Tag Archives: startup grind

SiliconHouse Launches, Provides Housing for Entrepreneurs

SiliconHouse_LogoI’ve hear more than once from startup founders that come to Silicon Valley that housing is one of the biggest challenges they face. Especially for those that only want to stay here a month or so to build their networks, make some presentations, and get back home. If ‘home’ is a foreign country, then the issue of housing is compounded by the fact that for many foreigners the Silicon Valley culture and way of life might seem weird and getting their bearings and learning how to best user their time is not easy.

With this in mind, SiliconHouse is trying to change the equation and provide not only a place to stay but also some guidance on how to navigate the Silicon Valley startup scene.

Check out my full post about SiliconHouse at the Startup Grind website.


How Important is Culture at a Startup

Charging for Coffee

I remember the day when a former senior executive from ATT came to talk to us at the MBA program and he had an interesting story. After a successful career at ATT he was asked to help turn around a struggling startup. They were bleeding money, had to cut their losses fast and either close shop or somehow convince the investors that there was a light at the end of the tunnel.

One of the first things he did when he arrived was to convene a town hall style meeting. All employees came to the cafeteria, and he and the senior managers stood in front of a microphone to take questions and communicate the coming changes. You could feel the stress in the air and cut the tension with a knife. The first question he was asked as about the vending machines. “What will happen to the vending machines” someone asked from the back. All eyes were on him. He knew that his answer would define him in the eyes of employees as a friend or foe. The CFO, next to him, was calm, she thought she knew the answer to the question. They talked before about the cost structure, where the money was going and what non-essential items would have to be cut. For the CFO this answer was a no-brainer.

“Right now, I don’t see a reason to remove or change anything related to the vending machines” he answered. The CFO almost choked as she looked at him with that “are you F… crazy?” look. But the employees were relieved and the rest of the meeting went well. In the eyes of the employees he was now OK.

What is Your Culture

Culture is not something you can buy, you have to build it slowly and consistently. Who you hire will help determine the type of culture of your company as will the policies, the benefits, and the perks you put in place.

Read more about startup culture and the right and wrong things to do in my recent post at Startup Grind titled Why Culture Matters, Even In Your Startup. I hope you enjoy!

In What Do You Believe?

Before I decided to quit my day job, move to San Francisco and work on my startup I had many conversations with my co-founder about our beliefs. Maybe because we were both coming from a corporate culture that we thought was broken, or because we had aspirations of becoming a great place to work we talked about what we believed would  be the best way to treat employees, the right way to serve customers, and what was the pain we believed the market had and that we could solve with our product.

My recent post at Startup Grind, The Secret for Success: Believe, discusses these issues. Head there to read the full story and to contribute to the discussion.

Calacanis at His Best!

Vaporware Labs hosted another night of Startup Grind, an event that has grown to hosting over 200 people since its humble beginnings of a handful of entrepreneurs exchanging stories at the company’s office in Mountain View, CA.

Last night we had the pleasure of seeing a fireside chat between Jason Calacanis (famed entrepreneur beste known for Silicon Alley Reporter, WebLogs, Mahalo, and his controversial comments in the startup world) and Derek Andersen (Vaporware Labs). Jason talked about the early beginnings of the Techcrunch 50 conference, his early days at the Silicon Alley Reporter, and the characteristics of a good startup founder. Jason was also nice enough to hang out long after the talk was over and didn’t fuss about being harassed by the mob of startup geeks that formed around him. Thanks, Jason!!!

The whole event was recorded and will be uploaded to Youtube shortly, so I’ll link to it when is live. Definitely worth seeing.

Startup Grind hosts monthly meetings and it’s free. Check out upcoming events at their meetup site: http://www.meetup.com/Startup-Grind/

UPDATE: The video is up, see link below.