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March 2007
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May 2007

Here’s a CreditCardVC Role Model

Don't think that it's actually possible to start a company using only credit cards and then have it grow until something good happens?

It's a good thing that Randy Morin didn't think that way.

He started a project in his spare time and it just sold to NBC Universal.

This was certainly not a blockbuster deal, just one of dozens of deals like this that happen every week, most of them getting little or no mainstream media attention.

But, lest you think it's easy, take a look at this quote, which instantly enshrines Morin into the CreditCardVC hall of fame:

And lastly, do you have any tips for someone starting their own business?

Let’s start by saying that 95% of Americans and Canadians don’t know what an honest days work is. Most people reading this will likely say they are part of the 5% that do. Those people should ask themselves a simple question. Do you honestly work 40 or more hours per week? Remove lunch. Remove water-cooler downtime. Remove all breaks. Remove personal phone calls. Remove solitaire. If you are part of that 5%, then do it. But don’t quit your day job. Do it part-time until you can pay the bills.


That sounds like a guy who groks the CredictCardVC manifesto.
OK, back to work for me.


Ooopsie

Look, I love TechCrunch. It always seems to have the news I'm interested in first. I should have written posts about all the things that I saw TC do properly.

But this was too sweet to resist.

Here's TechCrunch yesterday, wirting about how Google is going to be announcing a replacement for Power Point:

They acquired Writely, and (mostly) built their spreadsheet application. The smart money is saying this is a build, not a buy.

Then today I read on the unofficial Google blog that Google has bought a company for its Power Point replacement.

The main guy at TechCrunch, being a stand-up guy, immediately posted an update to his post, and even teased himself a bit in the process. Because he's a class guy, he didn't write, "From now on I won't believe anything from the source who told me that Google will build this in house."

But I bet he's thinking that!


Thanks for nothin’

If you are building a company, and you are hoping that company has a healthy exit some day, the way to do that is to focus on what it is you are doing, and do it so well that some larger exit opportunity comes along.

It's kind of Zen, but you really can't focus on the exit, you have to focus first on the task at hand. Sure you have to be smart, be well positioned for an exit, etc., but most of getting well positioned for a good exit is the same stuff you have to do to run a smart and solid business in the first place.

There's a flip side to all this, however. If you do have an exit; If your company does get bought by some larger company, the way the rules of this country work, and the way the rules of human nature work and even the way manners dictate is that after the exit, it's no longer your thing. It belongs to the ones that wrote the check. You have to just let go.

Here's an example of two otherwise fine young men screwing that up. If you don't want to click, it's the story of two guys quitting Google because -- grab your Web 2.0 Kleenx -- they weren't getting enough attention from their bosses.

So.... Alex and I quit Google on Friday.

It's no real secret that Google wasn't supporting dodgeball the way we expected. The whole experience was incredibly frustrating for us - especially as we couldn't convince them that dodgeball was worth engineering resources, leaving us to watch as other startups got to innovate in the mobile + social space. And while it was a tough decision (and really disappointing) to walk away from dodgeball, I'm actually looking forward to getting to work on other projects again.


Whhaaaaaaaaa!

Look, if these guys want to quit, I have no issue with that. Fine. It's the whining about not getting enough attention that rankles me. If they wanted to complain privately, I'm sure they could and some other sources could make their case in probably a much more effective way, as in this post from A VC pointing out how Google really is just a big company now. He easily could have written that post without having to link to that whiny missive.

I speak from direct experience here, as my first company was bought by bigger guys. I suppose I could have complained about something or another (though probably not as it was a great transaction.) And now that I'm out looking for investors in my next thing a connection from California through New York actually made it back to Traffic.com in Pennsylvania. The key guy there had great things to say about the whole transaction. If I had complained publicly, would I have gotten that positive back-channel feedback? I don't think so.

And worse, I'm now running a great business, one that won't be as big as YouTube or DoubleClick, but still could be a great acquisition for Google or some other big name. Knowing the bad taste left in the collective mouth of Google about this Dodgeball thing, aren't they going to be just thismuch more shy about all the deals that are less than $1.5 billion?
Look, if you didn't get the support you needed from within the acquiring company, that says more about your inability to work within the structure of a big company. If you can't succeed at that, don't blame the big company for acting like a big company, blame yourself for not being better at playing by those rules. If you just don't want to be good at it, that's fine, but don't burn those bridges... other people may still want to use them.

So, thanks for nothin', Dodgeball.


First-Name basis

I heard that Cher and Madonna are friends. They're on a first-name basis.

Over at my day job, the worlds best legislative database, we struggle sometime with our name, which can be hard to prounounce.

It'd be nice in some ways to go out and spend 30 Large on some consultant to come up with a great name, but that's not the Credit Card VC way.

Luckily there are some great (free) naming resources out there, and some of them don't even take themselves too seriously.

Natural Structures