Last week we (at VarageSale) announced $34,000,000 in fundraising from a group of amazing investors. You can read the news on Business Week and in the Globe and Mail. Two of those investors are Sequoia and Lightspeed Venture Partners. These guys have invested in some of the biggest and best companies in the world: Google, […]

The Importance of Using Your Own Product

Every weekend I buy a few items on VarageSale. It’s not because I need more tchotchkes (although I am buying some awesome things for our new office), it’s because I need to use the product to really understand our members. We collect a ton of quantitative data, but you can’t win on quantitative data alone–you […]

Grabbing Attention and Holding Onto It

Grabbing attention is hard enough. Holding onto it is damn near impossible. In the consumer world (although this applies to B2B software too), attention is the currency that matters. If you can get people’s attention you have a chance of winning. Without it, you can pack up and go home. When talking to entrepreneurs I […]

Put Yourself in a Position to Be Lucky

Last week I spoke at a University of Toronto event to a small group of students. They were mostly business students (so I implored them to learn how to code and be useful–seriously business students, learn to code). As I was going to the event and reviewing my notes, I wrote the following down: Put […]

Product Debt

If you’ve spent any amount of time around developers you should be familiar with the term technical debt. Technical debt comes from hacking things together quickly and moving on. It accumulates over time. It can come back to bite you in the ass (if you scale to the point where the debt becomes obvious). It’s […]

Experimenting with Product, Price and Market

Every startup has to experiment with product, price and market to find the right combination that allows them to scale and win. But if you find yourself experimenting with all three at the same time, you need to take a step back and evaluate where you’re really at. Last week I wrote about product/market fit […]

Product/Market Fit and Lean Analytics

In the last couple weeks I’ve read a few great blog posts about product/market fit and the confusion that exists around what it really means. I’d say for many early stage startups, product/market fit is thought of as that point in time when you’ve finally built a product that people use and it’s time to […]

“No Marketing” Isn’t as Impressive as You Think

Almost every early stage startup that pitches me these days talks about the traction they’ve had with absolutely no marketing whatsoever. “We have five hundred signups and we’ve done no marketing at all.” “Our beta list is growing quickly–and we’re not even marketing yet!” “Customers are knocking at our door, and that’s with no marketing.” […]

Taking Advantage of Startup Accelerators

Last week a company that I advise, Qimple, got accepted into 500 Startups. It’s great to see. Lots of people are congratulating them on Facebook and Twitter. They’re incredibly excited. In Canada we buzz about our entrepreneurs “making it” south of the border. All warm and fuzzy. But let’s be clear: Qimple hasn’t won squat. […]