniGrowth Hackers Conference 


    "Are you tired of waiting for someone else to fix a problem you see, sick of something you want going through committee approval, or frustrated that you can't get your superiors to listen? Do you just want to fix it yourself? Well, you are likely to become an entrepreneur."— Eric KoesterDCI

    Chronic restlessness

    "I think that a true entrepreneur is someone who always has his eyes on the horizon, looking for the next big thing. The 'chase' does not have to be negative, though. When you apply it to a business or startup, it becomes a trait that fights complacency. You are constantly looking for ways to make your great business idea better."— Zachary 


    "Successful entrepreneurs have the drive, determination, and endurance to make it, no matter how hard the struggle or how many times they fail. Failure is a key stop on the way to success, and it is what separates the winners from the losers in business. The tenacious entrepreneur will continue to work hard and break all barriers with her unshakable willpower and persistent personality."— Rebecca Zorowitz, Ooh La La Brands 

    SEE ALSO: 8 Successful Entrepreneurs Reveal How To Land A Meeting With Almost Anyone

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    Boston Marathon Meb

    Pacing is tough for any startup. Usually the problem is getting things moving quickly enough. But you can run into a different pacing problem when things move too quickly. Maybe you're hiring at a scary rate or expanding faster than you can keep track of where you have offices. Moving fast can turn deadly if you burn out resources and opportunities too soon.

    Here are six tips on how to pace things for the long run.

    Be thoughtful about the money you take.

    A hot idea can build the pressure to take more investment than you need, like an institutional investor or VC that has a minimum commitment of $5 million even though you only need $1 million. That can turn into management trouble.

    "You think of it as a nice problem to have, but it's as stressful as not having sales," said Peggy Wallace, managing partner of Golden Seeds, an early-stage investment firm that focuses on women-led companies. She recommends talking thoroughly with investors about your plans and their expectations at the start. Wallace also called early debt a "fatal area" if the company isn't mature enough to manage interest payments with a dependable cash.

    Know when to take an opportunity and when to pass.

    John Torrens, an assistant professor of entrepreneurial practice at Syracuse University, is also an entrepreneur, running an early childhood special education business. A couple of years ago a few smaller competitors were going out of business. He was tempted to get their contracts and hire their people to boost growth. But he already had a business plan with executive team buy-in and limited resources. The opportunity caused "the business equivalent of attention deficit disorder," according to Torrens.

    "It's important to decide what you're not going to do," he said. "Sometimes the best thing to do is let the opportunities go to someone else and let them struggle." He passed. When another opportunity appeared last November, the business was in a different position and could take advantage.

    Be sure the business model will ultimately deliver.

    Rowan Gormley, CEO and founder of, remembers when he worked with Virgin Group in the 1990s. He had "spectacular successes" with the Virgin Money and Virgin One Account new divisions and then had a new idea: an online wine-selling venture called Orgasmic Wine.

    "The business took off," Gormley said. Virgin took part and the name changed to Virgin Wine. They raised $30 million. The company paid for a sophisticated IT system and increased headcount. "We had ad campaigns, pool tables in the office, all the standard dot com startup stuff. And the sales didn't budge." Unlike Virgin Money and Virgin One Account, this business didn't have a new market model that could sustain the expected growth. Now Gormley's working a new approach in which subscriptions pay for vintages before they're bottled.

    Make growth smart and controlled.

    For a decade before Eugene Borukhovich helped start Color Eight and its trust-based social search application, Q!, he was an entrepreneur within a large healthcare organization. He started a European division but tried to grow too quickly. They tried to be everywhere in Western Europe "without realizing that the culture, the healthcare systems were different," Borukhovich said. The result was a lot of chaos and not much success. "It takes a strong leader to say we need to pause and bring in the right people to balance the technology organization with the channel, sales, and business development."

    Forecast and don't ramp up too late.

    One way to avoid hitting the wrong pace is to forecast smartly. But that can be harder than it sounds, as Raj Sheth, CEO and co-founder of Recruiterbox, an online service to track job applicants.

    Without venture money, he had to work on a three- to six-month forecasting window and estimate revenue. He might be able to either hire someone or run a marketing campaign. Sometimes revenue would be higher than originally expected. "I realize that I have made more revenue than I anticipated, but I also realized that I'm not going to be able to deliver on my product features to my customers because I have two people less than I thought I have," he said.

    Not only must you anticipate the type of people you'll need, but also how long it might take to bring them up to speed. Spending extra on someone more senior might cut some critical unproductive time help support company growth.

    Understand a qualified pipeline.

    Dr. Vincent Berk has been the founder and CEO of network security startup FlowTraq since 2008. He has to balance financial caution with the need to grow quickly enough to keep competition at bay. But forecasting can be difficult because of salespeople.

    Many entrepreneurs are technical, analytical, and put too much faith in sales forecasts, according to Berk. "Salespeople are mostly really good at selling themselves," he said. The entrepreneur might not discount the forecast appropriately to get a realistic view of the pipeline. He ultimately had to hire an experienced vice-president of business development and sales to learn how to bring forecasts down to reality.

    Moving quickly is fine. Just be sure that you don't move so fast that you find the feet of your business up in the air.

    SEE ALSO: 17 Traits That Distinguish The Best Startup CEOs

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