Interview with Fariborz Maseeh, Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition


Last week, the University of Southern California 's Viterbi School of Engineering announced that it had established a new, business plan competition, the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition ([link] specifically aimed at students in the engineering school.

Your Product Needs to be 10x Better than the Competition to Win. Here’s Why:

Both Sides of the Table

It was a pleasure to write them myself. And now, of course, UberSocial, Bill’s latest project. I brought up the fact that I find many larger companies abusing the patent system to slow down smaller competitors which is actually anti competitive.

Timing and why we’re all VCs

TechCrunch LA

Capitalism is fundamentally about timing, since market competition is about finding opportunities before others. It’s obvious that we can be too late to these decisions of course. Start writing down predictions about people, companies, and markets.

Can you overcome five risks and create wealth?


Of course, we are speaking of increased valuation of your company when we speak of “wealth.” This risk can be mitigated by finding a customer willing to purchase as soon as a proven model is completed, and willing to state this in writing. And fifth: Competitive risk. .

Niche marketing works. Here’s how.


Of course not. You’ll have less competition. Competition is good, but – if there are hundreds of businesses out there that already have gotten to and penetrated this niche – you’re going to find it hard to get through the marketing noise. Close.

Putting an End to the Dark Ages of Local Businesses

Both Sides of the Table

She entered you reservation by writing in a time slot in a paper calendar and you were in. Of course you now book when you want and even choose your restaurant based on availability at the time / day you want and you can book on your mobile phone at 2am or 8pm.

Course 348

Who Should be on Your Startup Board?

Both Sides of the Table

Of course it happens all the time?—?especially This is the norm and unless you have a hugely competitive round it’s not worth fighting. This is not true in the majority of cases but rather when you have competition in your round and feel confident in using your leverage.

Why Titles Matter a Lot if You’re a Blogger

Both Sides of the Table

When I first started writing this blog several years ago I had less followers than you have right now. But the realist in me knew I couldn’t write daily nor could I convince you to think to check out my blog with regularity.

Understanding the Underbelly of Online Marketing & Why You’ll Lose if You Don’t

Both Sides of the Table

If you’re a technology startup you need to excel at product, of course. Of course once submitted you could send out links to your friends and ask them to upvote your content and that would help. Of course reciprocity matters so they would all leap into action.

How to Talk About Valuation When a VC Asks

Both Sides of the Table

I thought I’d write a post about how to talk about valuation at a startup and give you some sense of what might be on the mind of the person considering funding you. This is part of a series I’ve been writing on fund raising.

How I Promise You One of the Most Meaningful Days of Your Life

Both Sides of the Table

Defy Ventures runs business plan competitions and has people like us who attend and give business advice and feedback. Catherine (Cat) Hoke founded the program in 2010 and launched the business plan competition in 2012. I will write about that as soon as Caroline is ready.

Some Advice Before You Hit the Fund Raising Trail

Both Sides of the Table

But if there is nothing wrong with you then please don’t let early rejections alter your course. Of course you need to have answers to all of the hard questions that you know you can anticipate about your business?—?just Fund raising.

Can You Build Your Business on Somebody Else’s Platform?

Both Sides of the Table

But of course customers will have to do some technical work to migrate products and will lose DataSift functionality that Twitter / Gnip does not possess directly. Twitter announced its acquisition of our competition Gnip almost a year ago.

Understanding the Herd Mentality of VCs and How not to Let it Psyche You Out

Both Sides of the Table

But if there is nothing wrong with you then please don’t let early rejections alter your course.” And in a later post I’ll write about why you want them to fall of the fence even if it means “no.” Whether you’re fund raising from angels, seed investors and VCs?—?as

Press 272

The Case For & Against Cryptocurrencies (for those tired of all the noise)

Both Sides of the Table

In more than a decade of writing about the Internet and tech-enabled businesses I’ve learned that mobs don’t do nuance well. This market structure in which the few, large players use their market position to eliminate competition is inevitable.

SMTP 335

Craft your roadmap. Plan your trip.


Included in a business plan are financials, competitive landscape, marketing plans, and projected sales to name a few. If you don’t know these things, how are you going to course-correct if things go differently than forecast? By JJ Richa.

Mentor 195

What Can You Learn From Ring’s Astounding Success?

Both Sides of the Table

Many people will write the history on why Ring became an enormously successful company and why it became a real-world unicorn in a world when many startups are anointed that merely on paper. With Ring it became your doorbell so of course you always use it when someone’s at your door.

Some Thoughts about Selling at Startups

Both Sides of the Table

Here is a sample of the reading list for the course that gives you a flavor for just how modern and practical this course is. The idea that the course asks students to write public blog posts is a testament to its more modern teaching style.

Course 342

The Changing Structure of the VC Industry

Both Sides of the Table

The VC market has right-sized (returned back to mid 90′s levels & less competition). Just 3 years ago there was talk of institutional investors “not being able to write small enough checks.” Of course strongest industry players don’t stand still.

The Corrosive Nature of Over-Introducers

Both Sides of the Table

It’s hard enough building a valuable product or service in competitive global markets without spending time on unproductive tasks. I know some will read this as an indictment of all introductions and of course it’s not that.

The Loneliness of Success that Nobody Talks About

Both Sides of the Table

Of course that’s true.

Press 397

Should Startups Announce Their Funding?

Both Sides of the Table

I will add to this as I write more in the coming weeks on the topic. The funding rounds will also build customer confidence and they’ll help journalists feel air cover in writing your more important pieces when you brag about customers, traction, revenue or whatever.

How Many Investors Should You Talk to in a VC Fund Raise? And How Do You Prioritize?

Both Sides of the Table

Of course there’s no exact number of VCs you should meet?—?these As a VC I of course want you to come see only me because that means I have no competition and have time to properly get to know you.

Why Your Marketing Campaign Sucks

Both Sides of the Table

” Here’s what I mean … Let’s start with what it takes for a journalist to want to write a story. Do I have an “angle” from which to write the story (first company to do X, company does biggest X, consumer behavior is doing X)? ” Of course not.

The Very First Startup Founder You Need to Invest in is You

Both Sides of the Table

This week I wrote about obsessive and competitive founders and how this forms the basis of what I look for when I invest. My first response mentally was, “Of course!” Before you start writing your friends checks for their startups, get out your checkbook and bet on you.

Invest 420

Is @AngelList Syndicates Really Such a Big Deal?

Both Sides of the Table

If you know, VCs end up writing sizable checks into their own funds, which is important in better aligning interests. Therefore of course they need to be more selection when writing checks and can’t spread their bets across 75 deals.

Course 374

How I Invest

Both Sides of the Table

I answered in the same way I always do so I thought I’d just write it publicly. “I As a starting point I have to believe the founder has the attributes of an entrepreneur that matter most to me : Tenacity, resiliency, inspiration, perspiration, attention-to-detail, competitiveness, decisiveness, risk tolerance and integrity. Of course I also have to the concept.

Invest 220

Here’s What President of textPlus @Nanea Reeves Has to Say on Leadership, Mgmt, Women in Tech

Both Sides of the Table

I’ll try to get write-ups shortly but for now here is an overview of my interview with Nanea Reeves – President and COO of textPlus. I would of course welcome your feedback in the comments on the blog to add to this conversation or to disagree with any conclusions we may have had.

RSS 339

To Sell Anything You Need to Know What Makes You Unique

Both Sides of the Table

The reason for this is that the executives who founded the company have so much tacit knowledge of how to position their product relative to the competition that they can easily win campaigns when they’re involved.

Slides 357

A Serial Entrepreneur’s Guide To Uncovering Awesome Startup Ideas


In my UC Santa Barbara Entrepreneurial course, I require the students to submit a venture idea every week. The more you play around with ideas and you write them down, the better. Competition – which competitors will prove to be the most formidable?

Ideas 274

Here’s How to Do PR on a Budget

Both Sides of the Table

But of course it’s hard to advise people that they should do PR without a guide to how to do it on the cheap or how to do it at all. It’s why in this article I advise that people “market today not futures” because you don’t want your playbook in the hands of the competition. The reality is that a journalist who’s writing a story about you – a relatively unknown entity – wants to hear directly from the founders and/or the CEO.

Press 263

Guerilla Marketing, Brad Feld Style


They basically said, ‘Anybody who is a developer, come hang out here at Trada and we’ll give you coffee and food and a desk and Internet and you can plant here… and of course, some of those people (became) optimizers. Write Your Own Playbook.

Why The Media Has Been Wrong About YouTube Networks

Both Sides of the Table

For much of 2013 I watched the press write articles about how the YouTube “MCNs” (multi-channel networks) were doomed and tried to square that with the data I was watching at the one I invested in, Maker Studios, who has had one hell of a year.

In 15 Years From Now Half of US Universities May Be in Bankruptcy. My Surprise Discussion with @ClayChristensen

Both Sides of the Table

Today’s higher education is responding by making more courses online and available to people outside of physical boundaries. In many ways I think general purpose writing & thinking skills are as valuable as math skills.

7 Business Mistakes Serial Entrepreneurs Never Make (Twice)


Thus, you have negotiating leverage as long as a legitimate, competitive threat exists. Your commitments to investors must be significant enough to compel them to write you a check. What matters is how effectively you change course after each mishap.