Links edition: Lessons for the founder


For me, the hardest part of contributing to a blog is the idea-generation phase, or more precisely, the ‘what can I write about that anybody else is going to want to read?’ phase. Perhaps I’m overly hard on myself, but I struggle with this quite a bit (suggestions, anyone?). In other words, the smart money was on me copping-out and producing a ‘links’ post early in my blogging career. As a placeholder while I think of a new topic to write about, I will cleverly buy time by linking to other authors who have some interesting thoughts worthy of mass-appeal. I’m confident that these articles/blogs are so good, that in the end nobody will notice that I only generated about three sentences of original content for this post. These folks can all write better than me, anyway. These are my favorite pieces that I’ve come across recently (most were originally linked to by the Venture Capital Dispatch page, associated with the Wall Street Journal).

— I like a lot of the stuff by Chris Dixon, and I think he’s particularly insightful. In this post, he raises a valid point that’s not really spoken about much (as far as I can tell): that sometimes it can be risky to take seed money from large VCs . He is the first to admit that he’s not entirely disinterested on the subject, but this perspective was something I had never considered, and it opened my eyes a bit.

— It didn’t take me long to realize that for your start-up to be successful, you need to have the right people around. This article by Don Rainey discusses 7 flavors of the wrong people to have around. I’ve been lucky to avoid all these types and be surrounded by quality personnel at my start-up, but I’ve definitely come across a few of these types of folks through other experiences.

— I like this piece from Paul Graham a lot: He wrote to the founders of the companies his group had funded, and asked them What surprised them about starting a start-up. There were many common themes in the responses, many of which also translate to the med-tech world. You’ll note that a number of these top themes also appear in my post about starting a company.

— Fred Wilson is a VC who also blogs about some interesting topics (several recent sports/business tie-ins are a good read). This is an older post where he explains the impact of the option pool on valuation during financing in a straightforward way that even I could understand. For a lot of young entrepreneurs, I think the degree to which this affects ownership might fly under the radar a bit.

— A common fear is for innovators with a hot idea is that someone is going to steal it. Steve Blank provides a somewhat-comical anecdote of a time when this happened to him (see part two for the less-comical anecdote). There are some good lessons learned here, for sure.

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