Instagram And Intuit Founders Discuss Lean Startups, Pivots, And What Makes A Product Successful | TechCrunch
Today at TechCrunch Disrupt, Founder of Intuit Scott Cook, writer and former CTO at IMVU Eric Ries, and Instagram Co-founder Kevin Systrom gathered to discuss concepts from Ries’ new book, The Lean Startup.
See on techcrunch.com
This Brave Soul Moved To Silicon Valley From Atlanta To Kill Pinterest—And Just Needs A DeveloperSee on Scoop.it - Atlanta Lean Startup
Atlanta web entrepreneurs are moving west to find talent…not really a surprise given the lack of access to capital and the general culture.
See on businessinsider.com
It has started…now let’s focus
When you have a long way to go there is a tendency to chase instead of lead. It’s natural to want to copy, duplicate and repeat what has worked in Silicon Valley and San Fran, but usually chasing is out of desperation…rather than leadership.
Atlanta’s ecosystem is just too far removed from those guys. Our tech startup roots are too nascent and shallow. Our largest and greatest technology asset, the ATDC, only recently started helping the general high tech startup population as a core service (2 years ago?). Any taste of Mindspring success has long been washed down before it could be passed on.
I have never been fond of chasing. For the simple reason that ‘they’ are always head of you. That sucks and makes it depressing to even start the battle. No “world beater” goes into something that they can never win. They look to change the conversation to something they can.
Chasing has never gotten us anywhere. Atlanta was late to the internet bubble in 2000 but just in time for it to burst. We took no advantages and all of the heart break. Investment went from the billions to a couple hundred millions (yes those are real numbers according to TAG) Rather than chasing Silicon Valley lets dispense with comparison. It hasn’t done girls any benefit to “chase” photoshopped super models and I don’t think it’s going to help Atlanta. We have to be our own woman…ummm man or whatever.
Who wants to invest in a new company called “facenovel” that does everything exactly the same as Facebook just always after it. Hopefully no one. Who wants to invest in a social network that connects friends and shares feeds, but around photography. Hopefully you do because they already sold for a Billion dollars. Instagram wasn’t chasing…it was drafting and drafting I like.
These guys have drafted well.
Drafting is all about taking advantage of the person in front of you. A symbiotic relationship, simultaneously serving and being feed. We need both.
Some thoughts around drafting…to draft you need to be close. The further you are away from your partner the less the benefit that you will receive. You need to be moving forward. Drafting is different than pulling and dead weight gets dropped quick. You need to have a similar speed to your efforts and you need to have a partner(s). The more you have the easier it is on everyone in the chain.
These are all important for Atlanta. The Atlanta Sprawl affects our ability to create a cohesive pack culture, the lack of early stage risk capital leaves our speedometer pinned to the ground, articles about Southern tech culture seem to illustrate that their are really two different pelotons and even a self-defeating attitude of malaise in the tech ecosystem that hints at startups being full of dead weight, instead of bright talent. The good news is that our ability to draft isn’t affected by each and every factor (though optimal performance is).
Some things are changing though. The ATDC has taken on a massive effort to rebuild it’s educational/mentoring structure and feedback has been resoundingly positive. ATL startups have begun to talk the same language about startups (thanks to Flashpoint, TiE Atlanta, Lean Startup, ATL UX group and others) But we are moving slow, missing opportunities and focusing on the wrong issues. Basically, we are showing signs of drafting, but we are trying to do it uphill…and drafting uphill just doesn’t feel the same.
So how do we get to flat ground?
Before I give it up, let me give a little back story.
Before I was into software companies, I played professional sports, soccer. It was a lifetime commitment from the age of 5 years old. I wasn’t always good. As a matter of fact, I was pretty bad. I didn’t have the skill that the other kids had as I reached my teen years, but what I lacked in skill, I made up for in persistence and determination. I even had a coach tell me when I was 13 that I wasn’t good, but that I tried so hard he was willing to give me a chance. He had cut me the year before.
Fast forward 10 years and I was the first 1st team all america (soccer) in my schools history, a college all-star and headed to my first professional team… but it really isn’t that uncommon of a story. You see it at University sport programs, Olympic athlete bios and athletes everywhere. What is uncommon about the story is that they don’t really cover the main reason for why these stories turn around. They attribute it to amazing skill or hard work and perseverance. True those stories have those qualities but so do all the failures. I can’t tell you how many better players I passed in my rise. I can’t tell you how many players worked harder than I did. I worked my ass off, but the saying that someone is out there working 24 hours a day to beat you…its true. I have seen these guys, but that doesn’t mean they are going to make it. You still have to have talent, a supporting cast… and the ability to work smarter rather than harder.
Nope, there is another reason why someone or some program succeeds in athletics. It’s called mindshare and it’s exactly the same thing that Yahoo! just did by hiring Marissa Mayer from Google.
You don’t need to be the best to capture mindshare, but you need to capture mindshare to be the best. You need to build momentum, acquire attention, attract talent and let success breed success. The crazy part of this whole thing is that Atlanta is loaded with Entrepreneur mindshare…it’s just more on dirt than digits.
So we need to focus on what we are trying to capture… The great news is that it has started. Two examples are Hypepotamus and TechCrunch.
If you haven’t heard of Hypepotamus, it is a free, ‘living space’ for web startups, artists and journalists. What makes it so unique in the battle for mindshare is that there is no business model. No rent, no grand scheme other than unifying, recording and broadcasting all that Atlanta is doing in the web-tech community. This is a bonified ‘Holy shit’ moment for Atlanta web-tech. This isn’t corporate space with office hours. This is wide open community space with a walk up and share stuff attitude. It is everything that we haven’t had and if you haven’t seen it, you should get out of your chair and go to the biltmore to meet someone there…anyone.
As for TechCrunch, people have already written about it. What’s important is how we leverage that moving forward. How are we helping others get covered by them. How are we spreading the word and how does that change mindshare around Atlanta’s web-tech scene.
Anyone want to use our successes to create more success? Anyone want to join the web-tech peloton to capture mindshare?
These are just opinions so let’s meetup and discuss…
These are my opinions, Pete Santora, cofounder Blue Sombrero (acquired by Dick’s Sporting Goods), cofounder of ThundrLizard.