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An entrepreneur recently asked me why we don’t have more B2C startups in town. Consumer startups, as opposed to business ones, have a lower success rate. Much like the movie business, even experts have a hard time telling what’s going to do well financially and what isn’t — it’s a “hits” business. With the continued success of Yik Yak here, there’s a renewed interest, and hope, in more B2C startups locally. What’s the solution? More at bats. More swings. More strikeouts. More hits.
Here are a few thoughts on more at-bats for B2C startups:
- Incubators like Switchyards are working on developing institutional knowledge around what does, and doesn’t work, while catalyzing the community
- More local success will result in more local hires that get exposed to consumer startups, and in turn they’ll start their own companies (success breeds success but there’s a chicken and egg problem to get it going)
- More meetups, experience…
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Last week I was reading an article about a successful entrepreneur that had started an incubator to work on multiple startups simultaneously. Incubators, now called studios or labs, were popularized during the dot com boom, and most failed to work, leaving a negative connotation for many people. Now, the cost to start is 10x cheaper and there are millions of people with mobile broadband connections, making for a different dynamic compared to 15 years ago. While it is still expensive to scale, getting started is easy.
Here are a few ideas why entrepreneurs are drawn to incubators:
- Timing a market is terribly difficult, so having multiple startups running simultaneously increases the chance of finding a fit
- For many (most?) entrepreneurs, the starting part is more fun than the scaling part
- Small, dedicated teams without a legacy customer base can innovate fast, making it more fun to see rapid progress
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