Last year I wrote in Connect magazine that I would be trying a grand experiment in team building. I would be trying an idea I got from The Entrepreneur's Manual, a very popular book for entrepreneurs published in 1997. I would hold a 2-day retreat with a couple dozen executives to brainstorm, network, plan, and then vote on the Founders Team for Worldhistory.com.
Most VCs don't have time to look at the thousands of unsolicited deals that are sent to them "over the transom," an interesting phrase defined by Wikipedia. Most only look at deals that are referred to them by people they know and trust. So when VC Forum comes to your town looking for local deals that are promising, the Forum requires them to be submitted by a local VC firm that has of course screened the deals. So local companies that want to pitch at the VC Forum events will need to have already gotten in front of credible people and started telling their story. You have to get noticed, you have to have a good team and a good story, and then you get the referral you are looking for.
It is interesting to look at the 5-year Alexa chart of MyFamily.com--a web site that was a high-flying pioneer in user generated content, photo sharing, free voice chat, and viral marketing; but which has been neglected in both development and marketing for nearly 5 years.
Worldhistory.com is looking for a talented developer who can work part-time to help us maintain our current blogger network and launch new blogs as we add new editors. Experience setting up WordPress blogs and web analytics software is required.
Provo Labs has opened an Academy for Entrepreneurs in Provo, Utah, in the new office building adjacent to BYU on 9th East in Provo. Our address is easy to remember: 1234 N. 900 E., Provo, UT 84604. (See us on a Google Map.)
I wrote an article for Connect Magazine's September issue about skating to where the puck is going, not to where it has been, and I specifically addressed online video. I encourage companies to rush into online video, to take advantage of this new trend, and gain a competitive advantage by being an early adopter.
A month or so ago I held a difficult meeting with all the employees at Provo Labs. I started the meeting by admitting that I had made some mistakes in the past six months. Specifically, our burn rate got too high as we hired too many people, particularly developers. Our sales and marketing investments weren't sufficient enough to cover our overhead. And more importantly, we weren't creating dedicated teams for each new company idea, and giving the team members equity and letting them take risks along with the investor (Provo Labs), risks such as lower-than market salary. Instead, we were paying full salaries, and not giving options out, and shifting people from project to project. We should always be in bootstrap mode and we should not try to do so many things at once.
- Yesterday was our best FundingUniverse.com board meeting ever, in the wake of another successful speed-pitching event. The team is energized and the company should be profitable soon (maybe October or November). Then, it will have an indefinite runway on which to launch new products and services for entrepreneurs and angel investors. Great job, team!
- 10Speed Media, our video-based affiliate network led by CEO Erik Johnson (formerly with iBahn), rated very high at the speed-pitching event. Getting good feedback from attendees is a great motivator.
TOPIC 1. Marty Fahncke, an outstanding direct-response marketer, finally convinced me to join with him as he launches www.learnfrompaulallen.com. I guess he really couldn't have done it without me. Our first conference call, where I will answer questions from listeners about internet marketing and other entrepreneurial topics, will be held on Thursday, September 7th at 1 pm MST. This is a free conference call, so register now for one of the limited spaces.
Yes, this is an advertisement. It's an invitation for you to bring your startup company to the new Provo Labs Academy, where you will learn dozens of important internet marketing tactics that can help you find more success for your business. In September, a new office building will open in Provo with space for dozens of small startup companies. It is adjacent to BYU on Ninth East, across from the Creamery on Ninth. If you like the BYU Dairy chocolate milk (best tasting in the world) you will love moving your small business into our new space.