10 rules for startups

Loic Le Meur, a serial entrepreneur who founded the very popular French blog hosting site, uBlog, has been a long standing evangelist for putting ideas out there, in full public view. The Financial Times published an article “Share ideas to the Maximum”, where Loic put forward his 10 rules for entrepreneurs who want to be successful in business.

image I have argued against the current rage of “stealth mode” start-ups. Companies can lose out on a great opportunity to talk to their users and customers when they plunge ahead with product development without any intermediate live validation. I have seen a few start ups who unveiled their fantastic product to the market only to realize that there were other companies with similar products that were in some cases even better designed. Others have found that technology had skipped a generation between the time they started to build their product, until when they were ready to release it, and that operating systems or other key pieces of software were no longer compatible with their killer apps. While there might be a few cases where stealth is warranted or justified, most entrepreneurs stand to gain much more by getting their products under the bright lights as early as possible.

Loic Le Meur’s 10 rules of business success are:

● Don’t wait for a revolutionary idea. It will never happen. Just focus on a simple, exciting, empty space and execute as fast as possible

● Share your idea. The more you share, the more you get advice and the more you learn. Meet and talk to your competitors.

● Build a community. Use blogging and social software to make sure people hear about you.

● Listen to your community. Answer questions and build your product with their feedback.

● Gather a great team. Select those with very different skills from you. Look for people who are better than you.

● Be the first to recognize a problem. Everyone makes mistakes. Address the issue in public, learn about and correct it.

● Don’t spend time on market research. Launch test versions as early as possible. Keep improving the product in the open.

● Don’t obsess over spreadsheet business plans. They are not going to turn out as you predict, in any case.

● Don’t plan a big marketing effort. It’s much more important and powerful that your community loves the product.

● Don’t focus on getting rich. Focus on your users. Money is a consequence of success, not a goal.



Interview: Sean Malatesta of India Games

Interview with Sean Malatesta, VP Americas, India Games Ltd.
Contributed by Barbara Bickham, CEO, Techgenii

indiagames logoBarbara Bickham spoke with Sean Malatesta of India Games, regading the company, its global plans, the games they are developing and the challenges of the mobile gaming market. The company has offices in India and Los Angeles.

1. What is your role at India Games?

indiagames chessSean Malatesta is the Vice President for the Americas of India Games. He is in charge of the entire business for the Americas. This includes Licensing, Carrier Relations, Game Creation, Marketing and Sales, and Production. He is also now CEO of IG FUN LLC, the new publishing unit of Indiagames in Europe and The Americas.

2. What are some of the barriers to entry or challenges for your company?

For mobile gaming there is not always a clear marketing path. It is clear, however, that “The Carriers are our retailers.” says Malatesta. The company feels that they need to work with carriers on consumer education. We’re still dealing with discovery issues: Consumers need to know that such product exists and how to get the product from the carrier. This education should be all encompassing; explaining to consumers how to do it every step of the way.

3. Was NBC’s The Office Games widely adopted by consumers?

“Yes. We did Co-marketing with Circuit City, NBC Home Video and In Cinema Advertisements. In the future sales may come easier as customers will understand how to get product.” says Malatesta.

4. Could you tell me more about India Games? Is it a Global Company?

India Games has just gone through a change of ownership; now with UTV an Indian media company. American companies, Adobe and Cisco own roughly 10% each of the company. There are Offices in India, Los Angeles, Beijing and London.

5. What types of Games does the company develop?

indiagames spiderman gameIndia Games has creates many branded and unbranded titles; Hollywood, Action and Casual. Some examples are: Bruce Lee - Iron Fist, NBC’s The Office Games, Predator, Godzilla and the upcoming Rush Hour 3.

6. What about Mobile Video Game Rating?

According to Malatesta, “Not a major concern now. The carriers are our big box retailers and they are doing a good job; carriers are selective about the games that go onto their decks.” The industry is already “self policing”.

7. Any challenges with the handsets and porting games to the different handsets?

India Games believes that it is a part of doing business. As an analogy “It’s like making shoes. One size does not fit all. There are many different shoe types and many different shoe sizes.” states Malatesta.

8. What is the future of Mobile Gaming?

Recognize the medium we are in. This isn’t console gaming; this is mobile phone gaming; it’s got to be simple to understand. Multi-Player games will work well if they play easily, fast and are designed elegantly. 3D games may work best if they are simple and fun. The user needs to be able to easily understand the game, navigate within the game and for have fun playing the game.” says Malatesta.

9. What are the plans for India Games?

India games will continue to market and promote games to enlarge exposure and revenues. Most people think that once the game is placed on deck, that’s the end; It’s just the beginning for marketing and proper retail merchandising. They are working with their retail partners to help consumers understand how to buy the titles that they want.

India Games is working to import and export titles to and from the United States. They have global, regional and local titles. Some of the titles will not import or export well. They work with their partners to co-market or do cutting-edge marketing to get the message out about the new title. “This is not easy and can be expensive; Hollywood does it every week for its movies; it can be an expensive line item.” says Malatesta.

“Again, Carriers are our retailers. Carriers are willing to work more with their partners to promote games content. Innovative creatives, titles and marketing will succeed. The feeling that I get from carriers is that they are very helpful and want to help companies with content on their decks succeed.�? states Malatesta.

With their wealth of titles and success of The Office, India Games is positioned to make mobile games easier for consumers to buy and enjoy.


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TiECon Southwest: Promod Haque - the man with the golden touch

Anatomy of a Conference: Day D-1

ImageTiECon Southwest 2007 Entrepreneurship Now New Next is tomorrow and is expected to sell out.

The closing keynote of the day will be delivered by Promod Haque of Norwest Ventures. The man with the Midas touch, millionaire maker - call him what you will. The guy is known not just for picking the right investments, but for being super involved in his companies, and extending to them the benefit of his expertise, and assuring that they become winners!

Promod Haque relationship chart investments


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TiECon Southwest: Andy Bird and the magic of Disney

Anatomy of a Conference: Day D-2

andy bird president disney international tiecon southwest 2007Magic has many languages, and Andy Bird, President of Disney International is spreading the message of the Disney story to countries far and wide. From Europe and Japan, to China, Russia and India, Disney is bringing its unique brand of entertainment to the far reaches of the world.

Andy Bird will present the second Keynote at the upcoming TiECon Southwest 2007, on September 15th at Anaheim.

We expect Andy will present his vision of where he sees the future of entertainment going, and how he sees Disney fitting into the global picture.

On a personal note, Andy Bird was gracious enough to accommodate a last minute change in the TiECon conference schedule. An icon and a super guy, how often does that happen?

The first keynote of the TiECon will be delivered by Sean “Facebook” Parker in a chat with Raj “Selectica” Jaswa.

Plus the day is crammed with several exciting panels on Media and Entertainment, Doing business in India, Venture Capital, Entrepreneurship 101, Future Technology and Life Sciences.

disney club penguin


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