Good morning, All,
Yes, our terrace event is tonight and there’s still time to RSVP: http://bit.ly/nEsdBC We know that many of you are struggling entrepreneurs, so please feel free to use the discount code: VIP. Or volunteer and come for free! Looking forward to seeing you tonight and read on – we have a goodie for you!
We love sponsors – especially when they offer something useful to you all. When you’re on the go and have remote staff, the Grasshopper virtual phone system can help. It can get you a toll free or local number, set up extensions for employees, and get business calls forwarded to your cell phone. Join over 100,000 entrepreneurs who’ve used Grasshopper. Get $75 credit on any new plan when you enter SOS75 in the comments box upon sign up (expires in 1 week). Register here: http://www.launchbit.com/1-10/ (Powered launchbit: http://www.launchbit.com/2-10/) and as always, we’re happy to help!
Anyone who tries to launch a startup in NYC knows that at some point comes the inevitable question from far too many a New York-based investor: Does your product have any patents? Shoot me now! We defer to Brad Feld (Time To Really Deal With The Broken Patent System: http://bit.ly/pipdl9), who’s been on this topic for years. Patents inhibit innovation, or as Don Dodge comments in response to the Feld piece: “Patents are not innovation. In fact, they are barriers to innovation.” Consider the case of twitter (Twitter Fires Back on Patent Infringement Lawsuit) http://bit.ly/3PsV. TechRadium’s patents concern its emergency notification system which “simultaneously delivers uniform, reliable and verifiable emergency messages to an unlimited number of contacts within seconds, across all means and devices of communication.” Yes, their patents pre-date twitter’s existence, but with technology and deliver mechanisms/devices evolving so rapidly, what seemed novel to the patent office a few short years ago, is de rigueur and makes the patent seem ludicrous. And what was yesterday’s announced sale of Motorola Mobility to Google all about? Patents and staving off patent lawsuits.
How big a problem is it? Some people believe a situation has arisen where it’s almost impossible to offer a new software service without infringing a number of patents and that the lawsuits create a disincentive to innovate: http://ind.pn/pzOIAs On the other hand, where would eBay, Amazon or Facebook be today had they not patented their technologies before going out of the gate?
Oh, wait – they didn’t! No patents there at all! The reason Apple and Microsoft were able to innovate in the early days was because they were invited to Xerox Park for a tour – and literally walked out with the store. Not a shot was fired. Nor patent infringement lawsuit filed and not that we sanction stealing ideas. We only mention all of this because of that mantra those of us in the startup world here hear time and again: when will New York come out with a billion dollar startup? Newsflash: we did. Sort of. New York native Mark Zuckerberg, who did try to move FB to NY, couldn’t find an investor here – because he hadn’t filed for any patents, perhaps? – and so facebook is based in the valley. Oops. The 20th anniversary of the web just passed – what if Tim Berners-Lee had patented it? Quelle dommage!
Is this seeming patent obsession many a New York investor’s equivalent of ‘bring me the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West?’ We don’t know, but we wish this nonsense would stop. We’re in tough economic times and entrepreneurs drive job creation. Time to wake up out there because let’s face it: we’re not in Kansas anymore. Onward and forward.
Hack for Good, September 06 – September 30, 2011 (but feel free to start working on your project when you register; we’ll give you access to all available documentation). LetGive’s first annual “Hack-for-Good” (HFG) contest! LetGive has created an API that allows anyone to include a charitable giving component within their application. Applications built on our platform are transformed into powerful fundraising vehicles for Nonprofits and Charities. Prize: $1000 for the winning app. To register: http://www.letgive.com/hackforgood/
College students! Moverandchangers.com is all set to launch its third nationwide challenge to uncover the country’s next young entrepreneurs who want to make it big with their innovative ideas for a new business. The contest is open to 16-28 year old college students to develop and produce a compelling business proposal. Ideas must be original, feasible, scalable and practical. More information on the site, which features a video with Dennis Crowley, who, just for the record, wouldn’t qualify for the contest now, nor would he when he first started foursquare. Deadline is October. Information is here: http://bit.ly/EvBLZ
Global Amazon Web Services Start-up Challenge is on! Deadline: October 2nd. This year, AWS will select 15 regional semi-finalists: 5 each from the Americas, Asia Pacific (including Japan), and EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa), respectively, who will each receive $2,500 in AWS credits. From these, they will select a minimum of 6 finalists to be awarded a package of $10,000 in AWS credits and a trip to Palo Alto, California, to attend the final round of judging. Then, after a day of meetings with the judges, they will announce one grand prize winner at a public event for start-ups and investors. The winner will receive a package that includes $50,000 in cash and $50,000 in AWS credits. To enter: http://aws.amazon.com/startupchallenge/
The Appy Awards – enter once and you could win twice. Deadline March 21, 2012 but any entry you submit today may also be selected as our “Featured App of the Week“, scoring you some seriously instant gratification. And we doesn’t love that? For more information and to enter – any time – http://appyawards.net/
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And the winner is…NYC StartupWeekend just passed and ShareWith911.com won the grand prize. Sharewith911.com (http://www.sharewith911.com/) are building an Emergency Information Sharing Network connecting 911, First Responders and citizens before, during and after emergencies of all shapes and sizes. Good work and congratulations! And as always, organizers (and SOS members) Frank Denbow,Shane Reiser and Kelley Boyd, you rock!
For your edification this week:
On the Google-Moto deal: The good: http://zd.net/nuCM9I The bad: http://read.bi/nUPRLo And the awesome headline: Google’s Smartphone Partners Are Stuck Between a Phone and a Hard Case http://bit.ly/qCJIqD
The 5 Worse Pieces of Advice Apple Ever Got: Steve Jobs has always kept his own counsel and as a result, Apple is now one of the world’s most valuable companies. Shakespeare said it best: “To thine own self be true.” Here’s the advice Jobs didn’t take. So don’t listen – and learn: http://read.bi/r3K3ds
DreamIt Ventures had its demo day last week, and showcased 15 companies, from a hooty call to death and the maidens (after-steps.com, founded by two women from HBS; couldn’t resist) For the inside story of DreamIt Ventures’ first New York City accelerator: http://tnw.co/pjYTr2 And stay tuned! Philadelphia is coming up next and there will be another one in NYC next summer.
Stock Market Drops. Then Rallies. What Happens Next For Funding? Yes, it was a crazy week last week and Mark Suster offers a great analysis of what one might expect. A must read: http://bit.ly/qpjVey
On the other hand – Where Silicon Valley Stands on the Downgrade. Bottom line: a bad economy is a good time to launch a business, since the lean times embed a lean, scrappy business DNA into a company. Great companies like Johnson & Johnson, Caterpillar, McDonald’s, and Walt Disney were born in recessions, as were tech giants like Adobe, Intel, Compaq, Sun, and Microsoft. And GOOG. http://wapo.st/njTwS0
Seven Skill Not Found at Birth in Most Entrepreneurs. Many people believe that good entrepreneurs are naturally born, rather than trained or experienced in the art of business. Mark Zwilling, veteran startup mentor, executive, blogger, author, tech professional, and angel investor, believes there is a natural born component required, but often tends to agree with Peter Drucker, who said “It’s not magic, it’s not mysterious, and it has nothing to do with genes. It’s a discipline, and like any discipline, it can be learned.” http://read.bi/o49sU6
The quick website launch checklist, which speaks for itself: http://bit.ly/o4WrGW
Speaking of lists, Raising Money on the Angel List: 21 Tips from 2 Active Angels. As the authors point out, not a lot has been written for startups on how to best use this service. This is a start: http://bit.ly/nbz3I1
What would Brian Boitano do? Steve, Please Buy Us A Carrier! Apple certainly has the cash on hand. Nice idea, but it certainly wouldn’t be without its problems: http://bit.ly/rs620v
We always try to leave you with a chuckle or two of the week and this week’s goes to 15 Common and Absurd Google Searches, and we agree: yes, you can haz a cheeseburger: http://read.bi/nOf3xi Looking forward to seeing you this evening and in case you won’t be able to join us on the west side, this Web Side Story is for you: http://youtu.be/3HnS_W2zA4E
Finally, yes, we are doing an SOS Labor Day weekend barbeque. We hate to see the summer go, too, so we’ll be sure to have tequila on hand: Date: September 4; Raindate: September 5.To Register: http://soslabordaybbq.eventbrite.com It’s still a ways away, and for now, as always, help is on the way…