I often look to the Internet for inspiration and information for starting a company. Now that I am starting a software/web company, I find the online resource indispensable and relevant to my endeavor. So I have compiled a list of relevant online articles and blog posts that I read and have provided some value to me in starting and building a digital media startup. Here’s the list:
Entrepreneurship Wisdom and Advice
- How to Start a Startup – Paul Graham (Recommended)
An inspiring essay on starting a startup by a seasoned entrepreneur and entrepreneur mentor Paul Graham.
- Be Good – Paul Graham (Recommended)
I love this essay – it gives a sense and purpose on entrepreneurship. So go out and change the world. Entrepreneurs are motivated to solving people’s problems – it’s a higher calling for doing a startup.
- The Art of the Start (Video) – Guy Kawasaki (Recommended)
No B.S. advice on startup by Guy Kawasaki. The book, which is got me started, is also available from Amazon.
- Ten Rules for Web Startups – Evan Williams
The qualities of a founder and rules for starting a web company.
- Startups in 13 Sentences – Paul Graham
13 advices for startups.
- The 18 Mistakes that Kill Startups – Paul Graham
18 mistakes to avoid. Good read.
- A Dozen of Don’ts for Entrepreneurs – Guy Kawasaki
Instead of talking about what you should do in a startup. the article articulates what entrepreneurs should avoid doing.
- 37 Pithy Insights from Street-Smart Entrepreneurs – Dharmesh Shah
A collection of advice and inspiration from street-smart entrepreneurs.
- Y Combinator: Startup Ideas We’d Like to Fund – Y Combinator (Recommended)
A list of thought-provoking startup ideas (mostly software- and web-based).
- Your Idea Probably Sucks, Now Go Do It Anyway – Jason Cohen (Recommended)
Your idea probably sucks, and it doesn’t matter because your business will probably turn out to be something completely different.
- Developing New Startup Ideas – Chris Dixon
Don’t be secretive. Think and get inspired by walking around, and talk about your ideas.
- Not Disruptive and Proud of It – Jason Cohen
You don’t need disruptive ideas, a case for incremental innovation.
- Six Principles for Making New Things – Paul Graham
6 principles for implementing an idea.
Strategy and Framework
- Lean Startup (Video) – Eric Ries (Recommended)
This is a great introduction video to Lean Startup, a framework of processes for managing a startup through Agile Product Development and Customer Development methodologies. Lean Startup has been successfully advocated and used by many successful startups.
- Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application – 37 Signals (Recommended)
Comprehensive, detailed guide to smarter, faster, and easier way to build web-based applications by 37signals. Must read if you are starting a web startup.
- 12 Months to Startup – Kimberly Stans, Entrepreneur.com
A step-by-step guide to have your business up and running.
- The Bootstrapper’s Guide to Launching New Products – Darren Dahl, Inc.
How to bootstrap a startup using lean product development and minimum viable product.
- Competition is Overrated – Chris Dixon
Don’t get inhibited by competition. As a startup, you are primarily competing against indifference and lack of understanding.
- No, that is Not a Competitive Advantage – Jason Cohen
Misconceptions about competitive advantages for startups.
- Startup Competitive Advantages that Work – Jason Cohen
What are the “real” competitive advantages for startups and advice on building them.
- Minimum Viable Product (MVP) – Nivi, Venture Hacks (Recommended)
Intro to minimum viable product, a strategy for a rapid development and release of a product or feature to help validate product and market assumptions. A follow-up to this post includes real world examples of MVP.
- Minimum Desirable Product (MDP) – Andrew Chen (Recommended)
One criticism of Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is that the framework helps answers questions about a startup from a business perspective. A variant of MVP, calls Minimum Desirable Product (MDP) looks at the startup from a usability and user perspective. Great read if you are committed to creating an insanely great product experience. Here’s a follow-up to the post (with slides included).
- Design Tips for Startups – Thomas Petersen
Great design tips for web startups.
Product Development and Management
- Customer Development Methodology – Steve Blank (Recommended)
Why product development alone is not enough for startups? The customer development model complements product development of startups. To learn more about Customer Development buy the book “The Four Steps to Epiphany” from Amazon or download a sample of the book.
- Customer Development Checklist for my Web Startup Part I (Customer Discovery and customer development background) - Ash Maurya (Recommended)
Need more details on customer development. Ash Maurya wrote a detailed, comprehensive guide on defining a customer development checklist for his web startup.
- Customer Development Checklist for my Web Startup Part 2 (Customer validation) - Ash Maurya (Recommended)
Follow-up to Ash’s customer development checklist guide.
- You’re a Little Company, Now Act Like One – Jason Cohen
Start small, but think big. Most importantly, be yourself, stay passionate, and go for the early adopters.
- Releasing Early is not Always Good? – Jason Cohen (onStartups)
Good arguments against releasing early.
- 5 Business Models for Social Media Startups – Jun Loayza (Recommended)
5 business models analyzed. Excellent post.
- How to Create a Profitable Freemium Startup? – Andrew Chen (Recommended)
A thorough analysis of the Freemium model and how to make it profitable. Includes an Excel spreadsheet. A must-read for those interested in the Freemium model.
- SaaS – New Software Model, New Challenges – Don Dodge (Recommended)
A good intro to software as a service (SaaS).
- What Does the “Media Business Model” Mean? – Chris Anderson
Breakdown of 20+ business models (and their variants) for the digital media companies.
- Entrepreneurship as a Science – The Business Model/Customer Development Stack – Steve Blank
Looking at innovations and business models using both the Business Model Design and Customer Development methodologies.
- Free! Why $0.00 is the Future of Business – Chris Anderson
Free is in and here’s why. Chris Anderson’s thought-provoking article on giving away products in the digital age.
- User Growth vs Revenue (Why “Free Only” May Limit Growth) – Sean Ellis
An argument against free model.
Sales and Marketing
- If You Build It, They Won’t Come – Jason Baptiste (Recommended)
Building a product isn’t enough. Here is Jason’s guide to launching products properly to ensure long-term success.
- 30 Tips for Using Social Media in Your Business – April Joyner (Inc.)
Great summary on how social media can be used to promote your business.
- How Not to Market Your Startup – Neil Patel
How not to repeat marketing mistakes of digital media startups.
- Jason Calacanis on How to Get PR for your Startup: Fire your PR Company – Jason Calacanis, Business Insider
Thought-provoking article on PR. You don’t need a PR firm. You just need to be amazing, be everywhere, and be real.
Leadership, People, and Culture
- How to pick a co-founder? – Naval Ravikant, Venture Hacks (Recommended)
Choosing a co-founder is perhaps the single most important decision for an entrepreneur. What qualities to consider in a co-founder?
- Hiring Employee #1 – Jason Cohen (Recommended)
Excellent tips on hiring in an early-stage startup.
- Notes on Leadership: Be Like Steve Jobs,… And Bill Campbell, and Andy Grove – Ben Horowitz
Ben Horowitz argues that successful startups have CEOs that have these 3 qualities: ability to articulate vision, has the right ambition, and the ability to achieve the vision. Good read.
- Startup Founders Should Flip Burgers – Mark Suster
Roll up your sleeves and get do every job function of the startup.
- Personality of a Company: Establishing Culture and Values Early On – Jerry Kaplan
In companies, like children, personality is set early and expresses itself differently through the years but it doesn’t change, says Kaplan. Entrepreneurs should establish values and culture early on and to remember that these values reflect the values of the founders
Funding and Pitching
- How to Fund a Startup – Paul Graham (Recommended)
A must-read essay on funding and the sources of funding.
- A Fundraising Survival Guide – Paul Graham (Recommended)
A follow-up post on Pau Graham’s post “How to Fund a Startup.” Some good tips and how to set the right expectations.
- No Plan Survives First Contact with Customers – Steve Blank (Recommended)
Don’t waste time on a business plan. But do business planning and come up with a business model.
- How to Pitch to Investors – Paul Graham (Recommended)
A must-read essay on pitching to investors.
- 9 Quick Tips Learned While Raising $33 Million In Venture Capital – Dharmesh Shah
Good insights and tips in raising funds in initial venture rounds.
- Types of Angel Financing – Walker Corporate Law Group
So an angel investor is willing to invest in your venture. Now what? Issue common stock, preferred stock, or convertible notes?
- How to Bootstrap Your Startup – Matt Rodgers
Detailed tips on how you can bootstrap your startup.
- 10 Lessons in Bootstrapping a Busines – Clate Mask
Raising money is hard and distracting. A case for bootstrapping a venture. In general, it’s good to bootstrap the business as long as possible, but know when it’s time to seek investors.
- Don’t Write a Business Plan – Jason Cohen
Another post against writing a business plan.
- Pitch Yourself, Not Your Idea – Chris Dixon
It’s about you and your team. Ultimately, you need to articulate to the investors that you and your team can build the product.