Friday, December 12, 2008

Ethics and Starting a company


I recently met with a CEO of one of the most morally ethical companies I have seen in a while. It was great, just by talking to him, you just get a great feeling about what he represents and stands for. The company does each faucet of business well, from utilizing resources, business practices, treatment of people, and even the reason why the company was founded was for good reasons. His actions have reinforced what I know to be true, especially a very important factor. The #1 reason why you do anything should not really be only for money.

It makes sense to work hard and be rewarded financially. And it also makes sense that one needs to earn money to feed and support family and one's self. But, to start a company or business for the sole reason of making money means that there is no product or service that you are selling that is truly meant to benefit anyone but yourself. And once you go down that path, I'm not sure there is a way to turn around. Look at Wall street...there are people on the floors trading everyday. But if you think about it, what good is it really providing society? It is just gambling on the back of other people's efforts.

I think its important to found a morally ethical company, and I think more than ever it is being revealed to the rest of the world that it is the way to be. We are in this crisis because people made stupid decisions for the sole reason of financial gain. And now we are all paying the steep price.

On a brighter note, it was fascinating to hear that he was able to found his company with no venture backing, and by giving away no equity. Fundamentally I thought that was the way to start a business, but from activities and classes I've been taking in SV, it seems like Angels and VC's were the route more commonly taken. It was reassuring to hear that it is more than possible to start a company without losing equity and control along the way. If you are planning on starting a business....just keep taking to people to find which way will work the best for you. There are million different ways to get to the same result...find what works for YOU.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Always on Venture Summit


This week I went to my first Venture Summit with Always on. It was held at the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay. The summit was a great experience. First, there was a cocktail opening where there was a lot if mingling and passing out of business cards. I think it was easiest to network at this time, it seems like with a drink in hand, everyone could breathe a bit easier. I met a couple of people from Israel, who were very nice, and some people who worked for Always on and were hosting the summit. It was nice to talk to everyone and hear everyone's interesting ideas and what brought time to the conference. There was a diverse skill set of people from bankers, to CEO's, to lawyers, and a handful of venture capitalists.

The presentations the next day were actually pretty interesting to hear, but a lot of the same information did present itself...The effects of the economy on startups. So, ironically, it's supposedly a great time to start a business, but the liquidity to start a business is scarce. Apparently, for many of the venture capitalists the companies they have invested it are doing well. There is just one small problem. No one has the liquidity or faith in the market to buy the businesses from the VC's, and going public on Wall street is just not a viable option anymore. So what then happens is that the venture capitalists cannot free up their money to make any new investments, leaving the chance for start ups to be funded...a vague memory.

Stunting the growths of startups is in my opinion just about the worse thing that could happen. It's frustrating to see the government putting billions of dollars to band-aid up large corporations when instead they could put the money towards the planting of new seeds and new future possibilities. My hope is that people will get tired of putting their money into the downward roulette of stocks and start investing to grow startups. A girl can just hope, can't she? :-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Business Plan Thanksgiving


This thanksgiving, instead of traveling to friends and family, I stayed behind to work on my business plan. Apparently those things take longer than one would think, it's a good thing that our last class was delayed a week! I've been able to gather tons of articles by:

1) Going to my local library and accessing the online resources with my library card
2) Going online and finding industry relevant magazines accessible for free online
3) Taking advantage of my student status at Stanford to access their library resources
4) Google searches

I've been able to gather lots of information and learn many important things about the industry and how my concept would be received and successful on the market. There is one problem though, it's been extremely hard to find industry data. Those cold hard facts that actually attribute an idea to the bottom line, money. There are lots of market research firms out there that do this research, and can provide you with the data, but this reports are from $3,000 to $4,000 each. And for and up and coming business, how can one afford this? These reports are to help someone learn the market and data so they can enter the industry, but to be able to afford these reports before the money starts coming in....?

If anyone know any other options for obtaining great (recent) historical information and trend percentages... post it!