Posted at 1:34h, 01 Oct 2013 in List Archive by Bonnie Halper No Comments 135 Likes Share

Good morning, All,

Everyone loves listicles, and we recently came across an article about 50 people in NYC tech whom you need to know. We perused the list and the fact is, we happen to know a good number of them. Some were valid. There were glaring omissions. No criteria were given in terms of list selection. And the facts on some of the people were waaay off.

We attended Entrepreneurs Roundtable Demo Day earlier this week and met someone who recently did some house cleaning and came across an old copy of the Red Herring magazine, which had their list of the top companies to watch, the majority of which are now defunct, as is Red Herring itself: prescience was obviously not their forte. Before we go down that rabbit hole again, time out: let’s be honest and before you go out and start your next undertaking or go online looking for advice, let’s keep in mind some of the things we probably don’t need/would be better off ignoring completely:

  1. Yet another dating site
  2. Another book by Tim Ferris. The four hour work week – seriously? Show of hands: how many of you out there in startup land put in less than four hours daily between the hours of say, nine and noon? Or read the book and now put in a four-hour work week? Although, Ferris is no doubt enjoying a four-hour work week, or could, courtesy of the dreamers who bought into the bollocks. Oh, he just tweeted that he’s looking for people who’ve learned a musical instrument quickly. You’ve been warned.

  3. Another app that tweets weight/calories burned each week. And this accomplishes what, exactly?

  4. Another article about the work/life balance. Is this an issue or a diversion?

  5. Another article on how to fail fast. Tell us how to succeed. Quickly!

  6. Inventing terms/concepts, like ‘fractional worker,’ who now has the ‘freedom’ to ‘work in the cloud.’ You’re underemployed. Inventing new terms does not change the reality of a situation. Airbnb, RelayRides, Tie Society and other such sites: do you think we live in a sharing economy because of some spontaneous global come-to-Jesus moment?

What this industry painfully lacks is a bit more critical thinking. We hype. We deify. And we walk around in a room full of smoke and mirrors, wondering why we’re not getting traction, while referring to the majority of most of our target markets as the ‘flyover states.’ Most people outside of the industry don’t know who WarbyParker are. Nor are they on twitter, despite all of those hashtags we see cropping up on television screens: only 18% of US Internet users are on twitter, and they mostly use it track news. And their favorite television shows. This is not a criticism: this is a reality check.

Before you accept something on blind faith, consider the source and the criteria and/or possible agenda behind it. It’s dangerous to believe that there’s value where actually, there is none. Beware of red herrings or like the magazine itself, you may well find yourself another casualty foundering in the deep end of the dot com dead pool. How do you think they got there? Onward and forward. And with both eyes open.


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NEW Startup Institute, deadline October 6th. “We’re creating an opportunity for the best entrepreneurs and professionals from NYC’s startup community to teach a highly curated group of passionate students who want to work for a startup.”

New England Venture Summit, The 8th annual New England Venture Summit, presented by youngStartup Ventures, is the premier industry gathering connecting venture capitalists, corporate VCs, angel investors, technology transfer professionals, senior executives of early stage and emerging growth companies, university researchers, incubators and premier service providers. Whether you are an investor seeking access to new early stage deals, or a CEO or Founder of a new venture looking for funding, visibility and growth, the New England Venture Summit is one event you won’t want to miss. Use code sos to save an addtitional 10% on the Early Bird rate.

Queens Economic Development Corporation intensive 10 week business plan course for entrepreneurs. Program starts October 1st, so apply now.

Shopify/HuffPo Build a Business Competition, deadline March 31st – to build a business, so enter now! $50k cash prize (but read the fine print – it’s more like $500k), mentoring, and more. Get building!

StartupChile, deadline October 1st. It’s a good one. Cash, which goes a lot farther in Chile; mentors; a demo day. Go for it!

Clinical Trial Visualization Redesign, deadline October 2nd. Eli Lilly, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, invites designers and developers to re-imagine clinical trial information in a patient-centric way. As part of Lilly’s Clinical Open Innovation initiative, which calls on open innovation to help transform clinical research and development, challenge participants are now being asked to focus on the ideas and possibilities for envisioning clinical trial protocols from a patient’s point of view. Clinical trial information can often be dense and difficult to digest from a patient’s perspective. Patients may have questions surrounding the risks and benefits of their participation in the trial, logistics, the role of their personal doctor, and much more.  The goal for this challenge is to redesign that information in a way that highlights key aspects in a visually appealing and user-friendly way. $75,000 in prizes in all. Grand Prize: $35k.

R/GA (and TechStars) Connected Devices Accelerator, deadline October 11th. Three months, ten companies, up to $120 in funding. This one is focused on any technology-powered startup from around the world with an innovative idea for a product or service in the connected devices space. Your product can be hardware or software, but it should help bring together the physical with digital. Go for it!

The New York Expo and Conference is back – the real one! Free Early Bird registration now available.
The largest business show on the East Coast is now open for FREE early bird registration. 40+ Seminars. 250+ Exhibitors. Unlimited networking. And yes, that is Brian Solis on the home page. He’ll be keynoting and that’s always worth the price of admission. Register here.
Date: October 17th
Venue: Javits Center, NYC

Daily News Innovation Lab, deadline October 31st (applications being accepted starting October 1st). The Daily News Innovation Lab is powerfully positioned to help grow and launch early-stage companies targeting a known digital-media need by offering unique access to the Daily News in-house team, robust technical infrastructure (hosting, servers, storage) and a massive national audience. Through the Innovation Lab’s Program Service Partners, participating companies will have access to external professional services and receive post-graduation office space. A slate of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and professionals will offer advice, mentorship and support to the companies. The goal is for graduates to leave with a viable product that has been proven in the market, well positioned to launch a successful business

DreamIt Health Baltimore, deadline November 11th. DreamIt Health Baltimore 2014 will select up to ten companies from around the world to participate in a four-month accelerator program. In addition to receiving up to a $50,000 stipend and professional services, the startups will be paired with and work closely with exited entrepreneurs-turned-mentors with domain expertise specific to their needs; benefit from an intense startup and healthcare curriculum taught by accomplished practitioners; meet with subject matter experts and investors; and enjoy access to executives, information systems, and data from leading industry players including providers, payers, biopharma, device makers, and federal agencies. Participating teams will also benefit from DreamIt’s extensive network and expertise in guiding the growth of young technology companies.
DreamIt Health Baltimore is expected to take advantage of many of the strengths of the region, giving participating startups the opportunity to work closely with Johns Hopkins Medicine for potential pilots and also access to key individuals throughout the region’s wealth of federal health care institutions including the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
The program will be led by Elliot Menschik, MD PhD, a Johns Hopkins alum and successfully-exited health IT entrepreneur. Apply individually, or as a company.

ER Accelerator Winter Session, deadline November 15th.  $40k in funding and working with amazing mentors – including yours truly. Don’t wait till the last minute!

For you edification this week:

Jimmy Wales To Silicon Valley: Grow Up And Get Over Your Age Bias. Silicon Valley frowns on age, yet several of its most successful entrepreneurs argue experience tends to trump youthful exuberance.

Many Entrepreneurs Pick the Wrong Advisors for Help They need to tell you the truth about your business, good or bad.

Fuck it. Ship it.  Congratulations to Perr Gormani, and sometimes you just have to go for it. Ladies and Gentlemen…. I give you, http://archive.ly

Beware of fake startup mentors. There are a lot of time-wasters out there who like to ride it on the back of someone else.

The Sequoia Guide to Pricing Your Product. A lot of startups treat pricing as a math problem or, worse, an afterthought. Pricing is as much an art as it is a science, one that relies as much on marketing and psychology as it does on classical economics.
This Sequoia Guide covers strategies that can help you figure out the right price for your product—and end up with happier customers and more profit in the process.

Millennial Misadventure. Aka reality check.

Hate your boss? Here’s how to make your resignation go viral. .

Is @AngelList Syndicates Really Such a Big Deal? f you track the venture capital industry it would be hard to miss the conversation going on over AngelList “Syndicates.”

7 New Tax Changes Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know

Gmail Wiretapping Case Will Continue. Even as Google celebrates its 15th birthday, a new court ruling finds that Google’s practice of searching email accounts to come up with keyword-based targeted advertising may be violating Federal and California wiretapping laws.

This is why I deleted my LinkedIn account. Software that traps standard users, or invites crappy 3rd party developers to trick them, is bad software.

MIT, Harvard scientists accidentally create real-life lightsaber. The force is clearly with them.

Elevator Pitch/Member News
Hint, hint: Feel free to tell us what you’re working on, or if you’ve been featured in the press…Share, and we will, too!

Congratulations to the ER Accelerator team for another awesome demo day. Full story is here. Nice workaround on general solicitation, guys, and don’t forget that applications are now being accepted for the Winter Session.

For your amusement this week, Tina Fey joins the cast of HBO’s Girls, which is basically ‘Sex and the City,’ sans the wardrobes and the A list invites. And on that note, now, as always, help is on the way…