jm + startups   30

Here’s Why Juicero’s Press is So Expensive – Bolt Blog
Our usual advice to hardware founders is to focus on getting a product to market to test the core assumptions on actual target customers, and then iterate. Instead, Juicero spent $120M over two years to build a complex supply chain and perfectly engineered product that is too expensive for their target demographic.

Imagine a world where Juicero raised only $10M and built a product subject to significant constraints. Maybe the Press wouldn’t be so perfectly engineered but it might have a fewer features and cost a fraction of the original $699. Or maybe with a more iterative approach, they would have quickly found that customers vary greatly in their juice consumption patterns, and would have chosen a per-pack pricing model rather than one-size-fits-all $35/week subscription. Suddenly Juicero is incredibly compelling as a product offering, at least to this consumer.
juicero  design  electronics  hardware  products  startups  engineering  teardowns 
8 weeks ago by jm
Bidding Website Rentberry May Be the Startup of Your Nightmares
omg this is horrible, grim-meathook-future stuff.
A landlord lists a rental space and potential tenants bid against one another to claim the lease. Tenants’ personal information is available to the landlord. The landlord then makes their final decision by weighing what the best offer is along with which bidder seems like they’d be the best tenant
grim-meathook-future  horror  renting  rent  tenancy  rentberry  libertarian  homes  startups 
11 weeks ago by jm
Commentary: The ‘Irish’ Startup Attribution Problem
Why don't Irish tech startup activity show up on a EU-wide comparisons? Turns out we tend to transition to a US-based model, with US-based management and EU-based operations and engineering, like $work does:
Successful Irish tech companies have a skewed geographic profile. This presents a data gathering problem for the data companies but its also a strong indicator of the market reality for Irish startups. The size of the local market and a focus on software business in particular means many Irish startups are transitioning to the US (some earlier and with more commitment than others), and getting backed by a spectrum of local and international VCs.


Correcting for this put Ireland's tech venture investment in the second half of 2014 at $125m, midway between Sweden and Finland, 8th in Europe overall.
ireland  tech  startups  investment  vc  europe  eu 
december 2016 by jm
How Fucked Up is Your Management?
Oh dear.
Score 1 “My management culture is fucked up” point for each of the following:

We have an unlimited vacation policy;

We don’t do regular 1:1s, but we have open office hours/are super available if anyone wants to chat;

We don’t have a process for interviewing, we just hire awesome people when we meet them;

We super care about diversity, but we don’t want to lower the bar so we just hire the best person for the job even if it means diversity suffers;

We don’t have defined levels and career paths for our employees, we’re a really flat org;

We don’t have formal managers for every staff member, everyone just gets their work done;

We don’t have, like, HR HR, but our recruiter/office manager/only female employee is super good if you want someone to talk to;

We don’t do performance improvement plans for employees that are struggling. We just have a super honest conversation about how they aren’t a good fit and fire them;

We would have some hard explaining to do if our salary list accidentally became public.
startups  management  culture  work  vacation  hiring  office-hours  managers  diversity  careers  hr 
october 2016 by jm
What's Actually Wrong with Yahoo's Purchase of Summly
An old post about Y!'s acquisition of Summly, an iPhone app which uses NLP to summarise news stories. This is an excellent point about modern tech startups:
[Summly] licensed the core engine from another company. They are the quintessential bolt-on engineers, taking a Japanese bike engine, slapping together a badly constructed frame aligned solely by eyeballs, and laying down a marketing blitz. That's why the story sells. "You, too, can do it." But do you want to? [...] it's critical to keep tabs on the ratio known as "glue versus thought." Sure, both imply progress and both are necessary. But the former is eminently mundane, replaceable, and outsource-able. The latter is typically what gives a company its edge, what is generally regarded as a competitive advantage. So, what is Yahoo signaling to the world? "We value glue more than thought."
glue  thought  glue-vs-thought  summly  yahoo  acquisitions  licensing  tech  startups  outsourcing  open-source 
june 2016 by jm
When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie
HubSpot’s CEO and co-founder, Brian Halligan, explained to the New York Times that this age imbalance was not something he wanted to remedy, but in fact something he had actively cultivated. HubSpot was “trying to build a culture specifically to attract and retain Gen Y’ers,” because, “in the tech world, gray hair and experience are really overrated,” Halligan said. 

I gasped when I read that. Could anyone really believe this? Even if you did believe this, what CEO would be foolish enough to say it out loud? It was akin to claiming that you prefer to hire Christians, or heterosexuals, or white people. I assumed an uproar would follow. As it turned out, nobody at HubSpot saw this as a problem. Halligan didn’t apologize for his comments or try to walk them back. The lesson I learned is that when it comes to race and gender bias, the people running Silicon Valley at least pay lip service to wanting to do better — but with age discrimination they don’t even bother to lie. 
hiring  startups  tech  ageism  age  hubspot  gen-y  discrimination 
april 2016 by jm
Tim O'Reilly vs Paul Graham: fight!
'In his essay on Income Inequality, Paul Graham credited me for pre-publication feedback. Because he didn’t do much with my comments, I thought I’d publish them here.'

... 'Mostly, I think you are picking a fight with people who would mostly agree with you, and ignoring the real arguments about what inequality means and why it matters.'
inequality  silicon-valley  tech  paul-graham  tim-oreilly  piketty  politics  economics  wealth  startups  history  work  stock-options 
january 2016 by jm
The Open Guide To Equity Compensation
A very US-oriented, but still useful, reference for all the aspects of stock options, RSUs, and other forms of equity compensation
equity  startups  money  pay  salary  rsus  stock-options  stock 
january 2016 by jm
RentTheRunway's Engineering Ladder
One of the best things about working at Amazon was having a clear, well-defined career progression, and it's something that's always been absent in startups. Career growth, levelling, and tech management is important, and also helps in hiring by providing clear levels. This is the RentTheRunway engineering ladder, Camille Fournier's team, which they open sourced back in March 2015
engineering  hiring  management  career  renttherunway  camille-fournier  amazon  startups  career-growth  levelling  ladder 
october 2015 by jm
What the hell is going on with SoundCloud?
tl;dr: major labels.
Despite having revenue coming in from ads and subscriptions, SoundCloud still relies on outside investment. While the company received $150 million in a funding round at the end of last year, it pales next to the reported $526 million Spotify gained in June, and if one report is to be believed, SoundCloud is running very low on cash. Furthermore, sources suggest that potential investors are waiting to see what happens with Sony and Universal before ploughing in more money. With the high sums reported to be involved, it’s a stalemate that could potentially break the company whether it decides to pay or not.
soundcloud  music  mp3  copyright  sony  universal  spotify  funding  startups 
august 2015 by jm
The Travis CI Blog: Making Travis CI a Family-Friendly Place to Work: Our Maternity and Paternity Leave for US Employees
This is excellent -- I wish more companies took this attitude. Applause for Travis CI.
after a couple of weeks of research, we made a decision to offer our expectant mothers AND fathers:

2 weeks before the due date paid at 100% (optional, but recommended);
20 weeks for normal births paid at 100%;
24 weeks for births with complications paid at 100%;
Flexible working hours after the 20/24 weeks are complete (part-time arrangements can be made);
Your job will be here for you when you return.

When we relayed this information to the two US employees, one became a little teary because her last employer (a much bigger and older company), didn't offer anything. This being her second child, it was a huge relief to know she was going to have paid time off with flexibility upon return. While it was a great reaction, it shouldn't happen this way. If you value your employees, you should value their need for time away. At the same time, if you want to hire someone, whether or not they are already pregnant should be irrelevant.


Well exceeding even the Irish maternity leave entitlements, since it covers fathers too. And this is a startup!
travisci  startups  work  life  family  kids  paternity-leave  maternity-leave 
august 2015 by jm
8,000 sq ft start-up meeting space revealed for Dublin
Neat. this is a good location for post-work user-group meetups and the like (via Oisin)
via:oisin  meetups  meetings  ulster-bank  dublin  startups  chq 
august 2015 by jm
Internet of 404's
"An archive of the former Internet of Things"
archive  iot  things  internet  nabaztag  startups  acquisitions  tumblr  gadgets  history 
may 2015 by jm
Makerbot’s Saddest Hour | TechCrunch
I’ve been speaking to a few people [at Makerbot] who prefer to remain anonymous and most of my contacts there are gone (the head of PR was apparently fired) and don’t want to talk. But the new from inside is troubling. The mass-layoffs are blamed on low revenue and one former employee wrote “Company was failing. Couldn’t pay vendors, had to downsize.” Do I think Makerbot will sink? At this point I don’t know.
makerbot  3d-printing  startups  downsizing  layoffs  ouch 
april 2015 by jm
Foreign Founders Should Look Beyond Silicon Valley | TechCrunch
'Reasons abound for international entrepreneurs and top technical talent to stay away from Silicon Valley and build their startup somewhere else.'

Strongly agreed. This factoid is particularly nuts:

'As Balaji Srinivasan of a16z has observed, roughly 50%+ of the capital allocated for early stage tech investments is actually flowing into Bay Area real estate, directly through office rentals and indirectly via home rentals as a primary driver of skyrocketing salaries.'
salary  bay-area  silicon-valley  usa  tech  jobs  work  real-estate  rent  startups  techcrunch 
january 2015 by jm
Startup equity gotcha
'Two months ago, an early Uber employee thought that he had found a buyer for his vested stock, at $200 per share. But when his agent tried to seal the deal, Uber refused to sign off on the transfer. Instead, it offered to buy back the shares for around $135 a piece, which is within the same price range that Google Ventures and TPG Capital had paid to invest in Uber the previous July. Take it or hold it.'

As rbranson on Twitter put it: 'reminder that startup equity is basically worthless unless you're a founder or investor, OR the company goes public.'
startups  uber  stock  stock-options  shares  share-option  equity  via:rbranson  work 
june 2014 by jm
BiteLabs
'EAT CELEBRITY MEAT! BiteLabs grows meat from celebrity tissue samples and uses it to make artisanal salami.'

Genius. (via John Looney)
via:john-looney  meat  startups  food  funny  salami  tissue-samples  celebrity  jennifer-lawrence 
february 2014 by jm
Sift Science says it can sniff out cyber fraud — before it gets expensive
Great idea for a startup. This stuff is complex, right in the heart of every company's ordering pipeline, and I can see a lot of customers for this
sift-science  anti-fraud  fraud  b2b  b2c  ecommerce  startups  aws 
march 2013 by jm
OscarGodson.js | What I Learned At Yammer
some pretty interesting lessons, it turns out: a 'take what you need' vacation policy means nobody takes vacations (unsurprising); Yammer actively work to avoid employee burnout (good idea); Yammer A/B test every feature; and Yammer mgmt try to let their devs work autonomously.
yammer  startups  testing  analytics  culture  work 
march 2013 by jm
Don’t waste your time in crappy startup jobs
7 reasons why working for a startup sucks. Been there, done that -- I wish I'd read this years ago. It should be permalinked at the top of Hacker News.

"In 1995, a lot of talented young people went into large corporations because they saw no other option in the private sector– when, in fact, there were credible alternatives, startups being a great option. In 2012, a lot of young talent is going into startups for the same reason: a belief that it’s the only legitimate work opportunity for top talent, and that their careers are likely to stagnate if they work in more established businesses. They’re wrong, I think, and this mistaken belief allows them to be taken advantage of.

The typical equity offer for a software engineer is dismally short of what he’s giving up in terms of reduced salary, and the career path offered by startups is not always what it’s made out to be. For all this, I don’t intend to argue that people shouldn’t join startups. If the offer’s good, and the job looks interesting, it’s worth trying out. I just don’t think that the current, unconditional “startups are awesome!” mentality serves us well. It’s not good for any of us, because there’s no tyrant worse than a peer selling himself short, and right now there are a lot of great people selling themselves very short for a shot at the “startup experience” -- whatever that is."
startups  work  job  life  career  tech  vc  companies  pay  stock  share-options 
july 2012 by jm
echolibre & Orchestra
'In particular, we want to thank the Irish and Dublin web communities. I've met other web communities in Europe and in the USA, and I can say, hand on heart, they don't have a patch on you guys.' awww ;) Congrats, guys
echolibre  php  web  startups  ireland  paas  orchestra.io  engine-yard 
august 2011 by jm
an ex-Skype employee dishes the dirt on their buyout and acquisition
some incredible stories -- pretty mind-boggling stuff, I'm amazed people stuck around
skype  startups  legal  share-options  shares  economics 
june 2011 by jm
Dublin - Europe’s Next Startup Petri Dish? - NYTimes.com
'Ireland’s tech scene continues to expand in spite of the woeful state of the rest of the economy with a plethora of accelerator programs, seed funds and events like Founders and the IBM smartcamp global finals happening there in the last year or two. '
ireland  tech  software  startups  from delicious
april 2011 by jm
First logging-as-a-service tool for the cloud wins NovaUCD award - siliconrepublic.com
first, eh? not sure about that. still, good going for Irish startup JLizard, logging in the cloud seems to be hot
logging  metrics  analysis  cloud  ireland  startups  novaucd  from delicious
november 2010 by jm
Why We Need To Abolish Software Patents
'Pam Samuelson, one of the co-authors of the report, says that her conclusion from the research is that the world may be better off without software patents; that the biggest beneficiaries of software patents are patent lawyers and patent trolls, not entrepreneurs.' no shit, Sherlock
ip  patents  techcrunch  startups  swpats  via:brian-caulfield  software  from delicious
august 2010 by jm

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