Video: Startup Funding. Bootstrap. Then “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.”

by Tim Berry

I stumbled on this brilliant video of an after-hours startup funding event at the Stanford business school, a panel discussion putting two of the best-known, most influential, and most successful investors (Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway) together with another successful entrepreneur (Parker Conrad, founder of Zenefits), a moderator, and a group of interested entrepreneurs. The... Read More »

Good Life Project

Restaurants, Bootstrapping, Good Stories, and Divine Intervention

by Tim Berry

This is a great look at one example of a successful restaurant business. Jonathan Fields calls it “bootstrapping with a bit of divine intervention.” That story is about four minutes in. The whole interview is interesting, and a good background look for anybody curious about the restaurant business, particularly one successful restaurant business, not stylized... Read More »


Quick Funny Disruptive Game Changing Paradigm Shift Video

by Tim Berry

In my post here yesterday I questioned the value of the phrases “game changing” and “disruptive” for what every startup promises investors and few really offer. Right after posting I caught Sramana Mitra’s fun video cartoon here, a quick riff on the similar phrase “paradigm shift.” Aside from the fun video, I’ve mentioned Sramana before... Read More »


Can’t Get Funded? Maybe There Are Better Ways

by Tim Berry

Today I joined Ian Sigalow, Jim Estill, and Mike Edelhart on a free webinar titled “Revolution in Venture Funding.” If you’re interested, here is the link to the permanent archive: The sizzle in this one is the idea of crowd funding: specifically, there’s a bill in congress that would loosen up restrictions on small-time... Read More »


Blaming Angels and VCs for Choosing is Like Blaming Up for Down

by Tim Berry

I was happily reading Sramana Mitra’s The Other 99% of Entrepreneurs on Read/Write Web, agreeing with every detail, when I ran into a snag. It’s in italics in this quote from Sramana’s post. Over 99% of entrepreneurs who seek funding get rejected. Yet, the entire world is focused on the 1% that is “fundable.” The media,... Read More »


Reflection: 10 Lessons Learned in 22 Years of Successful Bootstrapping

by Tim Berry

(I posted this about two years ago on Small Business Trends. I’m reposting it here today because this is a good time of year for this kind of reflection. And maybe also for not writing a new post. Tim ) Last week a group of students interviewed me, as part of a class project, looking for... Read More »


Is All Good Business Inherently Social Enterprise?

by Tim Berry

I liked the phrase social entrepreneurship instantly when I first heard it. It’s doing well by doing good, I assumed, building businesses that help people. A business doesn’t have to not make a profit to do good, so the idea of social entrepreneurship makes sense. Teach kids to read, help people stay healthy, clean the... Read More »


Are You Planning to Sell Boxes or Hours?

by Tim Berry

All of these are just “in general” points. There will always be exceptions. But still, it’s good to understand the huge difference between service businesses and product business. Selling hours has advantages, but selling boxes does too. And there are huge differences, things I think you need to understand. My wife and I spent several... Read More »


True Story of Business Disaster With a Compensation Plan Lesson

by Tim Berry

This is a true story. Names aren’t included for obvious reasons. Don’t ask. Once upon a time a product-obsessed software entrepreneur who didn’t like sales hired a sales-oriented entrepreneur who liked selling software. It seemed like a match made in heaven, as they say. Both of them could focus on what they liked doing. The... Read More »


The Paradox of Location vs. Technology

by Tim Berry

Did you see this piece over the weekend? In Start-Ups Follow Twitter, and Become Neighbors the New York Times presents several San Francisco companies (including, my personal favorite) that purposely located offices near Twitter for good business reasons. Steve King called it The Real Magic Comes from Being in the Same Place in his... Read More »