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Entrepreneurship

  • 4 ways to still be effective during holiday leave

    Looking to log-off but stay connected this holiday season? Whether you’re going to be travelling locally or abroad, working from home, or having a "Staycation" we’ve got four ways for you to make your time out of the office seem as if you haven’t missed a beat. As much as we love to deny it, today’s generation of online professionals are workaholics. We wake up and check our emails over our morning coffee, we monitor our projects on our lunch break, we network after work, and we tweet our industry news while brushing our teeth. The concept of an eight-hour workday...

  • Scaling: Don’t become a victim of your own success

    A common issue with online startups is that they only start thinking about scalability once their site goes down. Many of the big startups also experience this phenomenon (e.g Twitter, Tumbler). They take note and spring into action only once the issue has occurred, which almost always has a detrimental effect on the user experience. Unexepected traffic spikes that could be generated by something as simple as a post on a reputable tech news site can bring your site to its knees almost instantaneously. In that brief moment of fame, your site crashes and all those potential new readers/customers/fans...

  • What a startup can learn from a restaurant menu

    It's often said that one of the biggest challenges for an entrepreneur is focus. Naturally, this is coupled with multiple challenges like cash flow, growth management, and your general sanity. It's also said that the great thing about being an entrepreneur is the freedom that comes with it. However, that freedom is largely illusionary unless you are running a lifestyle company or you've hit the megabucks early. Most entrepreneurs find themselves shackled by other responsibilities: Responsibility for the talent in the organisation, strategic direction of the company, trying to build more with less, the demanding pace of the new startup...

  • Developing a great idea into a business

    Being able to make something doesn’t mean you’re an entrepreneur, being able to make a business out of it does. I’ve met many great developers across Africa, some who would be considered "top of the class" in any country in the world. Unfortunately, some confuse starting a company for running a business. It’s easy to get a legal entity, a company name and even a prototype out into the market. It’s hard to earn money off of that idea, even enough to make it self-sustaining, much less profitable. I can think of a couple reasons why this might be. Sometimes I...

  • Can entrepreneurship be taught?

    For decades, entrepreneurship has been viewed as something risky and mysterious that only a few lucky mavericks could master. This perception has been fuelled by a public reverence for successful individuals, who seem to have had no formal training to which their entrepreneurial success could be attributed. Some educational institutions have also shunned or quashed entrepreneurship as a non-discipline, something unteachable and incongruous with traditional discipline-based courses. Whilst the significance of entrepreneurship for a country’s economy is rarely disputed, the much-debated question is whether entrepreneurship is an elusive and exclusive "talent" that is inherent in some, or whether it can...

  • Yammer founder on PayPal: Understanding the power of virality…

    I spent an evening last week with the founders of the private social network Yammer, Box.net, and Zendesk, and I wanted to share a conversation I had with Yammer co-founder David Sacks and his pedigree at PayPal. I have a fascination with PayPal and its alumni because they have gone on to build and invest in some of Silicon Valley's top companies: YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Zynga and many more. Here's a partial list of...

  • Why Angel funding is killing innovation

    I'm a fan of Max Levchin and his fellow Paypal alumni because this group has spent the past five years creating many of the more interesting Silicon Valley startups. Levchin recently sold Slide to Google and he is an investor in Yelp and several other startups. And he is still young and has a lot more to add to his Wikipedia page before he is done. Levchin writes on his blog, but only very...

  • How to find the right lawyer for your startup

    Choosing a tech-savvy lawyer for your startup isn't easy, but it's critical that you find the right person. Not all-self proclaimed web startup lawyers are equal, and some can do more harm than good. Figuring out how code and law fit together requires a great deal of curiosity and experience, and an ability to see the big picture. You will often find 21st-century lawyers playing with new technologies that don't have an obvious business case for lawyers, yet. They are just curious. The best lawyers for startups that I know move easily between worlds; helping non-profits that fight for a...

  • Samasource CEO on bridging the digital divide and creating a global meritocracy

    While aid programs in developing countries are ubiquitous, precious few empower the people they’re trying to help on a sustainable, ongoing basis. One that bucks this trend is Samasource, a non-profit based in San Francisco that distributes digital work from large US multinationals in manageable chunks to poor but educated workers in developing countries such as Kenya, Uganda, India, Pakistan and Haiti. Samasource workers do basic digital work required by US companies that American workers wouldn’t necessarily be willing to do. For example, Google Maps has local business information that changes when a company moves, expands or shut down....

  • Why Silicon Valley is only part of California’s innovative success

    California seems to be on a constant roller-coaster of events – technological, economic and social. Strangely enough, the state keeps moving on as the American epicentre of high-tech industry. To technological entrepreneurs, California is synonymous with Silicon Valley, a place where brain-rich can become money-rich. To movie lovers, California is synonymous with Hollywood, where real life can become fantasy. In the 1980s, Silicon Valley defined California’s economy in particular and America in general. It was the first time in the history of capitalism when the best brains made the most money. Inheritance was frowned upon as wealth based on sexual...