Meet Investors, Line up Customers, and Help Others – A Guide to Startup Meetups

I had the privilege of sitting down with my friend Sanjay Parekh (from Startup Riot) to discuss how to get the most of startup events. In this interview we talk about how Sanjay went from being an introvert, to a networking machine. Sanjay discusses how he was able to get his first customer (because of an event for entrepreneurs), how he got press for his startup, and built connections with investors. You can read the highlights below the video.

Guidelines to being a good attendee:

If you see someone at all the events, chances are they don’t have anything of value.

1. Know what people are working on. This lets you figure out how you might be able to help them…

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Watch what they do, not what they say

Before starting Digital Intent, my two partners and I were trying to build an “e-Harmony for jobs” at a startup in town. We put a beta put together in six weeks which allowed candidates to complete a profile and be matched with employers using an algorithm combining education, experience and skills, as well as a proprietary competency and culture model.

In our customer development interviews, employers told us that culture fit was at least as important, if not more important, than someone’s skillset and experience. This went against our initial hypotheses and our gut was screaming that this was wrong, but the feedback was consistent and overwhelming.

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TSF is looking for guest authors to help out

I’m looking to roll out some new features (better submission process for startups, iterating on our theme, improving site load time, laying down a framework that will allow us to grow more easily in the future, etc…) on TSF and I’m looking for some help from the community. I would love to be able to just focus on code for a few days and publish some quality content from our readers.

All of our guest posts would include a 2-3 sentence intro of the author, along with a link to their URL of choice (startup, personal, etc).

How do I submit an article?

The best way to submit your article is to share it with me in a Google Doc ( Please also state that the article is yours, and you give full permission for me to publish it on TSF.

Thanks for your support and I look forward to hearing from you!

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A Look Forward from 1999: Turning Google into a $2 Trillion Company

This is a guest post written by Abie Katz.

The following is heavily inspired by Charlie Munger’s talk, Turning $2 Million into $2 Trillion, he is undoubtedly one of the greatest thinkers of our time.

It is early 1999 in Palo Alto and your two friends Larry and Sergey are complaining to you how they want to go back to conducting academic research but this new project of theirs, Google, is taking up a lot of their time. They sound enthusiastic that they might be able to make half a million dollars each and improve the search results for the potential acquirer but more than anything, they don’t want to be bothered with having to run a company.

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Why You Don’t Need a Startup Genie

Let’s pretend you hit the startup lottery and Paul Graham wants to help you with your startup. Here’s the catch: Paul tells you that he will only do one thing to help startup succeed. For the purpose of this exercise think of Paul as a magical startup genie. What would you have him do?

Perhaps you need help with your sales funnel. Or maybe you’re struggling with a high level strategy. Perchance your UI is riddled with Comic Sans and you’d like his artistic eye to help redesign the front end. Find a problem that (if solved) would increase your business 10x.

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The Netflix price increase, the “Startup Playbook”, and my own hypocrisy

Last week Netflix announced that they were increasing their prices in September. A very vocal customer base took to the internet to share its displeasure with the news. Some revolting customers even threatened to cancel their subscription unless the price increase was reversed. People were simply furious at Netflix.

“It’s ridiculous” I half-heartedly complained to a friend over lunch. “Netflix is essentially removing features and then making me pay to get them back. This whole pricing fiasco feels like they are just running an experiment on us”.

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Art vs Product: The creativity motivation spectrum

Left, Zuerst die Füsse, a work of art. Center, Apple's iPhone 4, a artful product. Right, Monavie, an Acai juice MLM scheme.

Right now I’m in a weird state of my career development. I’m not riding a rocket of momentum as I have in past ventures, but instead am finding myself evaluating opportunities and work with a more measured approach. I’ve got an idea of what I’d like to do for my next startup, specifically dealing with video production, but I don’t think the ecosystem is ready. That means I’m taking some time to be an artist, rather than a producer.

Artist and Producer are two terms I’ve thought of in my head to describe a spectrum of motivation. Artists create because they have to— meaning they have some idea in their soul which they have to get out and show the world. Producers (product people), on the other hand, create something they think the world wants to have right now.

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Open forum: Who are you, anyway?

So Paul is out for a few days… the guy just made the big leap and got married. Rather than leave this space blank, I’m going to step in to rock the mic.

Just out of curiosity sake, I’d love it if you’d jump in the comments of this post and leave a comment with who you are, what you’re working on, why you read The Startup Foundry, and any other info you think we should know. We know you’re out there, so we might as well start talking one-to-another.

I’ll go first… check the comments.

Hopelessly perfect: Why it’s smart to work at a no-shot startup

Think about the promise of the Valley. Rampant hiring. Early-stage capital freely flowing to countless companies. Catered lunches and dinners. Worthy engineers treated like royalty (or worse, ninja / pirate / rockstars).

While some companies do fit the Valley pipe-dream, we think there are many more startups who don’t have a shot at VCs, the top engineers in the world, or an ice cube’s chance in Hell at realizing those paper stock options. And guess what: We think it’s still a smart idea to work with them. We call them the no-shot startup, and it can be an invaluable experience, just as long as you know what to expect and when to quit.

Hopeful startups

The startup lifestyle happened a bit backward for me. I accidentally worked for a successful and notable startup first, then started loving the startup lifestyle a few years later.

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Location with brains: LocalMind

LocalMind isn’t just another local check-in app. LocalMind is going to change the way you discover information around you. Trying to figure out if there is a long wait at a restaurant? Use LocalMind. Want to know what beer is on tap at a pub? Use LocalMind. If LocalMind can gain mass market appeal, it will be an app I use at least once a day.

I sat down with a co-founder of LocalMind, Lenny Rachitsky for a quick 20 minute interview. We talk about what LocalMind is, why they aren’t just another location based checkin-service, and how they hustled an interview with Robert Scoble at SXSW.

Lenny’s blog post that he mentioned. Be sure to checkout LocalMind.

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