React: Test Your Reflexes On the iPhone/iPod Touch

I entertain no illusions when it comes to my reaction time. I won’t be catching any katana blades between my hands, that’s for sure. It’s my secret shame, since it means I’m not terribly good at video games, despite my professed love of them. There may be hope for me yet, thanks to DoApp’s new “skills-sharpening” game for the iPhone and iPod touch, appropriately titled React ($0.99).

React is a reflex and coordination game, using the unique multi-touch abilities of the iPhone and iPod touch to test your ability to complete a series of actions on your device. It’s actually kind of similar to Nintendo’s Wario Ware series, minus the crass, slightly vulgar main character. React has no characters, unless you count colorful shapes and contemporary, monochromatic design palettes as characters. In fact, it probably has more in common with Simon, although there is no pattern to memorize in this case.
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A GigaOM Family Thanksgiving

We’re like a big family here at the GigaOM network of blogs. We look out for each other. We help one another. And once a year we drink too much sherry and sulk because mom always liked you best.
But until we get there, we have some cooking to do! We asked GigaOM staffers to submit their favorite parts of the Thanksgiving meal. If you’re looking for menu inspiration, watch one of these how-to recipes to see if that gets those cooking juices going.
Craig already did a great turkey roundup so let’s move on to some other fixin’s.
Onion and Cornbread Stuffing
Personally, I like stuffing (or dressing), and I also do a wicked good impersonation of Food Network Chef Tyler Florence, so I thought I’d bring those two worlds together.

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Do You Have a Hard Time Staying Focused?

Editor’s Note: If you do, consider these four tips from contributor Ben Yoskovitz over at the Instigator Blog. Ben’s full post, The Challenge of Staying Focused in a Startup, was originally published on on April 8.

Startups need to be laser-focused on what they’re trying to do. It’s damn near impossible – especially when having to simultaneously build a product, sell a product, market a product, hire A-talent, raise more money, manage operations and more – but without focus (as Sequoia Capital notes) your startup is in big trouble.

I’ve suffered from “opportunity-itis” on numerous occasions. I still do. It’s so easy to get a bit of product feedback and chase those feature ideas. Or have a good conversation with a potential partner, and then decide to find 10,000 more partners like that. Or see a minor shift in the marketplace, only to revamp your entire business model and 12-month product roadmap (OK, I haven’t done that yet!)

You know you need to focus but at the same time you have to be looking for the right opportunities to make your startup a success. So how do you achieve startup focus? What follows are Ben’s four rules … Read More about Do You Have a Hard Time Staying Focused?

How to ‘flack’ effectively — off a startup budget!

One of the biggest challenges for startups is keeping in the public eye – getting the word out on a consistent basis to drive an audience, customers, buzz, etc. There are lots of marketing techniques for startups but one that I think is under used and under appreciated is public relations.

Generally, PR is used to reach the mainstream press and a mainstream audience. (Reporters call this “flacking.”) Anyway, a lot of startups don’t (or can’t) focus much energy (or resources) on PR – especially those living in a Web 2.0 bubble. If your startup is in the Valley or another true startup ecosystem, you may be able to generate sufficient buzz through the community, but for the rest of us, we need everything we can to keep in front of people, garnering attention.

The thing with PR is that it’s not just for attracting mainstream press, Read More about How to ‘flack’ effectively — off a startup budget!

So You Want to Be a “SaaS-y” Founder?

Editor’s Note: Founder and contributor Ben Yoskovitz has been involved with SaaS businesses (Software as a Service) for some 9 years. This includes his current startup, Standout Jobs . How to do “SaaS” right has been debated lately. VC Byron Deeter outlined Bessemer Venture Partners’ 10 Laws for Being “SaaS-y”, some of which were quickly disputed. At his Instigator Blog, Ben recently used his own experience to illustrate the good and bad of being a SaaS vendor, and how to do it better.

We’ve abbreviated Ben’s thoughts below, but here’s his whole post:Lessons Learned Running a SaaS Business.

Extending and responding to Byron’s 10 Laws, here are [my SaaS] lessons learned:

1. Monthly or Yearly Payments?

… as Byron points out, smart SaaS vendors will offer discounts for longer term commitments and payment up-front. “Pay me for a full year today and I’ll give you 2 months free…” This is a smart approach. Anything that helps you get money up-front is a good thing because it’s money you can absolutely bank on. Future potential earnings are not set in stone. And the more money you have in potential bookings the harder it is to plan. Read More about So You Want to Be a “SaaS-y” Founder?

5 Tips for Maintaining Vision in the Day-to-Day

Editor’s Note: Ben Yoskovitz is one of our favorite contributors. Today he offers a nice post at his Instigator Blog about vision, and how to keep “the big picture” in focus while struggling through the minutiae of “moving the ball forward” on a daily basis. Ben’s whole post is here, Keeping a 20,000 Foot View One Day at a Time, but here are his takeaways.

It’s definitely easy to lose sight of the 20,000 foot strategic goals and vision when battling daily issues. What’s worse, is how easy it becomes to change strategies quickly when you lose sight of what you were originally setting out to do. Strategies, goals and visions will change. There’s no doubt about that. But it strikes me how easy it is to change gears too quickly because of factors “on the ground” … without stepping back and taking an overall view of things.

On that front, here are [5] things I’ve been thinking about further … Read More about 5 Tips for Maintaining Vision in the Day-to-Day

DEMO Went Great, Then “All Hell” Broke Loose.

Our friend Ben Yoskovitz, whose launch at DEMO we followed here (Presenting at DEMO: 12 Do’s. 5 Don’ts) and on GigaOM (Standout Jobs Aims to Engage), has now written a great post on what happened after his big splash at his Instigator Blog.

Ben writes: “We generated plenty of buzz, brought in some great customers and the product held up to the initial onslaught of traffic, users and feedback. And for about 1 day I felt like everything was under control. Oops…the honeymoon ended pretty darn quickly.

Trouble is, Ben explains, at pre-launch you’re focused like a laser on one all-encompassing thing. Once you hit the green light, “you’ll be running on even more paths than before.” The The post, Launching a Startup is Barely Step One, has great details, but we’ll share Ben’s 5 summary tips on how to deal with life post-launch — when “all hell breaks loose”! Read More about DEMO Went Great, Then “All Hell” Broke Loose.

A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs

Editor’s Note: Founder Aruni Gunasegaram has written about the virtues of ignoring “the experts” , things no one tells you about VCs, and her preparations for “shaking the can” for her current startup, BabbleSoft, in My Funding Toolkit. On her blog today, Aruni shares some insights from her funding experience. We offer the highlights.

Several readers asked me to write my experience raising funds from angels and VCs for my first entrepreneurial endeavor. We raised about $15 million of which $3.5 million was from angels or what I would call boutique VC firms (i.e. a group of angels under one investment roof). Keep in mind that was all before the bubble burst back in 2001. Here are some of my observations based on my experience and from stories I’ve heard from other entrepreneurs. Read More about A Founder’s Tale: Angels vs. VCs