Were it just that simple: come up with the concept, make things happen, make it big.
But, hey, there’s still time. Plenty of time. This is a marathon, not a sprint — and we found three “teachable moments” from the world of startups, technology, communicating your vision, etc. that we can’t wait to share. Here goes…
TechCrunch sold to AOL. Because they worked their collective a$$ off for a bunch of years, Michael Arrington and his team were able to leverage their position as the leading breaking news blog for technology into a nice payday. AND a chance to keep on doing what they’re doing.
Teachable Moment: Did you notice they worked really, really hard at it? Like non-stop, 24×7? Any doubts, read the Inc. Magazine Interview with Michael Arrington. Good stuff.
Groupon Spawns About 250 Competitors. If you haven’t heard of Groupon, that’s okay. You’ll be hearing a little bit about it, or one of its competitors, when it comes to a town near you with a daily deal site. In fact, you can learn about any of these daily deals by visiting a site called Deal Radar and sorting through all of the deals in a town near you.
Teachable Moment #1: (There is more than one teachable moment here.) First of all, while first mover advantage is huge in this case, the fact that there are 250 competitors — and even olde tyme sites like Open Table are getting into the act — there’s time if you’ve got a twist on a current idea, or you want to be hyper-local, or you just think you can do it differently.
Teachable Moment #2: Chicago, Baby! When this reporter was running his first startup, Chicago was very much a “who sent you?” and “old school banking” town. The fact that Groupon’s Andrew Mason (and people like Jason Fried from 37 Signals) can make it here gives hope to others in a town that, darnit, has finally gotten some entrepreneurial swagger.
Freshbooks Hosts Supper Club. I totally loved this event last week. In Chicago, over drinks and dinner. Pitch-free. Freshbooks invited customers to informally gather and talk business. No pressure.
Teachable Moment: Be Awesome. Freshbooks has a Chief Handshaker in Sunir Shah. Talking with him about marketing and engineering and how the two go hand-in-hand was totally cool. (Guest blog post to come. You’re all forewarned.) But Sunir seemed to think — and I agree — that focusing on the product (or service) and making it awesome is the way to go. In fact, I can’t totally remember where I saw any marketing messages from Freshbooks. I do remember, however, hearing people say how easy it is to use Freshbooks. How well it integrates with other stuff (like Basecamp, for instance). Etc.