As 2012 comes to an end, I thought I’d put together a ‘best of’ list of VC Cafe’s stories throughout the year. The ecosystem for startups really grew in 2012. There’s more advice online then ever, the number of accelerator programs seems growing on a monthly basis and the blogosphere talked about a new bubble and a series A crunch on the same week. It seems like 2012 was the year of throwing spaghetti on the wall by founders and investors alike, in the hopes that some of it would stick. It was nevertheless, an extremely productive year, packed with content and news.
The top 10 VC Cafe blog posts in 2012
- The psychology of online influence for startups - Prof Robert Cialdini’s “The Science of Persuasion“ lists the six basic tendencies of human behavior that come into play in generating a positive response: reciprocation, consistency, social validation, liking, authority and scarcity. How do they apply to startups?
- Doing something I love – my appointment as the Head of Campus London was definitely one of my personal highlights this year, and in this post I’ve shared a few tips that have helped me adjust and keep clarity of mind. Doing something I love also brought some industry recognition, including an entry to the Evening Standard’s London top 1000 influential people in 2012 and TechCity Insider’s top 100 list.
- Inspire and invest in our innovators - “The UK has everything it needs to build great startups” article on UK startups was also published in The Times newspaper.
- Open source legal documents for startups - a summary of some of the better ‘open source’ legal docs out there – it’s certainly not a replacement for a lawyer – but it will help you get a leg up to see the documents and understand them before you actually sign the dotted line.
- Startup equity crowdfunding grows in Europe - A summary’s of ”The Venture Crowd“, a NESTA report on crowdfunding as an investment tool. In 2011 alone, European startups raised over $1.5 billion using crowdfunding.
- How to find technical co-founders online and in the real world – believe it or not, but finding a technical co-founder (or any co-founder really) is one of the main hurdles wannabe founders face when wanting to make their idea a reality. This post was written for the many founders who approached me with that question.
- Human engineering and emotional intelligence for startups - to build a successful product, startups need to really understand their users – what motivates them, how do they ‘work’, what do they respond to. This post is an adaptation of Dr Daniel Goleman’s theory of Emotional Intelligence and EQ to startups.
- Fundraising recommendations for startups (Part I) – also published in TechCrunch as What Startups Should Do Before They Get Into The VC’s Office, this post offers founders 10 tools for better pitching, branding and positioning their startups in the early stages.
- Introduction to Growth Hacking for Startups – while I was in Asia this summer, I became fascinated with the concept of “Growth Hacking”. I spent a few hours reading about it and summarized the basics in this post. Also published in the influential Singaporean tech blogs e27 and SGentrepreneurs.
- Learning Should Be Your Top 2013 New Year’s Resolution – also published in The Next Web, provides founders with a list of online education resources and e-learning courses to pick up vital skills in 2013.
- Bonus: “Stop the clones. Create a Purple Cow” – a post about the need for differentiation (“you’re either remarkable or invisible”) after seeing too many cookie-cutter copy-paste home pages and apps for startups. The ones you end up remembering are the original ones.
Top VC Cafe guest posts in 2012:
- HTML5 – will it ever live up to the hype? by Levi Shapiro – the technical and commercial challenges faced by HTML5 on its way for global adoption.
- Collaborative consumption creates new marketplaces - by Tiffany Stelman – ecommerce is going through a shift – from faceless transactions to a community consumption and relationship. Listing several examples of collaborative consumption, which later inspired me to create this talk on First Tuesday’s startup trends in 2013:
- How to win startup competitions - by Nitzan Yudan – startups need traction and winning an award or a startup competition are great ways to gain recognition. Nitzan shares his experience as the founder of Flat-Club.
Another personal highlight for me in 2012 was the great accomplishment of the London startup community. Together with 40 Techbikers, we cycled 320 km from Paris to London to raise $47,000 for Room to Read. The result of our adventure, was a new school, a library and a school-library (modified room) in Nepal, to help kids access education. I’m grateful to all the people who helped organize, the 20+ corporate sponsors, the 600+ donors and the thousands of social media supporters that helped us made this dream a reality.
2012 was an incredible year, but in 2013, I’m looking forward to more substance. I really like the idea of ‘reinventing everything’ through technology – from physical products such as watches becoming connected devices, or baby prams turning high-tech, even down to the way we learn, in the classroom and at home. In his WSJ article “Software is eating the world“, Marc Andreessen said:
My own theory is that we are in the middle of a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift in which software companies are poised to take over large swathes of the economy.
I totally agree. If this represents the hacker community sentiment, we’ll see more businesses and industries being disrupted (for the better) by software and tech in 2013. Have a healthy, happy and productive new year!