Depression is hardly exclusive to tech. The disorder is the leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and costs employers billions of dollars a year in lost revenue. Multiple people I talked to for this story pointed out that entertainers are also known for melancholy. For writers and artists, neuroses are practically required.

Yet certain elements of startup life and culture may make people particularly susceptible to depression. Stress, uncertainty, youth and isolation—the virtual cornerstones of today’s startup—have all been shown to increase likelihood of developing the disorder. Irregular work hours and constant high stress levels can lead to both social isolation and sleep disturbances, which can aggravate depression and make people even more volatile. It’s almost a perfect storm, says Maurice Ohayon, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine. “Any psychiatrist can tell you that this population is particularly exposed,” he told me.

Most founders operate under a huge amount of pressure. They are responsible for employees, shareholders, and maintaining company morale, mostly before reaching the age of 30. And especially in the early stages of running a startup, they shoulder that burden mostly alone.

Howdy all! Back in May I started working with this great little plush toy company called Zylie & Friends (working two jobs being the reason I’ve been so sparse, haha) and this week, we launched our Kickstarter to help fund production of our third toy!

Our mission’s a seemingly simple one - unplugging play. New technologies are certainly a wonderful aid in learning and developing motor and logical problem-solving skills, but screen time has seriously started to dominate (especially as more and more households NEED guardians to be working to keep afloat). There can always be too much of a good thing, and we’re trying to help encourage more unstructured play, which helps develop creative problem-solving skills in addition to others - something that’s lacking especially as school programs for the arts, music, and even home ec are being cut. You can check out the website for more info.

So… please consider supporting our Kickstarter!

It would mean the world to me, that’s for sure~ If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ping me - or Matt and MB (through the KS), as they could probably give you the most accurate answers. ;D

*please note that this post is scripted by me alone, and while I AM technically affiliated with Zylie, I am but a simple permalance designer. woop woop

Big Data Analytics Go Large: GoodData Gets $25.7M Led By Intel, Eyes Up 2016 IPO

 GoodData, a cloud-based big data analytics firm, is rising higher into the clouds itself. Today it is announcing a $25.7 million round of funding led by Intel Capital, with participation also from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Tenaya Capital, TOTVS, Next World Capital, Windcrest, and Pharus Capital. This is a Series E round for the company, which has raised… Read More

tags: tech, startups, VC, TechCrunch, entrepreneur, business
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Here’s how venture capital works: you go to an investor, before you’ve even built the thing you’re building and you tell them how you’re going to exit. It’s called an exit plan or exit strategy. You tell them, for example: “Hey, we’re going to get 100 million people using our new platform in two years time, how much will you give me for 100 million people?” And they go “Umm, we’ll give you this much for 100 million people because we’re pretty sure we can get that amount back several times over when we sell those 100 million people in an exit either to another company or in an IPO.”

When you take venture capital, it is not a matter of if you’re going to sell your users, you already have. It’s called an exit plan. And no investor will give you venture capital without one. In the myopic and upside-down world of venture capital, exits precede the building of the actual thing itself. It would be a comedy if the repercussions of this toxic system were not so tragic.

Let me put it bluntly: if a company has taken venture capital, you have already been sold. It’s not a matter of if, it’s simply a matter of when. (Unless the company goes under before it can exit, that is.) A venture-capital funded startup is a temporary company that has to convince enough people into using their platform so that they can make good on the exit they promised their investors at the very beginning. It is the opposite of a long-term, sustainable business.

 Ello, goodbye. by Aral Balkan .

I signed up for Ello and I dig it, so I’m not quoting this to knock Ello. But Balkan isn’t wrong, and that’s sad. I have devoted my life to making products on a platform so ephemeral people still don’t want to pay for things on it.

At a time where the stories of startups surround us, American entrepreneurialism is actually on a decades-old downward trajectory. Fewer start up and more fall down: The failure rate for new businesses has increased in the last 20 years and more people are working for established firms, according to a recent Brookings Institution report. A recent Fed study shows that business ownership rates among American families are at a 25-year low. The U.S. Census bureau is reporting that for the first time in three decades, business deaths outnumber business births.

It’s an especially worrying trend following a recession, since many economists say new businesses are critical to economic growth because they create the most new jobs. (Apple and Microsoft, to name the most obvious examples, were created just after the recession of the mid-’70s.) Tech startups continue to flourish today, even if they can’t escape the overall downward trend, the best ones—nurtured in incubators and then blessed with investors—go on to employee thousands of people.

Businesses with under 50 employees make up the majority of American firms. And most of those are small local operations that political candidates evoke as “the backbone of our economy” and VCs ignore.

Our focus on startups has shifted from building small business to building disruptive, scaleable businesses. If it doesn’t have the potential to be a Billion dollar business, shut it down and move on to something else. 

That can’t be healthy. 

The habit of persistence is the habit of victory.

- Herbert Kaufman

#persistence #victory #HerbertKaufman #csmgcapitalsolutions #dontquit #entrepreneurs #surivors #startups #funding #mindset #mwob #neverdone #dontsleep #4quarterliving #newyork #atlanta #houston #nola @csmgcapital

“Adopt a startup”: A new approach to entrepreneurship in Africa

“Adopt a startup”: A new approach to entrepreneurship in Africa

StartupBus Africa’s AMPION Venture Bus has just launched its crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for its 2014 AMPION Fellowship Programs to support startups that emerge from Startup Bus Africa.

This time round, AMPION wants to a little do more than just raise money.

Over 160 participants on this year’s Venture Buses will create startups tackling African needs and priorities. “The…

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Startup Side Projects

Last night, Secret launched Ping, a semi-mysterious app that lives on your lock screen. Immediately, my interest piqued and so did my skepticism. Why were they building a new app? Was Secret not working out?

I wasn’t the only one with questions. On Product Hunt, Danny Espinoza asked:

@davidbyttow so should we read anything into how things are going with Secret with this release or is this just a N-O-R-T-H-like experiment?

I quickly learned that Ping was just a side project, as described in their launch announcement on Medium:

Ping was born out of a weekend hackathon where the goal was an exercise in simplicity. We were fascinated by the idea of an app that could tell you what you need to know, right when you need to know it. Why scavenge for content — it should come to you.

Of course Secret isn’t the first or only experimental startups hacking on side projects:

  • With by Path - With, a simple app for sharing who you’re hanging out with, was born out of a hackathon.

  • Tripcast and Daily Kiddo by Cluster - Brenden Mulligan and team recently introduced Tripcast and Daily Kiddo, both photo-based spin-offs of Cluster, targeted for specific use cases.

  • MyAnalytics by KISSmetrics - The B2B-focused analytics startup built MyAnalytics, a lightweight mobile app that provides a quick glance at one’s site metrics.

  • Hyperlapse by Instagram - Hyperlapse launched last month, inspired by a pitch-a-thon as Mike Krieger shared on launch day.

  • Potluck, Friendlibs, and PhoneTag by Branch - Branch launched a conversation platform with nominal traction but not enough to skyrocket their business. Afterward, the team experimented with several ideas, creating Potluck, Friendlibs, and PhoneTag before being acquired by Facebook.

  • Twitter by Odeo - Twitter is one of the more prominent examples, incubated within the podcast startup, Odeo.

And many others.

An Increasing Trend

Although I don’t have any hard data on this, it appears that more startups are working on side projects, as:

  1. It becomes easier to build - The barrier to entry is much lower than ever before.

  2. Apps become simplified - Dave Morin notes, “apps are the new features,” as startups simplify apps into specific use cases and build app constellations. This further reduces scope of each project and arguably makes it easier to market.

  3. New distribution channels rise - Social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, reddit, Hacker News, Medium, and Product Hunt have also reduced the amount of effort and capital required to get attention for those that build something people want.

Side Project Pros

Of course, these side projects may not turn into multi-million dollar businesses and that’s OK. Startups hacking on the side, can benefit through:

  • Serendipity - You don’t know what you might discover when building something new.

  • Learning - Side projects give makers a blank slate to try out new technology, experiment with new design patterns, and market to a different audience without disrupting their existing product. Sometimes these learnings are transferred into their main product.

  • Excitement - Almost every entrepreneur I know loves to brainstorm new ideas, often reminiscing the early days when they were still figuring out what to build. Side projects can ignite this entrepreneurial spirit and get a team excited.

  • Marketing - Product launches are press opportunities and in some cases side projects become lead-gen for the main product (e.g. MyAnalytics by KISSmetrics).

Side Project Cons

But side projects can also introduce problems:

  • Focus - If time is a startup’s most valuable asset, then side projects can be a major distraction, especially if they take off.

  • Expectations - People generally invest in startups based on the team, market, and idea. Founders should do what they think is best for their company, but they also have a responsibility to use their investors’ money wisely. If a startup drastically changes directions, investors may feel misled and in some cases, those people may not be the right strategic partners for the new initiative.

  • Signaling - One might question founders’ motivation for building side projects. From an outsiders perspective — especially reporters and investors — side projects may appear like a pivot or a sign that the current product isn’t working.

What do you think? Should startups work on side projects or is this misuse of resources and capital?