Biz Dev, Entrepreneur, and Dwolla. Previously at Aviary. Forbes Contributor.
Alex has done a bit of this and a bit of that and has shared his journey along the way on his blog. He’s founded SocialRank, he’s co-authored a book, and he’s locked in many deals. Listen up kids, this is the real world of entrepreneurship.
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I've written before about the four reasons why someone would want to partner with your company. They are: you'll make them money, save them money, you'll grow their userbase, or improve their product. Then once you determine what bucket you fall into, the question will be what are their priorities, or what is important to the other side.
Whenever I talk to people who are unhappy at their jobs, whether it be at a bigger co or startup, I try to remind them about the idea of the grass always being greener on the other side.
I read this great Quora answer by Jim Cantrell, the co-founder of SpaceX, where he talks about how Elon Musk learned enough about rockets to run SpaceX. It is a great read. My favorite part is the quote about him having the inability to consider failure.
Today's piece is a guest post from an up-and-coming entrepreneur named Mike Wilner. I met Mike during my time at Dwolla. He is launching a company and thought my blog would be a great place to share the concept and his RocketHub campaign. So without further ado: Mike's post.
Since 2012 I've taught a Skillshare class about Business Development and Partnerships. I eventually put the class on Udemy (which needs a little updating as it still says I work at Dwolla). This past week the fine folks at Coursmos added my class to their database. You can find it here.
This past Thursday I published a post on Medium about how we acquired the .com for SocialRank. It was pretty widely read (over 15k views on Medium stats). It was a detailed account of how it came to be, the good and the bad.
Today's post is one of the longest I've written. You can find it on Medium where it shall live and (hopefully) flourish. I don't think enough people write about acquiring domain issues. It is uncomfortable. But I like discomfort so I wrote a nice long post about it.
I've been a member of Product Hunt for over six months now. In the past two months it has been taking off in the press and in the startup world. Where I used to be asked for an upvote on Hacker News, it is all about asking for upvotes on Product Hunt now.
Earlier this month my buddy Greg McBeth wrote this post about Startup Moneyball. It focused on CEO/founder pay + equity compensation. It's a good piece. It made me think about how one would go about building a startup team using Billy Beane and the Oakland A's original strategy.
We've been quiet at SocialRank for the past 45 days. We'll continue to be quiet for the next few weeks or so. The real magic at startup companies is doing the things nobody sees. On the technical side, the stuff no one sees can be infrastructure architecture, user experience flows (although the end result is experienced) and more.
People always ask me "how can I land this or that job?" Or "how can I land this or that investor?" The key to "landing" that thing you want is usually being able to prove you can do something or that you deserve something before you actually get it.
We live in a world where almost everyone is digitally connected at all times. Being present is hard. I definitely struggle with it. Every single day. It affects my relationship with my wife, my family, my friends. I don't think it is going to get better on its own.
The fear of getting fired is something I know happens all the time but is rarely discussed. In the world of BD I think it happens a little more often than elsewhere because of the nature of the role.
The last few months have been quite the ride. I really haven't had time to take care of myself as well as spend time with family. I went from all-in at Dwolla for almost two years to leaving and starting SocialRank with Michael. There was no time off in between.
I'm very excited to announce that I've co-authored a book called Pitching & Closing with my good friend Ellen DaSilva from Twitter. The book is being published by McGraw Hill, comes out on July 25th, and you can pre-order it now on Amazon.
I like helping people. I like when other people succeed. I also like asking people for help. A year ago I had a post called "What I'm Looking For Right Now." The post was a call for help on an initiative (that became Dwolla Credit) and resulted in a ton of inbound help.
This past week I've been interviewing a few potential summer interns for SocialRank. There is high demand for the upcoming SocialRank Market Intelligence and I need some help this summer figuring out who we should be working with while in early-access.
I recently sent around an early version of a deck I'm using for an upcoming product to some of my investors, friends, and family for feedback/spelling/grammar corrections. I got amazing feedback and improved the presentation over this past weekend.
I remember hitting "peak excuse-making" at the age of 13. It was my bar-mitzvah trip and I went to Israel with my father for a few days. We traveled all around Israel doing activities. I think I complained and made excuse after excuse about why I didn't want to do this and that.
As we announced our first hire at SocialRank today (not BD though), I think it's a good time to do a post about hiring your first BD employee. In fact this past week I had a conversation with a founder looking to hire their first BD employee and was not sure how to go about it.
If you've never worked with reporters or been involved with press announcements you may not know how to deal with timing when going to reporters with news. Over the past few years I've generally learned how to deal with it.
Coming off our seed round of funding announcement yesterday I have a ton of thoughts about fundraising. Right now I'll just share three main thoughts, but expect more posts in the future, because this is an important topic in startup-land and I don't think enough people talk about how to go about it (from the founder side - most are investors or tech bloggers talking to founders or pontificating about how it is done).
Today is a big day for SocialRank. We announced a $1M seed round and an exciting new product called SocialRank Market Intelligence. We are only a few months into running SocialRank but are making some huge strides with our business. If you have a quick second, please share our news.
For the first few months of starting this blog I received about 5-10 pageviews per post. Not many were reading and I mostly wrote for myself. I stuck to it and kept writing. Four times a week, every week. I wrote to express my thoughts and share things I learn as I go through this exciting startup world.
I like when companies only show the tip of the iceberg. What I am referring to is when only part of a company or product is easily observed, but not the rest of it, which is hidden (as when the majority of an iceberg is below the surface).
It's become apparent to me, since founding SocialRank, that there are three very specific drivers that founders have when wanting to start a company and having success around it . The first is a combination of wanting to build something that they need/want/see a market for. Their work is to build something that lasts.
Twitter has an on-boarding problem. This isn't a debate, it is a fact. And while Twitter as a business is taking off, we need to make sure Twitter as a product doesn't screech to a halt. I think a simple way to solve this would be for Twitter to offer the option to build your follower list for you.
Since Tumblr was purchased by Yahoo! I've considered moving this blog to Wordpress. I'm not sure Tumblr is a good long-term home for this blog and was curious what people thought. In terms of actually moving it to Wordpress, how does one port their blog there?
I used to have the problem of doing a lot but getting nothing done. This was when I took more meetings than I even knew what to do with the results of. I had streaks of this at Aviary and Dwolla. I'm trying to change that at SocialRank.
If you've read my blog consistently over the past three and half years you'll notice I don't usually jump into and comment on tech current events. I try to keep it to things I have learned and things I am thinking that relate to startups, BD/partnerships and general entrepreneurship.
We are getting close to hiring a few folks at SocialRank and I've been thinking about recruiting and how there is a fine line between selling the vision of what you plan to become and misleading your prospective employee.