Where do I begin in looking for startup advice online?
I’ve been asked by folks a few times recently what the very best sites out there are to learn about the venture world. First off, let me just say: we’ve come a long way in ten years! In stark contrast to the dot com bubble, there’s now no shortage of great startup resources our there. But now there’s also plenty of schlock and filler. So, what’s the “Wheatiest” of the wheat? After answering off-the-cuff a couple times, I began to realize that my responses were assuming certain criteria. Namely, the sites had to:
- be geared towards entrepreneurs (not primarily for students or observers).
- focus on advice, not reportage or commentary (sorry SAI, Techcrunch, and GigaOM).
- be plainspoken, and explain more insider jargon than it threw out.
Given these criteria, here are my five favorites. All do an amazing job in helping startups succeed. They have my sincerest “thank you” for that.
Nivi and Naval
Don’t let the playful tone fool you. This site has a tremendous breadth of tips, tricks, and documents for startups. And increasingly, it’s a source for connecting with folks in the community (see: AngelList). A tour de force. A “resource” in the classic sense.
Entertaining, human, well-written… and eminently practical advice. He excels at the soft skills – those that don’t have a right answer, or even shared standards. What’s more, he thinks big and small, from “whether to be an entrepreneur” to “when to step up to the whiteboard”.
Amazing, sage advice. Others (including Chris Dixon and Paul Graham on this list) are fundamentally changing the numbers of the venture funding landscape. Fred has almost single-handedly changed the dynamics of the relationship between VCs and entrepreneurs through the power of his blog. My friend Tom called him “the father of VC marketing”, and with good reason. He’s built not just a reader base, but a community.
Negotiating a deal is one of the more nerve-wracking experiences for an entrepreneur, especially a first-time founder. All three of the above sites, and Venture Hacks in particular, cover the terms of a deal. Brad Feld offers plenty of great advice on his blog; but his Term Sheet series in particular is superlative: www.feld.com/wp/archives/2005/08/term-sheet-series-wrap-up.html
(If you need even more intricate discussion on particular terms, www.startupcompanylawyer.com is a wonderful site by Yokum Taku, a lawyer at Wilson Sonsini, the preeminent startup law firm.)
He’s just whip-sharp. If you’re a tech startup in particular, pay attention to his analysis. Simply put: I enjoy every post.
Can’t help myself – there’s a few more I have to mention!
Reads something like a Hitchhikers’ Guide to this galaxy. Random yet always on point, lofty and detailed, intellectual and practical. Spot-on.
500 Startups is beginning to build up quite the suite of advice. I don’t follow Steve Blank’s posts regularly, but have heard good things and probably should. Ben Horowitz’s blog is full of great advice and always entertaining. There’s a ton of other great sites I’m neglecting. For that I’m sorry. But ultimately that’s a great thing – for like I said up top, that means there’s no shortage of amazing resources for startups.