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Best & Worst Decisions Starting Companies

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the if-i-had-it-to-do-over-again dept.

Businesses 127

markfletcher writes "Today I launched a new site, Startupping, dedicated to helping Internet entrepreneurs. For the launch I asked several successful entrepreneurs about lessons they learned starting and running Internet companies. The first set of replies includes responses from Paul Graham, John Battelle, Chris Pirillo, Ross Mayfield, and Dick Costolo."

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What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (5, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093322)

I wanna buy space too.

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (1)

3b0la_R0 (911804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093368)

Nope.. if it was advertising it would have used Google Adwords on the website to generate profit..

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (1)

McFadden (809368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093526)

Nope.. if it was advertising it would have used Google Adwords on the website to generate profit..
At first I thought he was an idiot for not using Adwords, but now I can see that he's a brilliant entrepreneur. After all, anyone aiming to generate a profit clearly knows nothing about running internet start-ups.

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094344)

Nope.. if it was advertising it would have used Google Adwords on the website to generate profit..
At first I thought he was an idiot for not using Adwords,
It's called AdSense, not AdWords. AdWords is for advertisers, while AdSense is for publishers.

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094360)

Ah, but the NonSense always belongs to /.

My advice (1)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094464)

And if you really want your business to succeed, don't have any dealings with Slashdot, people will only complain that their lives are being ruined by your blatant advertising and will threaten to write letters nasty to you, your mom, your plumber and the EFF while also hyperanalyzing your whois records and posting the security holes related to your mail server's serial port to their blog.

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (5, Funny)

tooyoung (853621) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095466)

What are the rates for a slashvertisement?
Luckily for you, today I launched a new site http://www.slashvertisement.com/ [slashvertisement.com] , dedicated to helping Internet entrepreneurs obtain stories on slashdot. My first interview is with Mark Fletcher.

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (1)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097054)

Wow, you got slashdotted already, you must be great :D

Re:What are the rates for a slashvertisement? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097222)

Wow, the domain's still available, even an hour or two* after your post. This surprises me. And tempts me a bit, but I don't think I'll follow through. ;-)

(I forget if /. displays times to me in CST or EST)

Fist Sport (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093324)

Bitches!

woop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093328)

second post

Re:woop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093380)

s/second/third

Get link on /. (2, Funny)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093336)

1. Get linked from slashdot.
2. Pay bandwidth overages.
3. ???
4. Profit

Re:Get link on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094104)

1. Get linked from slashdot!!!
2. Pay bandwidth overages!?!?
3. Profit???

Sorry but... (3, Insightful)

js92647 (917218) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093340)

this isn't even news. This is blatant advertising.

Re:Sorry but... (2, Interesting)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093374)

This is blatant advertising.

Ah, so its the "blatant" part that separates it from the rest of the dot;-) Maybe instead of the Intel section they should just call it Slashmarketing Sponsored by Intel (Until AMD Pays Us More), and then we can throw them all in there.

Re:Sorry but... (2, Insightful)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093690)

The difference is that this is presented as legitimate news. The Intel page and banner ads are obviously advertisements. Guerilla marketing sucks.

Re:Sorry but... (1)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094144)

Guerilla marketing sucks
As long as they stay away from the lightbrites we should be thankful!

uh, wait! Wait! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094306)

Today I launched a new site shutupping [stupid.cm] dedicated to talking wankers out of starting websites, then trying to pimp them on Slashdot.

(damn, I wonder if shutupping.com is taken. Well, I'm sure it is by now)

Re:Sorry but... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094922)

The difference is that this is presented as legitimate news. The Intel page and banner ads are obviously advertisements. Guerilla marketing sucks.


      So, do like the rest of us and don't RTFA ;)

Re:Sorry but... (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095060)

What are you talking about, I see no Intel banner ads.

Re:Sorry but... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097380)

Not a banner ad but an actual Section [slashdot.org] . If you ever want to make your brain hurt from too much marketing speak, give it a read.

And i-bullshit too! (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093382)

There is nothing really magic about internet start ups vs any other start ups. Ultimately all businesses share some common traits. If you don't have a solid business plan, then you only have a dream. This is the same if you're in i-business, selling hardware or if you're a hooker.

To have a business, you need to understand cash flow (current & projected), customers, your product and how the hell you're going to get the product in front of the customer.

Re:And i-bullshit too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093488)

The difference between a normal startup and an Internet startup is that the Internet startups Business Plan doesn't have to make any sense.

Re:And i-bullshit too! (2, Insightful)

frisket (149522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093770)

A business plan is only any good if you have a saleable product, unless you're just aiming to milk some VCs [silmaril.ie] . I've seen (and done DD on) startups with good business plans, people who understood cash flow and customers and marketing -- but the product was crap, or already obsolete, or simply a non-starter (didn't stop some of them getting the cash, of course, but it sure as hell stopped the business dead in its tracks when the funding ran out).

Re:And i-bullshit too! (2, Insightful)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094192)

but the product was crap, or already obsolete, or simply a non-starter
 
Yes, but this is more an opinion of your, than anything else. Somebody who has a business head, that can be told by asking a few questions. But the value of the product, that can me debated endlessly. I am sure you expert vision of the future would have turned down such products as google (we already have search engines), myspace (we already have geocities), 8086 (nobody will want a computer of their own).

Re:And i-bullshit too! (1)

nietpiet (836036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093852)

I think there is a difference between a 'normal' startup and an internet-startup. This difference is between the non-tangibleness of the internet (and software in general) and a production company. You can start developing a website in your spare time, and the end result doesn't take up 5 factory floor.

Re:And i-bullshit too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094014)

Then where would an Open Source company fit into your groups? You can develop an OSS project in your spare time and turn it into a tangible product and build a business around it. The OSS business would still seem like a better bet to me (Although I'm biased, having spent the past twelve months writing a business plan for an OSS company. Wish me luck.)

Re:And i-bullshit too! (1)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093926)

If your fit, being a hooker is easier.

Re:And i-bullshit too! (4, Interesting)

oliderid (710055) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094128)


What truly matters for a start-up is the team behind the business plan.
I can easily hire a good consultant to write the business plan (and I did it once). I will add a nice SWAT chapter, a competition review (based on a Jupiter analysis), 3 years projection (with 3 different projections: pessismitic, break-en, optimistic) and so on...You know that they expect a break even on the first year and a 120% ROI on the second year? Well simply change your Excel sheet.

Investors (at least experienced ones) know that the reality will be different from your business plan. It will just help you to structure your ideas and nothing more.

So what they are truly looking for is a team. Personnalities, experiences, motivation, etc..
And of course the idea.

If you want to be a CEO...You have to prove your leadership and your ability to convince the right people to join your boat, (or at least be ready to join in once there are some money). Otherwise you will remain a brilliant isolated inventor/engineer/salesman...

IMHO 70% for the team, 30% for the idea/product/service/whatever.

This was my biggest mistake. And my biggest success was to recognize it :-)

Olivier

Re:And i-bullshit too! (4, Informative)

the_womble (580291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094320)

In the case of Startupping, the wiki has been written byy someone who does not know what a business plan is - it gives a list of potential revenue streams as business plans. I assume he has written stuff that he knows FA about, in the hope that someone competent will come along and write some sense.

The rest of the wiki is equally useless.

The forums are not exactly active.

The blog aggregators might be useful.

The Startupping blog itself consists of the one article linked to. That post itself has nothing earthshaking. Old advice like "do something you love", "hire good people", "stick to core competencies" and "don't be afraid to take risks".

Why exactly would anyone want to visit this site?

iBullshit (1)

amuzulo (643695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094420)

Oh, is that the name of Apple's next product?

Re:And i-bullshit too! (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094528)

This is the same if you're in i-business, selling hardware or if you're a hooker. To have a business, you need to understand cash flow...
If you're a hooker, cash isn't the flow you really need to understand.

Sorry, couldn't resist this early in the morning.

Re:And i-bullshit too! (1)

Bastard of Subhumani (827601) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094680)

To have a business, you need to understand cash flow (current & projected), customers, your product and how the hell you're going to get the product in front of the customer.
Is your real name Rip Van Winkle? Newsflash - there's like these things called, umm, intarwebs and stuff. OMG you're so far behind you're not even web 1.0!!!

Other Startup Sites (4, Interesting)

janneH (720747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093358)

A bit off topic maybe, but anyone know of good sites for more general startup help - that includes non-internet companies? A place to discuss contract terms, get recommendations for legal help, advice on whether to go LLC or C-corp - or one of the million other questions that come up.

Re:Other Startup Sites (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094670)

SBA.gov is usually a really good source for startup info including legalalities (in your locale) money issues, licensing and the like.

Re:Other Startup Sites (1)

KnowledgeKeeper (1026242) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095220)

I've been looking into very same thing and found this [digital-web.com] article.

Hope that helps.

nolo.com (3, Informative)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095278)

Nolo [nolo.com] . No contest. They have quite a bit of free information and you can buy their eBooks in DRM-free .pdf format in addition to the usual dead trees versions.

BTW, you almost certainly want to go LLC.

Re:nolo.com (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096158)

That's nice and all, but the legal structure of a company is one of the LAST considerations that one should worry about when starting a company. It's a simple decision, and it's one best made by your CPA, anyway. Figure out how to turn a profit first. The legal stuff will fall into place later.

Robert A. Cooke (3, Informative)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095534)


A place to discuss contract terms, get recommendations for legal help, advice on whether to go LLC or C-corp - or one of the million other questions that come up.

A fellow named "Robert A. Cooke" has written several easy-reading tax law/accountancy books, very much in the mould of what you might call "The Idiot's Guide[s] to Teaching Yourself Corporate Tax Law in About 24 Minutes Flat":

How to Start Your Own 'S' Corporation, Second Edition
Mar 2, 2001
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0471398128/ [amazon.com]

Doing Business Tax-Free: Perfectly Legal Techniques to Reduce or Eliminate Your Federal Business Taxes, 2nd Edition
April 23, 2001
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0471418218/ [amazon.com]

The McGraw-Hill 36-Hour Course In Finance for Non-Financial Managers
Feb 4, 2004
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0071425462/ [amazon.com]

Buy Your Own Business With Other People's Money
April 25, 2005
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0471694983/ [amazon.com]

etc etc etc
Be aware, though, that Congress has a bad habit of changing the "laws" about every five minutes [and dittoes as regards the IRS & the "regulations"], so at any one point in time, no single person on the entire planet is entirely certain of the precise state of all the laws and all the regulations at that very moment.

But I'd recommend Cooke as a good place to start to get an overview of the big picture.

The best... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096052)

The best one I've seen is inc.com [inc.com] . It's got real articles, written by real people with real experience running real companies (as opposed to people whose only "business" is sucking VC's dry).

Re:Other Startup Sites (2, Insightful)

Swanktastic (109747) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097418)

The responses you'll get to this question are well intentioned, but I can tell you definitively the answer to this question. The internet should not be your primary source for answers to these questions. Human beings will.

I've got a successful startup under my belt- almost 100 employees, throws off a lot of cash, happy customers, etc. Get in the habit of talking to people to find answers to questions rather than running to the internet. Need legal help? Contact the bar association. Talk to a couple lawyers. See if you can develop a friendship with them. Same goes for accounting issues. Need entrepreneurship help? Join your local e'ship club and have lunch with 10 of them. Ask them for advice. People love to talk about their businesses. Milk them for info. See if you can share costs on something or other. Potential customer ideas, whatever.

Entrepreneurship (not a product design) is about talking with contacts to do whatever it takes to get the business off the ground.

Customers! (5, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093360)

The number one thing that people screw up is to start a business around an idea because it's interesting to work on, it can get funded, it's been done successfully before, the sector is hot, exit valuations are good, etc.

The ONLY successful ideas I have ever seen start with a _customer_. The first thing you say when somebody asks you what your idea is should be to describe who will buy it and why. Not what it is. I can't tell you how many entrepreneurs I've heard touting their latest venture with a pitch such as: "Think of it as a cross between grid computing and a web of trust, and it uses these applets that run on your back-end server... etc etc". This drivel often comes from seemingly smart people who have had impressive successes in the past. But who the fsck is the customer?

What is really astonishing is that it's the worst of these ideas, which happen to have just the right buzzwords du jour, which get funded by VCs. And it just gets more out of control from there. Even today, 7 years after the dot bomb, I know of several companies which have grown to 100+ employees and are on their fifth round of venture money without a profit in sight.

If your customer is not the #1 thing on your mind at all times, don't even bother! ...trite, I know.

(BTW dot coms DID have customers - it's just that the customer was not the guy buying you non-existent product, but rather the "bigger fool" who would buy your company. They eventually failed for the EXACT same reason - people kept starting companies even after they could no longer identify that customer.)

Re:Customers! (0, Troll)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093498)

If your customer is not the #1 thing on your mind at all times, don't even bother!

Didn't you get the memo? We replaced all the customers with consumers.

KFG

Re:Customers! (4, Insightful)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093720)

The first thing you say when somebody asks you what your idea is should be to describe who will buy it and why.

Note the phrase "who will buy it", because it's important.

A business can make a perfect product that people love because it overwhelmingly satisfies their needs, but if those people aren't willing to pay for it (or pay *enough* for it that the business can make some profit), then it doesn't matter and the business is screwed. Therefore it is not always in a business's best interest to bend over backward to please consumers at the expense of other factors. A product's quality will reach a "good enough" point, beyond which additional improvement just increases costs without making people willing to pay more for it.

You see great examples everywhere of major businesses consistently making this mistake. Look at Apple -- great PCs with strong user satisfaction, great image relative to Microsoft -- yet very few people are willing to pay the price Apple needs to ask to turn a profit per unit, so in the end it's not a very smart business strategy. Steve Jobs keeps making the stupid mistake of maximizing product quality over all else, when a smart business person understands that product quality is just one of many factors that must be balanced to maximize profits.

Product quality. (2, Interesting)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093842)

Steve Jobs keeps making the stupid mistake of maximizing product quality over all else, when a smart business person understands that product quality is just one of many factors that must be balanced to maximize profits.
I don't buy Macs because of their superior quality. I buy them becasue Apple computers tend to be comparatively well designed (at least the laptops are), the Apple desktop environment has better ergonomics than Windows (in my opinion, your milage may vary), personally I value the fact that OS.X is Unix based and Apple hardware tends to age better than many (but by no means all) PC computer brands, there are PC brands that do just as well as Apple. I don't think that Apple computers or products in general are insanely better quality than other products in the same price bracket. If you can accuse Apple of anything it is that they occasionally over design their products and to fall into the trap of sacrificing practicality and robustness for coolness of design.

Re:Product quality. (4, Insightful)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093980)

I don't buy Macs because of their superior quality. I buy them becasue Apple computers tend to be comparatively well designed (at least the laptops are), the Apple desktop environment has better ergonomics than Windows (in my opinion, your milage may vary), personally I value the fact that OS.X is Unix based and Apple hardware tends to age better than many (but by no means all) PC computer brands, there are PC brands that do just as well as Apple.
...i.e., you do buy Macs because of their superior quality.

Re:Customers! (1)

bkr1_2k (237627) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094696)

I think with $40 million in cash (at Apple) or whatever it is they have on the books, it's safe to say Jobs has a pretty good idea of what he's doing. Sure, he makes mistakes, we all do but in general, I think everyone can agree, ego or not, he's doing good things at/for Apple right now.

Re:Customers! (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18098338)

I think with $40 million in cash (at Apple) or whatever it is they have on the books
$40 million doesn't sound like *that* much for a company of Apple's size...

Re:Customers! (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095242)

yet very few people are willing to pay the price Apple needs to ask to turn a profit per unit, so in the end it's not a very smart business strategy. Steve Jobs keeps making the stupid mistake of maximizing product quality over all else, when a smart business person understands that product quality is just one of many factors that must be balanced to maximize profits.

Last I checked Apple was turning a pretty big profit. When you are able to successfully run a multi-BILLION dollar company and provide amazing value to shareholders, then I think you might be in a position to criticize their business model.

Re:Customers! (1)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096788)

Steve Jobs keeps making the stupid mistake of maximizing product quality over all else, when a smart business person understands that product quality is just one of many factors that must be balanced to maximize profits.

I love it when some random Slashdotter claims to have a better understanding of business than Steve Jobs.

AAPL isn't exactly hurting these days -- even with stagnant growth in the computer market, stock is selling near the highest prices it ever has.

Sure, they'd have a larger market share if they cut corners on quality and sold cheaper boxes -- but then they'd be in competition with the Dells, Gateways, and HPs of the world (or maybe the Motorolas, PowerComputings, and UMAXen), who'd possibly be able to out-corner-cut them.

No. Apple knows what they are doing when they build high-quality systems and sell them at a premium. It's working well for them.

Re:Customers! (1)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097262)

Making a higher quality, more expensive, lower volume, product isn't a mistake - it's called market segmentation. Not everybody wants to buy a Yugo - some people are willing to pay for Mercedes and Ferraris.

If Apple didn't differentiate themselves on quality/features then they'd just be a competitor to Windows which wouldn't seem to be very smart. Instead, Apples have positioned themselves in a different up-market segment, and despite continual rumour of them going out of business appear to be doing quite well as a result.

Re:Customers! (1)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094406)

VCs tend to be smarter since the dot-bombs. The ones I've dealt with directly and indirectly have made a much greater push for business plans, existing customers, and the usual signs of life at a proposed business venture. They still sometimes chase technology buzzwords and the fantastical dream of "license revenue" rather than building the business themselves, but at least they're dealing with business ideas not dreams.

Re:Customers! (2, Interesting)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094494)

I started playing Second Life out of interrest and ended up having a minor business there, selling self-built goods. SL is by far an ideal representation of reality but it did help to drive home a few points.

I built some really good car models, they were truely 3D (as opposed to typical SL cars which are more like textured cubes), was painstakingly textured, had very good scripts to handle the driving; I can safely say they're the best you can get in SL and it took me weeks to get there. So I asked a relatively high price; nobody bought it.

Lesson learned; people will pay what THEY think your product is worth, not what YOU think it's worth.

It's all basic supply & demand ("no demand" means nothing else even matters), but SL was a very quick way to learn that lesson.

FWIW, since SL is such a microcosm, it might be a cheap way to learn about business as a whole. Most things I learned I had already heard from others, but it helped demonstrate these lessons in a quick way.

Hrm (0, Redundant)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093366)

Sounds like they might have mentioned how to get free advertisement....

I'm about to launch a site too (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093378)

My partner and I are about to launch a new site, how much for a link from the front page?

We can guarantee:

  • Bias against Microsoft.
  • Bias for Linux.
  • Sensational headlines.
  • A willingness to bend the truth in order to write those headlines.

aPaddedCell.com [apaddedcell.com] for a sneak preview, see we've even got an Internet Explorer hate piece on the front page!

MOD PARENT DOWN ! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093572)

He's using an old /. trick in order to promote his own website.

1) Make a funny post (as AC, so you d'ont care about Karma), with the URL of your website at the end of it.
2) Get modded up "Funny"
3) Your URL is visible to all Slashdotters
4) Visitors => Profit !

Too bad I have neither a website nor a blog, so I can't try :(

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN ! (0, Offtopic)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093616)

Curses! You have discovered my evil plan!

I was grappling with the moral problems presented by posting my own URL in that comment, then released I couldn't be arsed, so posted it anyway.

On reflection though: most ./ ers really wont be interested in the (small amounts of) content on that site. They won't hang around, or click on any ads. All that stuff about karma was lost on me: before writing this post, I didn't have a ./ account.

So even though I did include my URL, it's not really some global conspiracy. Those that do click through can be safe in the knowledge that the only affect will be an increase to my bandwidth bill... Thanks. :)

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN ! (1)

HappyDrgn (142428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093804)

"...the only affect will be an increase to my bandwidth bill"

Don't forget the increased page rank...

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN ! (2, Informative)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094026)

Nope, they have rel="nofollow" on the links. Really, I am going to get naff-all benefits from posting that link. :)

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094016)

"I was grappling with the moral problems presented by posting my own URL in that comment, then released I couldn't be arsed, so posted it anyway."

You must be new here ...

FUCK PARENT IN THE ASS (1)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097082)

I think the comment was amusing enough to warrant funny mod. I don't care if he fishes a couple of clicks from his post.

I hate you MOD-PARENT-SIDEWAYS-TO-NEXT-TUESDAY-people. Look. Either you have mod points or you don't. Stop telling other people how to mod.
And stop posting AC in fear of retaliation. Damn spineless assholes, not willing to stand behind their words.

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (2, Funny)

datafr0g (831498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093604)

Ok but what's your differentiator? I mean, I can get all that right here at Slashdot!

:)

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093666)

We'll be writing stuff about Web Design/Development, specifically how to do Web Design/Development using GNU/Linux.

The idea is to encourage Web Design/Development newbies who've started out with haxxored versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver etc. to switch to GNU/Linux. Promoting how they'll be using GNU/Linux on their web server, so it makes sense to use it for their desktop. Not only that, they'll have the benefit of having legal and free (as in freedom) software, instead of the pirated stuff they're--probably--using now.

So it's all those things in the list, but from a totally different angle to Slashdot.

Step 3. ???
Step 4. Profit!

But seriously: does that make sense to you chaps, or is it a rubbish idea? Feedback is always good.
(is totally going off-topic ok on Slashdot?)

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (1)

HappyDrgn (142428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093896)

Wow, open source web authoring tools... I used Bluefish once for about twenty minutes before quickly removing it. Don't get me wrong I am a big fan of Linux, it's my primary desktop, on my notebook and my servers... but it's seriously lacking in professional development environments. Sure the open source software is better than nothing, but for professional use they can't compete with the likes of Zend Studio or Dreamweaver. Switching to open source would be great, I'd lose three software licenses off the bat for Zend Studio, Dreamweaver and Crossover Office (for making DW work on Linux), but I can't see that happening anytime soon.

Yes, going totally off topic is ok so long as the topic is blatant marketing campaigns for one of ostg's golf buddies.

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (1)

PRC Banker (970188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094300)

What Drupal template do you use? I like Drupal. I like your template. Curious.

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094396)

The template is a customised version of whatever came with Drupal 5 (Garland I believe), although little of the original remains it provided a nice starting point.

It's best not to think of using other peoples templates in design though. You should open up a graphics package and think of the design seperately from how you're going to code it. Create an image of how the site will look, then think about applying it.

Using other peoples templates makes a site look generic, as many other sites will also be using the same templates. Particularly if they're free.

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18094076)

My partner and I are about to launch a new site, how much for a link from under your comment?
We can guarantee:
  • Bias against Linux.
  • Bias for Microsoft.
  • Sensational headlines.
  • A willingness to bend the truth in order to write those headlines.
www.microsoftisawesome.com [microsoftisawesome.com] for a sneak preview, see we've even got an Apple hate piece on the front page! p.s. noone needs another web dev site.

Re:I'm about to launch a site too (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094260)

Wow, this is a great site! I even left an intelligent comment [microsoftisawesome.com] , thanks for pointing out how great Windows is: am converted, I'm going to ditch GNU/Linux and buy two Windows Vista Ultimate licenses!!! One for me, one for the missus.

Thanks for your true grass-roots effort at keeping the community empowered and informed!

... Not!

But seriously, I do appreciate the satire. :)

Mac mac I luv macs I luv macs and buttock cracks (1)

iMac Were (911261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18096364)

Micro$oft suck cock, and I don't mean in a nice way. Only horrid, nasty people would say that they're awesome.

Worst idea ever (4, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093390)

thinking that people would pay for a site totally devoted to Cowboy Neal porn....WHAT WAS I THINKING? I'M RUINED!

Re:Worst idea ever (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093534)

thinking that people would pay for a site totally devoted to Cowboy Neal porn....WHAT WAS I THINKING? I'M RUINED!

Yup, that free link from ultrapasswords means I don't have to pay a penny.

Worst Decision (4, Funny)

sane? (179855) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093482)

Coming up with a domain name that can be read as "Star Tupping [urbandictionary.com] "

Tales from the pen of the latest boyband member, maybe?

Re:Worst Decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093576)

I read it the first time as "Star Tupping". It wasn't till I read the rest of the description that I actually read it as "Start Upping". Probably says a lot about my mentality. Bad domain name choice.

Re:Worst Decision (1)

grolschie (610666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094004)

"Star Upping" [urbandictionary.com] is almost as bad. :-)

Re:Worst Decision (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095180)

They should have registered it with God Addy.com [godaddy.com] .

I'd like to assume it was because StartingUp.com wasn't available, but there's a trend to use unique constructions in order to get ownership of the unique keyword for search terms. I'm sure that's one of the reasons why Nintendo's Revolution was renamed the Wii.

In any case, the reading of it as "Star Tupping" gives it some added resale value. It'll be worth even more if he can get a lot of links to it as it is now before eventually selling it off to become a celebrity-sex site.

What's Tupperware then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095366)

condoms?

Observation (4, Insightful)

necro351 (593591) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093528)

Notice that almost all of the posts highlighted the "best decision" as hiring the right people, or finding co-founders that stuck with them. From what I've seen in the past, picking the right people is vital, its one of those things that is expected of you, and so we almost take it for granted, but if you don't do it right, you will mess the whole thing up.

1st bad decision - domain name (4, Funny)

The Dark (159909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093580)

startupping.com sounds like celebrities having fun with sheep (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Tupping [thefreedictionary.com] )

Re:1st bad decision - domain name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093872)

Hey - at least the link doesn't have goatse anywhere in it.

Re:1st bad decision - domain name (5, Funny)

thatJoshGuy (701935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093874)

When ExpertSexChange.com can become successful, I don't think StarTupping really has to be worried about some little known definition of 'tupping'...

Right off the bat (2, Interesting)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093648)

Some serious mistakes...

1. Invent a verb.
2. Take the gerund of the verb and register it as a Web domain.
3. Launch a new Web site. There are already too many and yours sucks too.
4. Advertise your site on Slashdot, where opinionated fussbudgets, girlfriendless nerds, and Grammar Nazis (often all the same thing) will gleefully and mercilessly attack your competence and judgement.

Re:Right off the bat (3, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094602)

1. ...
2. Take the gerund of the verb and register it as a Web domain.
3. ...
4. Advertise your site on Slashdot, where opinionated fussbudgets, girlfriendless nerds, and Grammar Nazis (often all the same thing) will gleefully and mercilessly attack your competence and judgement.


A post lamenting "grammar nazis" from someone can spell, writes in full sentences, and knows WTF a gerund is?

Re:Right off the bat (1)

Dystopian Rebel (714995) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097338)

I see that the humour flew over your cuckoo's nest at quite an altitude, Sir.

Re:Right off the bat (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097680)

I see that the humour flew over your cuckoo's nest at quite an altitude, Sir.

Look, mister, dangling participles don't scare me. Maybe pour yourself a tall one and re-read what I wrote?

Cheers.

I hate the expression "Jumped The Shark"... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18093682)

But this is it.

Slashdot, you have totally fucked it this time.

As a long time reader and anon poster, I've been fairly happy despite some pretty crap stuff sometimes.

But Christ on a shit pole. At least TRY to disguise your shitty placed ads. ugh.

Get fucked.

Oh that name. Poor name. (1)

Devv (992734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093854)

Ok! Let's do it! Start Up PING:
64 bytes from 207.218.203.242 64 bytes from 207.218.203.242 64 bytes from 207.218.203.242

Tip: Forget that morals and ethics exist at all. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093860)

[sarcasm]
When in business, forget that those two concepts even exist- only focus on the money, the product, the stockholders, the law, and finally the customers. It also helps if you can know some lawmakers willing to counter anyone who causes friction in business conduct.

There's nothing worse than a pro-consumer law that works, an immigration bill that is fully enforced, workers that have long term hope versus fear, or if you cant use Far Eastern countries as a one stop solution for that pesky domestic talent. Don't let Reagan's work go in vain!
[/sarcasm]

My 9 step plan for success (4, Funny)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18093936)

1) Synergize
2) Think Outside The Box
3) Harness The Internet
4) Get A Boat
5) Ask yourself, "is this good for the company?"
6) Attend Donald Trump Wealth Seminars
7) Have a Can-Do Upwardly Mobile Attitude
8) Actualize Your Dreams
9) Have Wealthy Parents

Re:My 9 step plan for success (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094570)

If you can do step 9, aren't steps 1-8 kinda pointless?

Re:My 9 step plan for success (2)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095156)

If you can do step 9, aren't steps 1-8 kinda pointless?

It's sarcasm, man. Steps 1-8 are pointless whether or not you can do step 9. Excuse me, I've got to go embrace my core competencies, now. Those world-class synergies don't benchmark themselves.

Re:My 9 step plan for success (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095354)

May I leverage your technique and use it as my paradigm for a successful strategy?

Founders at work (5, Interesting)

Neme$y$ (700253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094266)


For a in-depth look at some of the secrets for a succesful start-up, Founders at Work: Stories of Startups' Early Days [foundersatwork.com] might serve as an interesting read.

It features interviews with Steve Wozniak (Apple), Caterina Fake (Flickr), Mitch Kapor (Lotus), Max Levchin (PayPal), and Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail).

I haven't purchased the book myself, but I'm getting one as soon as I can to help me with my own startup initiatives.

Quote: All the best things that I did at Apple came from (a) not having money and (b) not having done it before, ever. Every single thing that we came out with that was really great, I'd never once done that thing in my life. --Steve Wozniak, founder of Apple, page 36

Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18095200)

The second most informative comment in the whole thread and it received no other commentary than this: curious.

It takes gumption to put your money where your hands have never been.

Worst. Decision. Ever. (3, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 7 years ago | (#18094902)

Having a name that sounds like someone throwing up, startupping. Excuse me, I have to go startup. Whew. Sorry, my stomach's been a bit off.

Anyway, you really have to wonder what strange chain of events happened to make someone think that verbing that particular noun sounded good. Roll it aound on the tongue. Startupping. StartUpping. Hmmm. Maybe another hit of Jack. Yes, that's it. Startupping. Hmm. Still sounds lame. Maybe if we change the emphasis. STARTuping. startUPing. startupING. Yeah, that's it. Suave. Respectable. Instant recognition.

I can't imagine how this domain was available.

Slashdot... (2, Funny)

saddino (183491) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095048)

Ads for nerds. Stuff that maddens.

Oh oh, I have a web business plan I want to share! (1)

Valdez (125966) | more than 7 years ago | (#18095772)

1) Advertise for free on a popular website
2) __________?
3) Profit!

Forgetting about customers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18096718)

We are probably going to end up selling our company at a firesale price. We got off to a roaring start with two contracts from medium-sized businesses. Management was obsessed with "landing Fortune 500 costumers" and "selling the company". All the while, they never listed to the logic of the fact that we'd already sold to medium-sized businesses, so if we duplicated those two local sales in similar sized markets, nationwide, we'd have probably had hundreds of customers by now. Our product was not cheap--6 figure contracts, which would have involved sales teams flying out a lot. Instead, the CEO flew out to a bunch of companies trying to make deals to sell the company. If those flights had been to medium sized business to sell our product, where would we be now?

Build the company, and the company will, to a certain extent, sell itself. Focusing on selling the company, and you are literally selling your own company short.

Mission and Vision (1)

infonote (1065258) | more than 7 years ago | (#18097704)

As a startup, you need a mission and vision statement. Find a need by users in an industry and satisfy the need. This is what Apple did with the IPod.
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