Paul Graham on the Silicon Valley Startup Environment

Suw Charman is covering Xtech in Amsterdam. Today she put up a fascinating presentation from Paul Graham - How American are Startups? drow names There's no direct relationship to SEO here, and the content is slightly un-PC (giving it that rough, exceptionally honest quality). After reading Paul's other articles (including an excellent rant on Web2.0), I shouldn't be surprised to find excellent advice and insight in his live work. Some partcicularly good excerpts stuck with me: Could you recreate Silicon Valley elsewhere? With the right 10,000 people, yes. It used to be that geography was important, but now it's having the right people. You need two kinds of people to create a start-up: rich people and nerds. Towns become start-up hubs when there are rich people and nerds. NYC could not be a start-up hub because there are lots of rich people but no nerds. Result: no start-ups. Pittsburgh has the opposite problem - lots of nerds, no rich people. Uni of Washington yeilded a hi-tech community in Seattle, but Pittsburgh has a problem with the weather I never thought of Seattle as reliant on the Univ. of WA for its startup environment, but since I dropped out to start SEOmoz (in 2000) it's tough to argue. Any town's personality needs to have a good nerd personality. Nerds like towns where people walk around smiling, so not LA because people don't walk around, or NYC where people don't smile. Nerds will pay a premium to live where there are smart people. They like quiet, sunlight, hiking. A nerd's idea of paradise is Berkeley or Boulder. The start-up hubs in the US are very young-feeling, but not new towns. Want a place that tolerates oddness. Get an election map and avoid the red bits.

Venture Capital Field Explored

I'm really thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak to two very influential minds in the venture capital sphere - Mike Devlin & Bob Crants from Pharos Funds. Not only are Mike & Bob smart guys with some fascinating stories, they're also my kind of people - their fund seeks out companies that others overlook: 5e drow names A notable element about Pharos is that we focus intently on markets that have been traditionally under served. This can include companies in states that my friends on both coasts call "fly over country" that have less VC competition or entrepreneurs who have traditionally been overlooked by institutional VC investors (minorities and women led companies). That's a great way to get on my good side. In addition, they've contributed some very fine ideas and real life experience about how the VC field operates and what we can see from this next round of investment in web technology: I agree with the maxim: back a strong management team with a weak business plan over a weak management team with a strong business plan (unless of course you have a controlling interest and can oust the management team). We have seen many good managers create value in a crowded space, weather difficult times with strategic refocus and continually make decisive decisions at the right time. One weakness we see often is that while management may have a good sense of their overall strategy, they don't wed that with a bullet proof understanding of their financial model. It's a good indica tion that some portion of the invested capital will be misallocated or misspent.

After 1 Year of Business

This post was originally in YOUmoz, and was promoted to the main blog because it provides great value and interest to our community. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of SEOmoz, Inc. Although I’ve hung around SEOmoz for a few years now, this is my first attempt at writing a YOUmoz post *gulp*. Please be gentle with me………. 5e drow names Approximately a year ago, I decided to start my own website - a semiconductor supplier directory company called Semi-Directory. I admit it’s a bit of a dry topic, but please bear with me as this post isn’t about the site per se. Instead, I thought it might be a good idea to share my progress over the last 12 months, and provide evidence that SEO actually works! (duh - as though you didn’t know that already). Still, it’s nice to see tangible evidence that this is the case now and again. Right? I don’t profess to being an SEO ‘expert’ by any means, by I feel that I have lurked around SEOmoz long enough, along with becoming a PRO member, to feel reasonably confident that I would be able to make inroads with this venture. Furthermore, by operating in such a niche industry such as semiconductors, I thought my chances of ranking pretty high were pretty high. I built the database driven site from scratch using a MS SQL backend, and spent a good deal of time making sure the factors within my control (i.e., site/page optimization) were taken care of. Having implemented all the basics (as detailed in SEOmoz’s The Illustrated Guide to Building a Search-Friendly Website), it was time to move on to the meaty stuff – promoting the site. Woohoo! As I worked tirelessly in an attempt to increase the usage of the site and penetrate the market, I noticed that there were certain SEO activities that resulted in a definite and sustained increase in visitor traffic. I hope that by explaining my activities around the various jumps in numbers in the following graph, you're given some confidence to try new tactics if you haven’t already implemented them. They worked for me and, while I can’t guarantee it, I hope they can work for you too.