This is a big a week in the world of startup/entrepreneur events.
We’ve got the SmartCamp Global finals coming up in San Francisco, showcasing early-stage most-promising IBM business partners. Over in New York, SmartPitch gets underway, bringing together NYC schools, an incubator, mentors from industry (including IBM) and Mayor Bloomberg’s office. Oh, and there’s this small thing called The Crunchies also going on.
For the SmartCamp event, we’ll be taking a handful of students from San Jose State University. Students with a strong interest in business and entrepreneurship, who will be participating at guest bloggers on this blog.
What should they be looking for? What kind of questions should they ask?
I realize there are those better qualified than I when it comes to probing startups, so I took at look at some of the most trusted entrepreneurship sources on the web to see what kind of questions comes out of their posts.
This is what I came up with:
|Chris Nixon: Revenue vs. Margin
Should companies in their growth stage concentrate on maximizing sales and minimizing margins? Chris makes a strong argument for tech companies going after higher margins rather than sales on the basis that technical innovation often decreases the total available revenue for any given market.
|What potential growth model is your startup looking at?
How do you consider managing costs as you scale?
|Hacker News: The Early Early Stage
This post was trending on the excellent Y-Combinator aggregator. Getting from the ‘cool idea’ phase to startup involves leaps of faith, planning, networking and more than a little luck. Here’s the story from one team.
|How did you get from idea to launching a company?
What was the big step where you knew you couldn’t turn back?
|Inc.: Meet the startup doctor
The founder of Care Practice explains how he built a practice using social media rather than reaching out into the shady world of health insurance. By setting up on his own, he found himself studying the psychological makeup of people like him: other entrepreneurs.
|How do you cope with the stress of starting a business? Any tips you can share?
Do you ever find yourself trapped in the mundane aspects of running a business and less involved in the creative/innovative stuff?
|A VC: Search vs Social
In this post, uber-blogger and VC extraordinaire Fred Wilson talks about the diminishing levels of search engine traffic his blog now receives.
|How important is social media marketing in your digital strategy?
To what degree do you analyze the marketing channels that drive awareness?
|VentureBeat: How a teen-founded company won the Node Jam
Andrew Sutherland, the teenage founder of Quizlet explains the importance of Node.js technology in ramping up his startup (eg. traffic doubling to over 6 million visitors a month).
|What is the technology that underpins your offering? Are you confident this will scale as your company does?
What do you look for in the technology you adopt? How important is the community development model?
|Harvard Business Review: Develop leaders the Montessori Way
Providing extrinsic rewards such as titles and bonuses will not always have the desired affect in the workplace. You can often get further by utilizing intrinsic rewards: building job satisfaction and a focus on nurturing.
|What strategies do you employ to keep workers happy?
Do you have any innovative techniques for structuring a team?
|Startup Lessons Learned: Startup is vision
In this guest post, you’ll find a series of maxims (with their own rules of grammar) that backup the energetic statement: ‘Startup is vision’. A seriously poetic way to share advice.
|How important is vision in shaping what you do?
How do you keep up energy through all the obstacles of setting up a new enterprise?
|GigaOm: 15 things successful CEOs want you to know
Nice collection of quotes from an impressive array of modern-day tech luminaries.
|What is one piece of advice you would give to someone planning on becoming an entrepreneur?
What do you do to stand out from the crowd?
Other expert sites to consider: TechCrunch, Pando Daily, Entrepreneur.com.
Think you have some burning questions you would ask the cream of startups? Either add them in the comments below or tweet me.
(Image courtesy of the Startup Lessons Learned blog.)