Lessons in Failure: The Startup Post-Mortem

If you’re looking for tips on what not to do with your startup, reading about the failure of someone else’s company can be a good place to start. Today, it was entrepreneur Ben Yoskovitz’s turn to write about the recent failure of his startup, Standout Jobs.

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.

Read More about A GigaOM Family Thanksgiving

Yoskovitz: Be a Data Hog, Make More Money!

Editor’s Note: our readers are familiar now with contributor Ben Yoskovitz’s work. (His company, Standout Jobs was just named one of Canada’s hottest startups. Congratulations, Ben!) This week, on his Instigator Blog, Ben offers a great treatise on how founders can leverage data collecting to make more money for their startups.

The pervading approach to launching a startup is to do it quickly, iterate constantly and make as much noise as possible throughout the process. It’s not a bad way of doing things, and given the lower cost of startup operations, and the nature of consumer web startups in particular, and it’s completely doable. But be careful if you’re not a data hog.

Getting your startup launched as quickly as possible is fine – but you should also spend a good chunk of time preparing to collect data. [Why? Because data is something you can leverage to make money, Ben explains below. ] This means building the necessary infrastructure into your system to collect, review and analyze the data generated by users, right from the start. Read More about Yoskovitz: Be a Data Hog, Make More Money!

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?

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.