Tag Archives: startups

How the English Premiership is Like Building a Business

Man City Victory (Image: IvanYee)

This analogy is about soccer. The value of a good analogy can be to find fresh perspectives and see things we're used to looking at in a whole new light. Since the news here is still awash with Manchester City's victory I thought it was ripe for a good analogy. Most professional sports could be seen as a microcosm of the wider business world, but for this case we'll concentrate on football.

Manchester City won their first Premiership title in 44 years. 'It's amazing what you can do with just over £1billion', say the more cynically minded. But you can't escape the obvious, for any company resources can make the difference. These clubs are companies, they compete for the premier league and other cup titles, but they also compete in the lucrative Asian and global markets for fans to sell merchandise to and for pay per view sports income. The better their football, the bigger their potential revenue.

As in any sector, that wealth of resources still needs to be well managed otherwise you'll come up short against more experienced opposition.

That One Thing That Made All the Difference

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Web News Round Up – 28th April

Skynet (Image: xkcd.com)

In this week's SelfAssemblySites Web News Round Up: Charts detailing Apples monster second quarter earnings, LinkedIn's impressively different new iPad app, the NYC startup that's building stories from the social media noise, and the story of how one man beat a patent troll.

Gopogo Screenshot

Apple's Latest Ferocious Quarter in 4 Simple Charts

Apple's second quarter earnings are out and they made pretty impressive reading. The world's biggest public corporation were just short of doubling profit from this quarter in 2011, to $11.6bn. The most remarkable insight was that Apple could have stopped selling everything on January 4th and still made more profit than Facebook for the entire quarter, scary stuff. Read the article and view the charts.

Gopogo Let's You Create, Share & Discover Location Based Stories

With so much social sharing going on, much of it just gets lost in the noise. NYC startup Gopogo are addressing this problem, with a geo-location platform for recording, sharing and discovering connected experiences. So a user might walk around a city visiting art galleries, cafes and other places of interest and create "Strings" which tell the story of their day through geo-tagged chronology, with photos, videos, and commentary. They can discover the experiences of others, by location, theme, or areas of interest. Read the article.

LinkedIn's Surprisingly Slick New iPad App

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Web News Round Up – 17th Feb

"More Accurate" Property of Xkcd.com

 

Apple App Store Logo

App Economy Creates Nearly 500k Jobs in US: Before the iPhone there was no app industry, but with the meteoric expansion of it and rival devices, the sector now employs in the region of half a million people in the United States alone.

Flexible Screens Have Arrived: C3Nano, a company that makes transparent, flexible screens has secured a round of funding worth $6.7, and is building relationships in Japan and Korea with giants such as Samsung. The technology boasts it's robust and cost effective. (Includes demo video)

StartUp May Save Businesses Fortunes in Legal Costs: Technology has limited, changed or destroyed many long established industries, now it might be the turn of the legal professions to take a battering, having to compete with technological solutions to some of its core business practices.

The World's Smallest 3D Printer (Video): What could you do with the world’s smallest 3D printer? At TEDxVienna Klaus Stadlmann demos his tiny, affordable printer that could someday make customized hearing aids or sculptures smaller than a human hair.

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Upstart vs Startup: What’s The Difference?

'Upstart Business' is a phrase that seems to be creeping into the journalistic language used on tech and entrepreneurial blogs in the US. The first time I heard it I thought the writer was simply playing with the normal term 'startup' to be witty and focus on a particularly ballsy and inspiring effort of a young entrepreneur. Then a week or two later I read it again elsewhere. This got me thinking: Was 'upstart' just a meme that one clever writer used once and then suddenly caught on with the blogging fraternity or is it now a well known and accepted term? More to the point does its origin matter and is it more important to ask which is better?

Googling the term, you get a myriad of results. Many are for business or consultancy related groups and services that use the 'upstart' interchangeably with 'startup'.

The online dictionary definitions which appear are all similar to this one:

n. A person of humble origin who attains sudden wealth, power, or importance, especially one made immodest or presumptuous by the change; a parvenu.

adj. 1. Suddenly raised to a position of consequence.
2. Self-important; presumptuous.

Reading between the lines in the tech blogs it appears that the difference is this; 'Startups' are entrepreneurial businesses that begin with external funding from venture capital from their inception. However, 'Upstart' businesses begin without significant external funding, just savings and personal loans from friends and family and usually the founders maintain all equity. This is in keeping with the upstart definition, springing from humble origins to wealth, rather than having lots of cash to play with before you have a customer.

A Big Upstart

Felix Dennis, Author of How to Get Rich (Image: BBC)

Felix Dennis, Author of How to Get Rich (Image: BBC)

Felix Dennis, author of the refreshingly direct, 'How to Get Rich', is very much in the upstart mould and believes a business owner should do everything in their power to hold on to the most equity possible. Each percentage of equity you manage to own, could be worth millions when you eventually sell your business. In one chapter he describes how two important employees at his magazine demanded a small share of the business or they'd start a rival publication.

He instantly called their bluff, fired them and wished them well in their new venture. Within a few years their business was bust and they were back working for him, no hard feelings. When he sold up and moved on, that tiny percentage they had demanded was worth millions; his baby, his millions. Dennis put it in uncompromising terms:

Talent is indispensable, although it is always replaceable.

Just remember the simple rules concerning talent:

Identify It, Hire It, Nurture It, Reward It, Protect It. And when the time comes, Fire It.

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Friday Shorts 13th Jan

Duty Calls

"Duty Calls" from Xkcd

 

ReCatcha

How ReCaptcha Works

6 Startups to Watch in 2012: Mashables pick out 6 bright young things of the startup world for our insight and pleasure. Most insightful of all however is to see which directions they think technology and its adoption is moving.

Google Integrates Google+ with Search Results: Google takes another step in personalising your search results with information from your Google+ account, customising your experience of the web one step further.

Harness Water to Power Your Smartphone: Swedish company myFC have devised a two-in-one device that consists of both a fuel cell battery pack and replaceable fuel cell cartridges which will charge smartphones, cameras and other such devices.

Luis Van Ahn's Large Scale Human Online Collaboration: After re-purposing CAPTCHA so each human-typed response helps digitize books, Luis von Ahn wondered how else to use small contributions by many on the Internet for greater good. At TEDxCMU, he shares how his ambitious new project, Duolingo, will help millions learn a new language while translating the Web quickly and accurately and all for free.

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