Perspective, Pontification and Propoganda about Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital, brought to you by David Hornik of August Capital.

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julien.genestoux.myopenid.com

Totally agree with this : "Great entrepreneurs would do a better job running the competition than their competitors are doing" ... and I would say that most entrepreneurs should start their business specifically because they think that their competitor have either a bad vision or a bad execution of it!

julien.genestoux.myopenid.com

By the way, commenting on you blog is a real pain : Yahoo's OpenId is not suported and you should definetely add another way of login!

oren

Very valid point.

The flip side of this is that you should be careful in reading too much, and reacting too quickly to competitors that, like you, have yet to launch and operating "in stealth".

At that phase there are bound to be companies that sound very similar (and might actually be) but it's usually a massive waste of time and a dangerous strategy to try to position against them. More on this at: http://orenlosophy.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/competitive-analysis-early-stage-startups/

I've always found that when pitching your business you can acknowledge there are other teams that appear to be doing something similar but it's too early to worry about them (it's important to acknowledge it though)

William Pietri

Great point.

When I see people who haven't done that, I suspect hubris or fear. To keep a watchful eye on your competition takes both humility and bravery, both useful qualities for building something great. Not that a little arrogance doesn't come in handy, too.

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Julien et al... I just enabled Yahoo OpenId (as well as wordpress.com openId) log in to VentureBlog. Comment away!

Uday Subbarayan

Totally agree.

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you will go to the left most lane in the freeway and will overtake them.

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-Uday.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/1U9xwAADyO2zI1Szv9Ozf5MWZw.S#2dfc8

This is a very timely article. My partner and I just met with a patent lawyer here in Los Angeles and discussed both defensive and offensive strategies to employ in protecting our intellectual property. Being that we are both from an engineering background and fairly new at the game we always concentrated on learning more about how to create our patents and how to protect our technology.

Today, we just got introduced to defensive strategies where we have to carefully analyze the patents of our competitors (or the state of the art) and see what the claims are so we avoid future infringements as well as gain another competitive edge over them from a defensive perspective.

I definitely think that competitors although mostly new themselves can teach you about your business and help you improve how you think about problems. This is not to say you should not be innovative technologically (offensive) as that is the basis of successful disruptive start-ups

stevet.myopenid.com


It is so true that in every meeting with companies seeking to raise capital, they really try to avoid this section, or provide very poor explanations as to how they are unique.

These tips should be given to every company, before they embark on raising capital.

https://me.yahoo.com/a/gJnaSj4bhu3Vq3I9UkdWv8KW65patKwbHitWj5gt#fc828

Dave,
While it is important to keep tabs on every move from the competition, it becomes extremely hard to track stealth mode startups until you come across them during conversation with a customer / partner.

For example, I could have never thought of a mobile advertising company that does device-based ad insertion by interfacing with the mobile OS through a proprietary chip! Every enterpreneur tries to position his / her company uniquely and I concur that the most important skillset needed from a founder is to understand the value-proposition clearly and be able to defend it while talking about competition, may be it a Google or a garage-based startup.

Cheers,
Srini (GoldSpot Media)

https://me.yahoo.com/a/hYbD7DllsZR2fpE9QJSCZxG2FM0-#75d69

Great pointer David.
Another bit of advice to young start-ups...financial forecast.
Why is that an overwhelming majority of financial forecasts predict profitability in the 4th quarter of the calendar year? is there something magical in the start-up universe?

https://me.yahoo.com/a/hUrZaasa0ZB6ieFQ6D.6aHcLaNVP4Lzfpg--#0eb09

Fascinating post. I like your point about how entrepreneurs can really emphasize their intelligence and abilities to "out-think" their competition by really portraying their understanding of a market to vc's. The question becomes... what are the steps to identifying your competitive landscape. Yes, products and services are obviously focal points of determining this. I think one thing that is overlooked is the ideal client profile. Which companies target the same client profile that you do? This includes looking at the demographic characteristics of an ideal client as well as their pyschographic characteristics. Here is more information about what I'm talking about. Great post though! www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2

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Why is that an overwhelming majority of financial forecasts predict profitability in the 4th quarter of the calendar year? is there something magical in the start-up universe?

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