Post credited to Jeffrey Bussgang, at Inc.com

When it comes to funding young companies, the investment community is constantly raising the bar. Here’s why.

About 10 years ago, I entered the venture capital business after being an entrepreneur. My new partners warned me that my “bar” for new investments would get higher over time.  In other words, the criteria to make a new investment or clearing “the bar” would get stricter with time as I developed more experience.

They were right. The notion that investors get wiser and more selective over time has become common wisdom in the industry. But there’s something very new going on in the last few years, something very striking.  Simply put, when it comes to funding young companies, the investment community’s collective bar has recently gotten higher– much higher.

The entrepreneurs I speak to are feeling it every day. When they pitch their new idea to investors, they are told to build a prototype first. When they build the prototype, they are told to go get customers. When they get customers, they are told to show engagement metrics. When they show engagement metrics, they are told to run some monetization experiments. When they run monetization experiments, they are told to prove scalability.

Why is the new investment bar so high today? Isn’t there plenty of euphoria to go around with the IPO market returning, marquee acquisitions (e.g., Instagram for $1 billion) and the impending, earth-shattering Facebook IPO? I believe this new phenomenon of an extraordinarily high bar is an outgrowth of three related forces: Read the rest of this entry »

Monsters

by StarCrewZ

In 1994 Monster.com started operations in Maynard Massachusetts, beginning a revolution in online access to jobs all over the world. Their website currently lists over 800,000 jobs in the US by their own count. With over 12% reach into the online job shoppers market, they have captured twice the market share of their closest competitor CareerBuilder.com and YahooJobs.com. With point-and-shoot access for resume submission to most available jobs, you would think the chance for landing your dream job couldn’t be better.

However, many jobs seekers are being “virtually” trampled by a mad rush on the choice positions.

The Monsters of online job search have created tremendous opportunity for career advancement. At the same time, they have created a growing problem not only for those seeking employment, but also for the companies who use job search engines to drive candidates to their door. They have created a monster of a different kind and it’s getting bigger and uglier.

We talk to candidates and Human Resource departments every day in our business. Candidates complain that they send out lots of resumes, but get fewer calls back and when they do get called for an interview, they feel they are being treated more and more like a commodity. They describe it being like a cattle-call, with frustration and disappointment becoming the norm. Read the rest of this entry »

visionary leaders

Some say there is something other-worldly about great visionaries. They just don’t seem normal when compared to the rest of mankind.

Peter Drucker, the man who according to a Bloomberg Businessweek article in 2005, “Invented Management”, passed away that year. He was 95, but enjoyed an extraordinary life whose influence is still alive and well in every major corporation today.

One of his liberally quoted passages from a best-selling management book on leadership struck me as particularly appropriate to any industry:

“The single-minded ones, the monomaniacs, are the only true achievers. The rest, the ones like me, may have more fun; but they fritter themselves away . . . Whenever anything is being accomplished, it is being done, I have learned, by a monomaniac with a mission.” ~ Peter Drucker, Adventures of a Bystander

The term monomania connotes bad visuals for most of us. But the word simply defines someone, usually a visionary, who is single-minded and near impossible to divert from their self-directed trajectory through life. They get things done – big things the rest of us still dream about. They aren’t always easy to get along with though. Probably because they only have one gear: Drive! Read the rest of this entry »

SAN DIEGO, CA — StarCrewZ founder and crew report they have successfully launched a high-tech recruiting and biz dev services station into low Earth orbit. Station facilities will provide a number of new platforms for connecting people, new business and financial propulsion systems for growing young companies.

“We’re pushing beyond the bounds of clunky, gravity inhibited paradigms for helping companies reach the stars,” said David Musgrove, Founder and Base Commander of StarCrewZ.

“Our platform streamlines access to the vital propulsion systems all companies need: talent, new business development and capital investment. Borrowing an aerospace industry slogan, we can help companies: ‘fly faster, farther, higher’ by making connections for these key components to success faster, easier and cheaper.”

Video Game Industry Leads Entertainment Job Creation in Texas

Incentive Program Grows Video Game Industry and State Investment

JANUARY 3, 2011 – WASHINGTON, DC – The computer and video game industry created more full time jobs in the past two years than any other moving image entertainment sector, according to a new report from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. An Analysis of Texas Economic Development Initiatives highlights state investment from the film, television, commercial, and video game industries and how each benefited from the “Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program.”

“The Texas incentive program is a great example of how investing in the computer and video game industry attracts 21st century jobs and boosts a state’s economy,” said Michael D. Gallagher, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, the trade association representing U.S. computer and video game publishers. “We commend Governor Perry and the Texas legislature for their vision in creating a program to cultivate these high-tech jobs.”

The comptroller’s report found that the state’s incentive program, first enacted in 2007 and expanded in 2009, contributed significantly to the computer and video game industry’s growth in Texas by creating an estimated 1,700 jobs between April 2009 and August 2010. The incentive program provides grants for qualifying productions including movies, television shows, commercials and computer and video games in an effort to create jobs for Texas residents.

“Texas was one of the first states with an incentive for the video game industry, and it has proven successful,” said Texas Comptroller Susan Combs. “In 2009, the video game industry spent $234 million in Texas and employed 3,400 permanent workers with a positive economic impact on the state and on their local communities.”

Read the rest of this entry »

The first vital step to growing a business is putting the right people in the right places –  when you need them. That sounds so simple in theory and yet it is one of the biggest challenges facing all businesses today!

“Only a handful of companies understand that all successful business operations come down to three basic principles: People > Product > Profit! Without top people, you cannot do much with the other two.”  Malcolm Forbes

 There is no one who knows exactly who you need, why you need them and when you need them better than yourself. If you could simply reach out and touch the people you want, all your problems would be solved. If you can’t do that, you need us. It’s that simple.

As a firm we specialize in client-side representation. We work with you to identify the people you need and we reach out for you – to present your unique opportunity to the very best the present talent market has to offer you. Not everyone will come. But we will bring you the best that do and ensure that if you invest the time to interview them, you can come away with an important and exciting hire.

You have many recruiting companies you can choose from. They all tell you they will recruit the people you need. Why choose us? Most recruiting companies are contingency recruiting companies. They are best used when you have the luxury of time to wait for the right candidate to come along. You will pay them a fee only if you hire a candidate from them. They can only afford to spend the time to recruit for marketable companies who have the usual needs. They need to make quick placements to survive. They cannot afford to do what you need them to do most and that is to stay on task for you long enough to fill the key positions with the best people you don’t have time to wait for.

Read the rest of this entry »

As told to Forbes by Gregory Short and Geoffrey Zatkin, co-founders of EEDAR.

What is the hardest challenge your company has faced to date? Have you overcome it? If so, specifically how?

At EEDAR, our hardest challenge was tied directly to our greatest strength. As a result of our massive proprietary videogame database, EEDAR is able to provide the videogame industry with both a completely new way to evaluate the potential profitability of game titles and a set of highly advanced data analysis tools.

The challenge was teaching an entire industry about more accurate, efficient and comprehensive tools available for making critical business decisions than what was used for the past 20 years: experience and gut instinct-based decision making.

EEDAR continues to work on overcoming this enormous challenge of educating clients on the benefits of data-driven decision making through building strong client relationships, frequent training sessions, strategic use of the press and, most importantly, ensuring our products and services deliver the results our clients require.

Which company/entrepreneur do you model your business after and why?

As a start-up company, EEDAR closely followed many of the principles espoused by Guy Kawasaki in his book The Art of the Start. EEDAR was already on the right track to an extent, but three key lessons from Mr. Kawasaki’s work helped us focus our efforts more productively.

Firstly, EEDAR strove to be a company of meaning; We wanted EEDAR to be a company that would be a positive change for the entire videogame industry, not just another research firm.

Read the rest of this entry »