Groupon: Doomed to Fail or Worth a Leap? A Twitter Debate

Among those debating the value of Groupon as it filed for its hotly-awaited initial public offering were two startup entrepreneurs — 37signals partner David Heinemeier Hansson, who argued it is doomed to fail, and SimpleGeo founder Joe Stump, who looked on the bright side.

Jason Fried: Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work

37signals co-founder Jason Fried recently published REWORK, a collection of essays on topics as diverse as progress, productivity, culture, evolution and hiring in modern business. Last month, Fried spoke at TEDxMidwest in Chicago, exploring some of the themes of REWORK in an intriguing fifteen minute talk:

3 Collaboration Tools Startups Pick for the Long Haul

37signals’ tools are very popular choices, but I also received several responses from startups that started with Basecamp, but made the decision to switch to something else. So in this list I’ll share three less-commonly used tools that different startups have chosen to use to collaborate:

Clearing The Cache – User Interface Edition

Like many of us, I spend quite a lot of time on the web and come across a staggering number of interesting things. In Clearing The Cache I choose a theme, pull out some of my favorites and share them with you here.

Our friends over at BatchBlue give a shiny new look to their their BatchBook CRM.

Clustering is key to the new Google Blog Search homepage.

If impersonation is the sincerest form of flattery, 37signals should be honored by this extremely faithful reproduction. Or more likely outraged.

Yahoo announces version 2.6 of the Yahoo Interface Library (YUI) – OStatic gives us the rundown.

The Windows 7 team on how they are Managing Windows windows

GIMP 2.6 offers a spiffy new User Interface

Zendesk for Help Gets Seed Funding

Keep an eye out on Copenhagen-based help desk-on-demand company Zendesk. The firm, started by Mikkel Svane, just raised half a million dollars in seed money from angel investors including Pageflakes co-founder Christoph Janz. Just like 37Signals offers you project management tools or hosted chat, Zendesk offers you a simple way to manage all incoming help desk inquires.

It’s not sexy, like some social networks, but it is useful and fully featured. No surprise the company counts Web 2.0 startups like Coupa and EditGrid along with convenience stores TETCO and Oxford University Press among its users. Zendesk would fall into our “small really is beautiful” category of startups.

Will It Spread? Facebook Gangsta

What’s It About: The original Facebook Gangsta raps about the trials and tribulations of being so damn good at social networking sites. Quality lyric writing, flawless cinematography and editing, and committed performances from Sean Modica and Arthur Colombino keep the beat pumping.

Premiered: May 19, 2008.

Viral Qualities: Catchy rap song satirizing Facebook (which has recently proven to be viral gold). Brief appearance by a small dog.

Star Power: None, save the Facebook profile of the Internet’s favorite presidential candidate..

Drawbacks: The white-dudes-rapping genre is a seriously overloaded one, and after Lazy Sunday, PaxilBack, and My Entourage Gives You the Back Massage, it’s quite possible the Internet just isn’t interested in watching another one (no matter how well done it might be).

Mash-up Potential: Decent, especially if someone takes this approach and creates, say, Twitter Gangsta. (My suggested lyrics: “Send my tweets out to the ladies / Overwhelmed by DMs oh so crazy / I’ll follow you baby, no doubt ’bout that / But don’t expect an @ unless you be phat”)

Current Viral Status: As of 3 pm today, 15,500 views on YouTube, 2,800 views on Vimeo.

Spread-factor (scale of 1-10, 10 being Lazy Sunday): 8. The fact that this video isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel definitely works against it. But it’s extremely well-executed artistically and technically. Facebook Gangsta doesn’t have a lot to say about the world, but it has a lot of fun saying it.

Why Small Really Is Beautiful

VCs might dismiss small startups as “lifestyle companies,” since with only small investments needed they’re often too small for big VC firms to work with. But for the entrepreneurs themselves, it’s a way to keep control and avoid dilution. And there may be another reason not to take money, particularly if you’re targeting other small-businesses as customers: Personality.

9 People You Meet at Y Combinator (and what you can learn from them).

I went to Y Combinator’s Startup School on Saturday (that’s YC-founder Paul Graham, in case you don’t know) even though most people in Silicon Valley see the material there as “too basic.” My goal is to perpetually learn and apply and to learn as much from the audience as from the killer line-up of speakers Y Combinator recruited.

What I learned I posted to Twitter. My notes are in my facebook album.

Anyway, these are The 9 YC-Types that I met that day — and a fewof the things you can learn from them:

1. Mr. Never Woken Up Before Noon. Codes and compiles well into the early morning. Only wakes up at 9AM for killer content. Fresh in from Europe. Is full of wonderment that 12 zip codes in Northern California contain 90% of venture money. Doesn’t know about the 9 VCs you’ll want to avoid meeting, but gosh darn they have great accents.

2. Mr. Silver Bullet Detector. A.K.A, a VC. Wants to find the next Google, Myspace, Yahoo!,

and get his carry (you-know-what) popped with the this 3rd fund.

3. Mr. DDSS Founder Presenting. DDSS stands for Dumb-Down-Sandbag-for-Success. During AM presentation said stuff like, “money matters with how many people you hire. The more money you have the more you can hire.” No where near as dumb as the things he says — even though he pretends he didn’t present during lunch. Read More about 9 People You Meet at Y Combinator (and what you can learn from them).