Johnson Smith

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The Perils of Shiny New Objects

I have a saying that I employ as a powerful metaphor at every startup with whom I work — “beware of shiny new objects.”<p>It is one of the easiest …

WayTooEarly

I’m really pleased to announce First Round Capital’s investment in Abra, the first global peer to peer cash money transfer network using the …

Exponential Finance Conference

The mistake of 1/c in LTV calculations

<i>This is the third article in a series on novel ideas for SaaS metrics, which started with The unprofitable SaaS business model trap and COC: a new</i> …

How Cheap a Product Can You Have And Still Have Salespeople?

One question I struggled with a lot in the early days was what price points supported inside sales reps. It was clear to me that our freemium …

Life After 500 Startups: What My Company Learned from Being in an Accelerator

With all of the hype around startup accelerators these days, many early-stage founders wonder whether or not they should apply to programs like 500 …

Why Investors Don't Sign NDAs

There’s a popular misconception amongst first-time entrepreneurs that sharing an idea without signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) will lead to some version of The Social Network, where Mark Zuckerberg, played by Jesse Eisenberg, steals the Facebook idea and becomes a billionaire.<p>The mythology …

Is the New Gmail Killing E-mail Marketing?

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.<p>If you believe that you may have received this message in …

The 5 Values that Drive 500 Startups

In the last few months, 500 Startups has grown A LOT as a company. We’ve made good progress, but still have plenty of challenges to overcome and problems to solve. I never want us to rest on our laurels; We need to stay hungry, keep fire in our belly, and retain an overwhelming sense of urgency if …

How Google Ventures does rapid prototyping ‘design sprints’ with its 170 startups

How do you avoid the Duke Nukem Forever nightmare scenario of never shipping? Or how do you avoid shipping crap?<p>Those are two of the problems that Google Ventures companies face every day. So the $1.2 billion investment fund hired two designers to work with its 170 portfolio companies. And today …

What kinds of startups is 500 looking for?

<b>Functional product that solves a problem for a specific target customer:</b> You have at least some measurable usage, users, and revenue. You don't need …

I’m Moving You to BCC

After a few days of controversial blog posts I thought I’d try something more light hearted today.<p>Fred Wilson once wrote about the topic of how to …

Productivity

57 startup lessons

There are already very good lists of startup lessons written by really talented, experienced people (here and here). I’d like to add another one. I …

How to Convince Investors

<b>Want to start a startup?</b> Get funded by Y Combinator.<p>August 2013<p>When people hurt themselves lifting heavy things, it's usually because they try to …

Venture Capital

Seven dirty, gritty, real startup lessons that cost me $2 million

As CEO and founder of a company that makes an app that helps people apply to jobs from their mobile phones, I am happy to report that we’ve sucked a …