Friday, March 09, 2007

Stingy startups

The trouble with the big dot.com bubble burst, as any fule kno, was that lots of awful ideas were backed by millions of idiotic pounds. This time round things are going to be a bit different.The San Francisco Chronicle has an interesting story 'Dot.Com on the cheap: Startups shun forebears' excesses, and some workers even bring their own chairs' by Jessica Guynn. "Gone are the Herman Miller Aeron desk chairs and the other technocrat excesses of the late 1990s when dot-coms burned through money and hype, throwing lavish launch parties, staffing up quickly and spending millions on Super Bowl ads," she writes. "Emerging in their stead is a post-crash generation of stingy startups using ingenuity to minimize the cost of turning raw ideas into viable businesses." And in The Guardian, the always readable Victor Keegan has a piece 'This time, the startup boom is no bubble'. He writes: "The scene is a Starbucks in Regent Street, London, last week. Two 23-year-old women from Trinity College, Dublin, are doing a five-minute pitch from a laptop to a couple of serious venture capitalists (VCs). It is the cappuccino version of TV programmes such as Dragons' Den and it is telling us a lot about the vitality of the new internet startup boom in the UK. I have no idea whether the site they have created (welovefancydress.com) will be a winner, but it was nifty enough to hold the attention of the VCs. One of them asked how much it had cost so far. The reply was "A hundred". I think theVCs thought they meant £100,000 until another question revealed it was £100, and the total funds being sought a mere £2,000 - small enough to be from the back pockets of VCs who normally think in millions. Both pieces are well worth reading and underline what we all know to be true that essentially small is not only good, it's also sensible.

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