The microfinance website Kiva is doing its first ever $1 Million Match Day today, which means that if you make a loan which falls under the conditions of normal bonus loans (less than than 18 months and greater than 3 stars), your loan will automatically be matched. If you’re a member of the Kiva Nerdfighters, the nerdfighter team will be credited with, e.g., $50 instead of $25! Kiva Nerdfighters have loaned over $4 million overall to entrepreneurs around the world. 

Normally when you join Kiva you get $25 to use for free but this is on hold for today, so if you’d like to take part in what looks to be the biggest lending day in Kiva history you need to use existing Kiva funds or add more to your account. $25 loans have a 98% repayment rate on Kiva.org overall, which means that more often than not your loan will be repaid and you can reloan that money to other entrepreneurs! Approved loans can be seen here

Our new investment — Trello

One of the best things about making software for consumers is the complete lack of gatekeeper risk (unless of course you consider net neutrality issues but let’s leave that aside for time being. You already know how i feel about that )

Make great software and the end user can decide if they want it or not. The decision maker and the end user is the same person.

We take this for granted but as many folks know this hasn’t been the case in companies (enterprise), or education or finance and other such markets. In these markets we have typically seen a decision maker who is different than the end user.

This creates a number of issues that impact the design, care and distribution of the product. It also gives rise to a natural gatekeeper.

Back in the day you would hear things like “I can’t use that product because our IT team won’t support it”.

A number of products have been introduced that have enabled their employees to go rogue in effect. And that is a good thing.

End users at companies are basically are making their own decisions. They bought iPhones and brought them to the office. They signed up for dropbox and brought it to the office. 

I did that with gmail shortly after we started Spark. We began with MS Exchange and after a year or so I went rogue and moved myself to gmail. Shortly after the rest of the team moved as well.

Trello is a mighty fine example of this. Trello is the best way for anyone to work together on a project. Any project. It’s beautiful, fast and simple. Oh, it’s free too.

I signed up for Trello on my own. I didn’t have to take a “webinar” or ask a sales person to demo it to me. I didn’t have to ask someone to install it and I didn’t need anyone’s permission. Others at Spark made their own decision and suddenly we had Trello boards for all sorts of projects like our annual limited partner meeting, candidates we are recruiting, investments we are considering, marketing initiatives and more.

I also have boards are also linked to folks outside of Spark. And Trello works mighty fine in single player mode as I keep a few Trello boards that I keep just for me. 

Trello was built by our friends at Fog Creek. The same place that created and spun out Stack Exchange.

We are proud investors in Stack and when we saw Trello we became inspired to get involved. A product aimed at end users in any environment without gatekeepers, with natural network effects and one we love using everyday.

But one of my most important criteria is whether I would want to work at this company if I wasn’t a VC.

I would.

It’s such a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with cofounders Michael Pryor and Joel Spolsky again along with Neil Rimer at Index who co-led this Series A with Spark. It’s an awesome team and I’m delighted to be part of it.

Go try out Trello for iOS, Android or your good old desktop browser. You’ll love it.

* * * 

Update: Read Joel’s post about the Trello backstory here, Michael has a post and the WSJ wrote about the new funding as well.  

Don’t stay in denial, or blame others—learn from the tough times these entrepreneurs experienced when their startups fell flat.

Choosing to leave behind the regular paycheck and benefits to build a 
venture from the ground up is a huge risk.

It’s risky because it’s hard work, there are no guarantees, and 95% of startups fail, based on research by Shikhar Ghosh, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.

With the odds against you, entrepreneurs feel like they’re literally pushing against the tides every day so when companies fail, the price, which can include financial ruin, utter embarrassment, and even mental collapse, is a hefty one for the founders.

We spoke to four entrepreneurs to explore what they learned from this mourning and accepting period, how they picked themselves up and moved on to become the success stories they are today:

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Believe In Your Brand #levelstothis #RuleNumber1 !! #learning #implementing #fastresults #creation #rightcourse #effectiveness #entrepreneur #success #Entrepreneurs #onlinemarketing #mindset #motivation #milloinairemindset #leadership #focus #personaldevelopment #positivethinking #dreambig #inspired #coaching #mentor #networkmarketing #mlm #workingfromhome #mompreneur #homebusiness #blogger #internetmarketing” via @PhotoRepost_app

just gonna put this out here and cross my fingers

is there anyone who has website building skills and thinks i’m/my poetry is awesome enough to lend me your skills for free?

or

do i have any followers who are business/techy/entrepreneur/fast company reading geeks who want to be my friend and talk about business plans and project ideas for fun

b/c i’m in need of creative business friends srsly

The Worst Parts of Being an Entrepreneur Nobody Talks About

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1. Depression. Whether you’re talking about feeling a little blue or having a full-on, nonfunctional episode, it’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to suffer from depression. 

2. Personal sacrifice. Entrepreneurs can sometimes focus on work to the exclusion of things—relationships with a spouse or with children—that will matter more in hindsight.

3. Unhealthy habits. There’s never enough time in a day to accomplish everything, and entrepreneurs often prioritize work over things like exercise, taking the time to eat properly and getting enough sleep.

For three more downsides of being an entrepreneur—and helpful tips on how to address them—visit OPEN Forum.

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