Startups: Cut the Wheat from the Chaff on Quora

Let’s face it: with the amount of information we get on a daily basis through browsing and reading news, RSS, Twitter, Facebook and other sources, it’s becoming increasingly harder to cut the wheat from the chaff.  After using Quora for a few months, I’ve found it a very helpful source of information on anything startup related: from technology, to strategy and even gossip, if that’s what you’re after.

I wanted to share some of the questions I’ve found particularly useful for startups:

What SaaS products are on the startup’s toolchain in 2010?

Short answer:

  • Chargify – recurring payments
  • Github – version control
  • Lighthouse – bug tracking
  • Tender – customer support
  • Google Apps – email, calendar, mailing lists
  • Basecamp – project management
  • Campfire – code-aware chat
  • PBwiki – knowledge base
  • Mixpanel – analytics
  • Google Analytics – more analytics
  • SendGrid – email delivery
  • Braintree – payment system
  • Twilio – hosted voice and sms
  • Highrise – CRM
  • Chatterous is a tool that allows you to set up group chats that integrate with gtalk
  • uTest – crowd sourced testing
  • verifyapp – feature feeback
  • fivesecondtest – mocks
  • uservoice – customer feedback
  • http://dropbox.com – storage
  • http://zendesk.com – support
  • http://batchbook.com – crm
  • http://zferral.com – affiliate and referral programs (my company)
  • http://statsmix.com – analytics dashboard
  • http://mailchimp.com – email
  • http://snapengage.com – proactive customer chat
  • http://markup.io – screenshots (free)
  • http://cheddargetter.com (billing)
  • http://recurly.com (billing)
  • http://spreedly.com (billing)
  • Adobe Connect – for online meetings / webcasts
  • http://outright.com/ – simple accounting
  • QuickBooks Online – more complex accounting
  • http://freshbooks.com/ – invoicing
  • http://billingmanager.intuit.com/ – a free alternative to FreshBooks
  • http://xpenser.com/ – shameless plug, time and expense tracking
  • What is the most effective way to get the word out about a new product?

    Short answer:

    Start building your community from day one, and put a real emphasis on building it offline. Surround yourself with people that either fit your user profile, or are actively involved in the industry you’re about to enter. Attend networking events, trade shows, participate on blogs, @ people on Twitter and hit people up on LinkedIN offering to shout them coffee’s in return for their time. 
    Then when you’ve formed your tribe get them involved – link them up in a Facebook or Google Group, or run a meet-up that they can come along too and build the product around their needs; create a sense of ownership and excitement about the product. 
    You can then give your most passionate advocates an informal role, or ask them to join a non-exec board, or if they can really open doors give them equity. Then look after your little group, keep them updated, share cool stuff, surprise them and repay the favour by showing equal enthusiasm for their projects and ideas

    How do bootstrapped companies hire talent?

    Short answer:

    we posted in Craigslist for “Founding Engineers” when we were starting and couldn’t pay salaries.  Instead of a 20% option pool, we created a 40% option pool, and gave out half of it to the first half-dozen hires who came on and were willing to work without salary for a period of time, forming the core team

     How much should it cost for a bootstrapped, lean startup to incorporate (or form an LLC)?

    Short answer:

    Actually, incorporation is important and it’s worth paying a good lawyer to do it right. There are things here you can get wrong (including important tax filings) that it’s a big pain to fix, or that can’t be fixed and will cost you potentially a lot of money.
    Even the best lawyers in the Valley will charge only a few thousand for this, and you can often get them to defer fees until your seed round.
    Incidentally, the advice I’ve heard is *not* to form an LLC. You’re probably going to want a C-corp. Again, a good lawyer can advise you on this and get it right from the beginning. See also http://www.startupcompanylawyer.com

    What would the ideal web technology start-up team be comprised of?

    Short answer:

    Assuming 6 people
    1. 5 engineers
    2. 1 CEO who doubles as head of product management
    3. Nothing else

    What companies are the best examples of great corporate culture?

    Short answer:

    How do startup founders know when to quit, stick or pivot?

    Short answer:

     You quit when you can’t find any customers, you stick when all signs point upward and you pivot when your customers keep asking you too.

    ***

    This list could go on forever, and I think you get the point. Quora has a deep and wide range of information. All you have to do is sign up, follow the topics you are passionate about and the people you can learn from and start learning.

    Eze Vidra
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    Eze Vidra

    Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
    Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
    Eze Vidra
    Follow me

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    Eze Vidra

    Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.

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