Archive for the 'startups' Category

Kaitlin Pike

We’ve seen a number of big media splashes this year about bad user data practices: data theft at Playstation, Facebook’s ever-changing privacy policies, Apple’s iPhone tracking scandal. But how does this affect the younger, smaller startups building their business on user data? How can they prevent similar fiascos and what best practices should they follow?

Attorney Christina Gagnier will answer these questions Thursday at her Web 2.0 Expo session Law and Data. Christina has been active in the field of intellectual property since 2002, and she regularly consults for technology firms on policy issues, including those about user data. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

Today we’re announcing the startups we selected Startup Showcase, our popular demo event taking place the Wednesday night of Web 2.0 Expo New York.

Highlighting the startup ecosystem’s creativity and variety, the Showcase will give you a chance to see the newest Web 2.0 companies entering the market.

We’ll have approximately 25 startups conducting demos in one large space. You’ll have an hour to check them all out and vote for your favorites. At the end of the hour, two judges – Joanne Wilson and Mo Koyfman – will each announce their top pick along with the audience favorite. These three startups will then each give a pitch and have an on-stage conversation with our judges. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

Charlie O'DonnellOnly great teams build lasting products and companies. And with a finite number of perfectly suited, talented individuals, businesses must constantly battle to recruit the best: If you’ve been in the web world long, you’re likely intimately familiar with Silicon Valley’s Talent War and similar fights throughout the country.

“For any company, the most important asset you have is your people. Building a great team is the most important ingredient for success,” Charlie O’Donnell of First Round Capital said. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

Eric Ries, author of Startup Lessons Learned, has a successful career in risk-taking and starting something new.  As he said in Part 1 of our interview, “One of the exciting things that’s happening in this entrepreneurial renaissance is that for the first time, I think the first time in history, entrepreneurship is now a career that you can embark on.”

In part two of our discussion, we covered how the Lean Startup movement has spread, what the latest news is for the Startup Visa Act, and what he’s learned about entrepreneurship along the way. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

If you’re in the startup scene, you’ve likely read his blog, seen him speak, or met him at a Lean Startup meetup. Eric Ries is one of the most prolific blog writers of entrepreneurial interests, and he’s adding to his long list of accomplishments by coming out with a book this September.

We recently interviewed Eric Ries about his upcoming keynote address at Web 2.0 Expo New York this October, the New York startup scene, and his book (which comes out September 13). In part two of our interview, we discuss how the Lean Startup movement has grown, what he’s learned, the Startup Visa Act, and the Startup America Partnership.  Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

Every biz dev advice column, book, speaker or video you come across can probably be summarized by what Hipmunk CEO Adam Goldstein recently said:

“Lose your sense of shame.”

And while he was specifically referring to how often to ping a contact (it’s more frequent than you may think), the larger lesson learned is how tenacity can affect your startup’s business success.

Adam will share a number of other lessons, tips and tricks for improving your startup’s business development this October during his session at Web 2.0 Expo New York. (Use code BLG20 to save 20% on registration.) He took the time last week to talk to us about what relatively young travel search site Hipmunk has learned about startup business development since it launched. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

Silicon Valley has witnessed a significant shift in power since the last big bubble burst and most especially within the last year and a half. One leading factor accounts for this change: It’s far cheaper (think hundred of thousands versus millions of dollars) to start a company nowadays. You can host your application on Amazon or Google or Rackspace, etc. PR efforts can be done through Twitter and Facebook. For sales, you have, and for community development, just use a blog or forum.

naval-new-pictureOne effect of this shift is the rise of Angels, a topic serial entrepreneur and investor Naval Ravikant will cover later this month at Web 2.0 Expo. Along with all the startups he’s founded and invested in, Naval’s resume includes being the founder of Hit Forge, an angel fund for social media startups, co-author of, and co-founder of AngelList.

Naval and I spoke this week about his upcoming talk, and you can listen to our full interview below or read the transcription.

In the interview, we covered

  • The winners and losers in today’s world of startup investing
  • The next bubble(s)
  • Qualities of a good angel
  • Investment mistakes and lesson learned
  • The AngelList/Bryce Roberts “controversy” (spoiler: it’s not nearly as interesting as bloggers had hoped)

Listen to the full audio here or read the transcription below.

Full Text of Audio Interview:

Kaitlin: So, why would someone want to go to your talk?

Naval: Entrepreneurs would want to go to my talk to understand how the fundraising landscape has changed, because of the addition of angel investors.

Angel investors who want to go to my talk to understand what the new terms are, what the new normal looks like, how companies raise money, and why they go with angel investors or not, and what’s dangerous and unsafe about being a new angel investor and how one can protect themselves.

And then venture capitalists should go to my talk to understand how the increase in leverage and power that entrepreneurs have gained allows them to unbundle many of the services that VCs traditionally offered and how they could adapt to that new environment. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

If your startup doesn’t know how to talk to users (and get the most out of those discussions), you could miss out on exactly what your customers want you to know.

laura-kleinWeb 2.0 Expo speaker Laura Klein (Users Know) regularly consults with lean startups and other small companies on usability research, and shows them how they can use this valuable information to improve their business.

In her upcoming session Who Do I Talk To Now? User Research for Every Phase of Your Product, Laura will discuss the most common types of usability research, what types of conversations to have with different sets of customers, how this changes as your product matures, and tips on how to avoid some of the common mistakes startups stumble on. We recently talked with Laura about her session and user research.

Read on for the full interview:

Kaitlin: The basic problem your session goes after is how can a startup (which by nature has very limited resources) better “talk” to their customers, specifically with usability research. Without letting the cat out of the bag too much, can you list a few of the types of usability research your session covers and why they’re important?

Laura: Over the past couple of years, dozens of new products have been released that claim to help make user research faster and easier. The problem is that most people don’t know which ones to use or how to get the most out of them.

A large part of what I cover in my session is how to use things like remote usability, unmoderated testing, and micro usability tests to make gathering qualitative feedback much faster. I’ll also talk about which methods give you the best results for the different stages of your product. Continue Reading »

Kaitlin Pike

If you’re building an app or service that needs good, structured data at reasonable terms, you’re probably having a bit of a rough go.

Your problems likely include 1) not being able to find the right vendor, 2) not having enough usable data when you find a source 3) dealing with complex T&Cs and 4) no great way to keep it fresh and updated.

Fortunately, companies such as Factual - founded by Applied Semantics co-founder and Web 2.0 Expo speaker Gil Elbaz – are tackling these tough issues by building data services and components.

We recently spoke to Gil about this problem/solution, as well as about his upcoming Web 2.0 Expo session Facing the Big Data Challenge – Getting Some.

gil-elbazIn our interview with Gil, we covered

  • Factual’s role and future in Big Data
  • What innovative approaches companies are taking with data
  • Disrupting traditional data companies
  • How to structure and clean data with fewer humans involved
  • How to think about data rights in a complex ecosystem

Listen to the full interview for more.


Kaitlin Pike is the Web 2.0 Expo community manager. She can be reached @w2e or @kcpike. To see Gil speak, register for Web 2.0 Expo SF now with  discount code websf11bl20 to save 20%.

Kaitlin Pike

The startup scene includes a good number of non-technical people whose skills are a vital component of most web companies. But creating a web business with only non-techies? That’s not something you think about every day, unless you’re LaunchBit co-founder Elizabeth Yin.

elizabeth-yinElizabeth and co-founder Jennifer Chin believe anyone can launch an Internet-based business, even if they don’t know how to code. In their workshop at Web 2.0 Expo San Francico (Get Going: How to Build and Test Your Idea Without Programming), Elizabeth and Jennifer will provide attendees with specific methodology and tools for testing and starting a business. After coming to their workshop, attendees will know how to launch a business idea without coding anything, how to market it, and how to measure early-stage success.

Elizabeth recently spoke with us about her session, starting an Internet business without coding, and customer development. Read on for more.

Kaitlin: The basis for your session surprised me: How to start a web based business without knowing how to program. At first read, I thought that was similar to “how to open a bakery without knowing how to bake.” Can you give me your elevator pitch defending your workshop idea?

Elizabeth: These days, for most internet businesses, the number one challenge is customer acquisition and marketing — not in building a website.  There are obviously exceptions to this, but the overwhelming majority of startups that fail don’t fail because their website didn’t work.  They fail because not enough people used it.  This means that as entrepreneurs, we need to do a better job of vetting our markets before even building anything.  That’s what this workshop is all about — how to do this.  My co-founder Jennifer and I developed this methodology for our own profitable sites, even though we’re developers ourselves.  We came up with this methodology out of necessity, because prior to working with Jennifer, I had a startup that failed — I wasted almost 2 years and about $20k of my own personal savings by not vetting my market. Continue Reading »

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