Mark Suster’s recent blog post on the Importance of Proprietary Deal flow is causing a stir among entrepreneurs and VC’s alike. He explains why he doesn’t always get his best ledes from bankers or “demo days,” writing:
“I like to watch how they respond to set-backs and adversity. I like to see how they improve their products when there are obvious holes. I like to debate with them how they will land customers and how they deal with the press. I judge based on their ability to attract their fellow teammates and what choices they make. And I listen to the reasons their co-founders quit their well-payed job to join them. I like to hear their passion for the idea. I love complexity. And non-conventional ideas. I love when other investors “don’t get it.” I love businesses that don’t lend themselves well to VC Panels at conferences or Demo Days.”
Mark Suster has joined us for a Media Council breakfast in LA and our International Council Summit in New York. Watch as he explains the value of “free” for our Media Council in LA last year.
I didn’t even realize how big the brand journalism thing had gotten until I got canned,” Bennett says. That’s when other brands trying to do journalism started to ask for her thoughts on the matter. Consumers are getting smarter about traditional advertising and marketing, she adds, and some companies are taking the unorthodox approach of directly employing journalists—whose ideas and copy they don’t directly control—to cover their brand or community. “Sixteen-year-old kids can see through some rewritten press release bullshit in a way their parents might not have been able to,” Bennett says. “Consumers are savvier, which is where I think some of the drive to hire journalists for some of this content comes from.” For reporters and editors tired of layoffs and buyouts, these jobs offer a middle ground between journalism and copywriting, a way to take home a decent paycheck without feeling like you’ve sold out completely.But how do you make independent journalism when your boss is a brand, not a media company? I had some #realtalk with Jess Bennett about the demise of Tumblr Storyboard. (via annfriedman)
The next time we want to run the race toward closure, to be the first to tweet or post or report, to follow the first thing we hear because it seems so believable, we’d do well to consider the lessons of Boston….The need for cognitive closure is a powerful force. But a need is neither a mandate nor an excuse.Maria Konnikova explains why human beings quickly seek closure in a crisis, and what we can learn from the misinformation that plagued professional news outlets during the Boston bombings (via newyorker)
As recently as the year 2000, only one-quarter of all the world’s stored information was digital. The rest was preserved on paper, film, and other analog media. But because the amount of digital data expands so quickly — doubling around every three years — that situation was swiftly inverted. Today, less than two percent of all stored information is nondigital.The Rise of Big Data | Foreign Affairs (via thisistheverge)
Writer Leo Widrich offers a sneak peek at the next wave of productivity apps that top entrepreneurs like Tim Ferriss, Seth Godin, and Guy Kawasaki are working with daily.
Recently something terribly obvious—yet powerful—occurred to me: If you want to achieve things that no one else has done, you need to do things no one else does.
So, I thought, who achieves things that very few do? I made a list of the top 10 entrepreneurs that I learn from daily. Then I thought, which things are they doing that could really help more people? When I emailed the idea to my Fast Company editor, she came back with something I found valuable:
“One of the problems that crops up is that a lot of people get back with “I love Twitter, Dropbox, and Evernote!” Those are great tools, but might not add that much value for our readers.”
I thought that observation was spot-on. So instead, I asked my favorite entrepreneurs their absolute favorite, yet very little-known tools, they use to achieve everyday tasks.
After lots of correspondences and digging deep into these entrepreneurs’ toolkits, here are their unedited answers:
Tim Ferriss’s top tool: Jumpcut
Tim Ferriss is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The 4-Hour Workweek. Tim is the master of finding unique lifehacks and techniques to help you live a smarter life. The one online tool he absolutely can’t live without is Jumpcut:
“I can’t live without Jumpcut, which saves my ass all the time. Have you ever cut and pasted two or three things, and lost a hugely important thing that you cut first? Jumpcut, which is free, allows you to store (and easily retrieve) 40+ copied or cut things from your clipboard.”
Michael Hyatt’s top tool: Clicky
Michael Hyatt is the New York Times best-selling author of Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World and he writes one of the best blogs on leadership and productivity that I know. Here is his most treasured online tool:
“My can’t-live-without online tool is Clicky.com. It’s what I use to monitor up-to-the-minute stats on all my websites. It uses Google Analytics, but presents the data in a more useful manner.”
Jay Baer’s top tool: Buffer
Ranked as one of America’s top 5 Social Media consultants and author of Youtility, Jay Baer built an incredible following as one of the most reputable and yet hype-free people in the industry. And he stays on top with the best tools all the time; his choice is Buffer (which—disclaimer time—I’m the cofounder of. Thanks, Jay!):
“Directing people to what I believe to be the most worthy social and content marketing resources every day—for years—is how I built my business. Buffer makes that process of sharing information to audiences so much easier. I can read articles in the morning and add them to my Buffer. From there articles then get posted well spaced out over the day, automatically.”
Hiten Shah’s top tool: Prismatic
One of my favorite tech entrepreneurs is Hiten Shah, cofounder of KISSmetrics, who, if you follow his Twitter feed, constantly inspires with amazing content. The one tool that he said he can’t live without is Prismatic:
“I love to find and share awesome content. Prismatic has made it easier for me to find the best content faster. Now with Prismatic, I don’t have to go to dozens of places to find useful, informative, and awesome content to share.”
Jason Calacanis’ top tool: 15Five
One of the most well-known entrepreneurs, Jason Calacanis has founded several companies to date and is now probably best known for his awesome ThisWeekInTV network. When I asked him for his favorite tool, he replied within a few minutes of sending the email without hesitation:
“15Five is my favorite app because it develops deep relationships on our teams quickly and efficiently. I liked it so much I asked to invest… and they took my money.”
Dharmesh Shah’s top tool: Pocket
There are very few people whose every step they take online I follow along with. Dharmesh, the CTO ofHubSpot, is one of them. He built a massive company with hundreds of people, and what helps him do his best work? He shared this:
“I love GetPocket.com. I’m easily distracted (I have “Hey look, interesting new article on the Internet!” syndrome). Pocket helps me stay focused by deferring things I want to read until later so I don’t break my flow.”
Seth Godin’s top tool: Keynote presenter view
Seth Godin, author of the most amazing books, and recently the Icarus Deception, writes a blog that is the only one I read daily. Asked for the one tool he he can’t live without, he said “the presenter view in Keynote, which shows me my next slide before anyone else sees it. I can’t imagine giving a fluid talk without it.”
Leo Babauta’s top tool: HackerNews
The infamous Leo Babauta writes the phenomenal blogzenhabits and is also author of multiple books. Whenever my day gets slightly too much, reading one of his articles for just a few minutes helps me clear my mind. So what helps Leo to get more inspiration and productivity? This:
“I use Hacker News for inspiration and ideas. I avoid most news sites, social media and other sources of information because there’s too much noise. But HN is curated by a smart group of users, has high signal-to-noise ratio, and is where new ideas and tiny startups are being tested at the street level, unfiltered by the media and mass markets.”
Rand Fishkin’s top tool: TINYpulse
Rand Fishkin is the CEO and cofounder of SEOmoz. Rand also gives some of the best advice for startups and businesses on his personal blog. When I asked him for his favorite, little-known tool, he had a great gem for you:
“One of my very favorite tools is TinyPulse. It sends a very short survey to everyone at Moz, asking two simple questions. It’s an incredibly valuable way to get honest, direct feedback about how things are going culture/team-wise.”
Guy Kawasaki’s top tool: Fantastical
Guy Kawasaki is a man who needs little introduction. He was the chief evangelist at Apple and has since then authored more than 10 books. When I asked him what helps him to keep up with his crazy schedule, this is what he came up with:
“Fantastical. Great way to see and edit your calendar without launching your calendar application and switching to it. Very smart, too: ‘4/24 7 pm Meet with Leo’ would create an event.”
[Image: Flickr user Zechariah Judy]
What is your favorite productivity app and what would you add?
Everyone knows that the Internet has changed how businesses operate, governments function, and people live. But a new, less visible technological trend is proving just as transformative: big data.
A lot of good journalism has centered on poking through vast piles of data to see what can be made of a bunch of numbers. It looks like that kind of reporting may become more common as more information is released and curated.
To promote the Volkswagon Polo in Spain and drive Twitter conversation around the car, the company created a Tweet powered race. When a user tweeted the hashtag #polowers, their name would be placed on a digital racetrack that lived on a micro site. Whoever was in the first position when the Polo stopped would win the car. The race lasted 8 hours, generated 150,000 tweets and reached 10% of Twitter’s global audience in Spain.
It seems to me that this is native advertising as it should be. … The content is genuinely fun, just as it is fleeting and unobtrusive. … These are the sorts of native ad projects that help change some of the traditional polarity of the advertising and publishing relationship. This is where we really see marketers challenged by publishers on behalf of users to make their advertising more fun and engaging on the consumer’s terms.MediaPost: Tumblr Brings Its Native Ad Format To Mobile (via david)