Kansas Skyline

“To win big, I need to move to Silicon Valley.”

I’ve heard this over and over again from founders. But why? Silicon Valley might be a tech Mecca, but living costs are through the roof, housing is scarce, and competition is fierce. If you’re hitting the right fundamentals, you should be able to launch your startup anywhere — for instance, in Kansas City where startups are thriving and you can find the world’s best BBQ at a gas station



Recently, I judged a Kauffman-sponsored Lean Startup weekend and before announcing the winners, I asked how many thought their startup would be further along if they were living in Silicon Valley. The results were mixed: one-third said yes, one-third said no and the remaining just shuffled in their seats, waiting for me to simply announce the winners and stop pressing them for free market research.

So while the proverbial jury is still out, let me proffer at least five reasons why startup life may be better outside the iconic Silicon Valley.

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In the recent article about the “Dos And Don’ts For On-Boarding Walkthroughs On Mobile,” I covered an important part of on-boarding, namely walkthroughs. Make sure to read it for the bigger on-boarding picture.

Today I will run through different communication channels like email, app notifications and SMS in order to keep up the momentum that your app has created throughout the sign-up and following walkthrough. Read More…


“Transparency” has become a buzzword in the startup world. Many companies are sharing things previously deemed top secret—their web traffic sources, employee compensation, and project management processes.

This is great. It allows those in the startup world to build a community, help each other, and ultimately make more companies successful.

Even so, there are many leaders that believe this sort of sharing could drag them down. When I was a student entrepreneur, I was always worried that leaking my company secrets would put us at risk. I reasoned that if our competitors knew how we did business, it would be easier for them to overtake us.

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Crowdfunding Short

Crowdfunding is democratizing entrepreneurship.

Last December, a portal desktop computer – that anyone can assemble – called Kano raised $1.5 million on Kickstarter. In July 2014, Bug-A-Salt, a toy like shotgun that shoots salt blasts to kill insects, raised more than half-a-million on Indiegogo.

What these projects have in common is that consumers wanted them – and were willing to pay to have them developed from an entrepreneur’s imagination.

In the last 3 years, the crowdfunding economy has more than tripled to more than $5.1 billion.

But what’s hard to imagine is that this market is still in its infancy. The crowdfunding economy is about to undergo a dramatic shift. Keep reading to learn why. Read More…


This post originally appeared on AndrewChen.co

Every entrepreneur wants to believe their product is taking on a big market. Sometimes they’re kidding themselves.

If they are making something fun, they’ll say- “we’re competing against TV! The market is huge!” If they are making something utilitarian and functional, they’ll say, “everyone wants to save time- there’s millions of people who want that!”

Or worse, they’ll combine two products that have big markets – Facebook and eBay, let’s say – and think “FB is huge, and eBay is huge, so a social network for auctioneers would also be huge!” Read More…

Lone woman

This post originally appeared on Feld.com

My various posts on depression and my struggles with it generate a wide range of emails, some with suggestions, some with questions, and some with empathy. The following question is an example of what I get regularly. Read More…

Mobile Phone

I wrote a very short introduction to the topic a little while ago. This time around we are going into further detail.

On-boarding is the very middle part of a “triptych” like user journey, centered within user acquisition and user optimization. Since it sits in the very middle it is a pivotal part that acts as a guide pole for customer optimization and lays the groundwork for business growth. Each of these 3 steps of the user journey do not exist in a vacuum of their own but rather build on the groundwork or achievements of the previous one. Read More…


It’s hard to believe that Women 2.0 is now more than 7 years old. In just a few short years, the concept has evolved from a ‘women in tech’ conference to a networking lifeline for female entrepreneurs from all over the world. The company has grown to feature a blog network, regular conferences, pitch events, monthly meet-ups, investor hangouts, and weekly live broadcasts. It’s the reason why so many female entrepreneurs feel empowered to pursue their dreams.

How did this media empire come to be? What role did online content play in bringing entrepreneurs together? Learn from the co-founder herself — now director of growth at Hackbright Academy, a coding school for women — Angie Chang.
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I have unwittingly made some bad decisions in my 28 years on this earth, but everyday I make better decisions. Reflecting on this, it is clear that making the right calls, large and small, requires certain prerequisites and a thoughtful decision-making process. These considerations are especially important in a startup, where you will never have perfect information when making a decision.

The success or failure of your startup results from nothing more than the series of small, medium and large decisions that you act on — make more right decisions than wrong decisions and your startup will succeed. In my experience, the best startup decisions have come when I’ve had certain prerequisites in place and have followed a thoughtful decision-making process.
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Brian Wong is one of the coolest entrepreneurs you’ll ever come across. He holds the record for being the youngest person (ever) to raise VC. He launched his tech career running publisher and tech partnerships for social news website Digg.com, where he grew the site’s mobile presence by launching the Digg Android mobile app.

In 2010, Brian founded Kiip, a category-creating mobile rewards network that is redefining mobile advertising through an innovative platform that leverages “moments of achievement” in games and apps to simultaneously benefit users, developers and advertisers. Backed by Hummer Winblad, Relay Ventures, True Ventures, Verizon Ventures, and American Express, the company has raised $15.4 million in funding to date.

In 2013, we had the chance to interview Brian about his experiences raising VC and defining the Kiip brand. One year later, he’s another year wiser, and we’re ready to check in.

Here’s Brian’s story continued – how the youngest person to raise VC has refined Kiip’s focus, overcome his company’s greatest challenges, and built a clear path for his company’s growth. Read More…

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