Sean Parker


Five Quora answers every startup founder should read

3:54AM | Monday, 24 March

Quora is a treasure trove of great advice for entrepreneurs. The Q and A site can be a terrific resource for your own questions, but its real value lies in the expertise thousands of existing answers.   Here are some of the top Quora answers every founder should read.   Q: How do you size up opportunity cost when deciding to start a startup?   Drew Houston, Dropbox cofounder/CEO:   There’s a full post, but here’s the highlights:   A: Rhetoric aside, most successful entrepreneurs I'm aware of either explored their idea and market carefully, or have toyed with a side project that happened to show massive and unexpected early promise and only then evolved formally into a company (Facebook, Google and many others fall into this category). Few were truly "leaps of faith – entrepreneurs tend not to seek out risk but are rather comfortable with uncertainty.   Dropbox got started in my spare time while working at another startup (be careful about properly separating intellectual property and such). My excitement grew quickly as I validated the idea with real people; jumping ship before that would have been unnecessarily reckless.   But it is possible to hedge your bets too much. The Facebook Effect (2010 book) amusingly recounts how Sean Parker begged Mark Zuckerberg to stop working on Wirehog (file sharing concept) as Zuck still wasn't sure this Facebook thing (even then one of the fastest growing websites on the planet) was going to pan out.   Q: What is the perfect startup team?   Bill Gross, CEO of Idealab:   A: The perfect startup needs a complementary team:   It needs a passionate and driven visionary who is the product person.   It needs a capable execution skill that can deliver the product or service against that vision.   It needs the people skills to make sure that the best staff are recruited and retained, and so that conflict in the company is resolved.   It needs administrative skill to make sure as the company grows the wheels stay on. (This skill can come a bit later – it’s not needed on day one.)   These skills do not need to be present in four distinct people, but most often it takes at least two, and usually three or four to lead these areas.   Q: What separates the top 10% of startup CEOs from the rest?   Robert Scoble, Rackspace   There’s a full list, but here is the first:   A: Good at hiring and firing. Whenever you find a really great CEO, you find someone who has a knack for hiring. That means selling other people on your dream or your business, especially when it doesn't seem all that important or seems very risky. I used to work for a CEO who was awesome at hiring, but couldn't fire anyone. It doomed the business. Many of the best CEOs get others to follow no matter what.   Q: What are the early symptoms that a startup is going to fail?   William Petri, serial entrepreneur There’s a full list of 10 great reasons, but here’s the first:   A: No demonstrated user need. For example, consider 3D movies and TV. If you ask people why they sometimes prefer stage to screen, nobody ever says, "Oh, movies are only 2D". 3D tech has novelty value, but even a little user testing would show its pushers that most people are perfectly happy to go back to 2D movies after experiencing 3D, and that many actively avoid 3D. That wasn't the case when sound or colour or fancier special effects were added.   Q: What is the proper definition of a startup?   Dave McClue, Tech investor   A 'startup' is a company that is confused about:   1. What its product is.   2. Who its customers are.   3. How to make money.   As soon as it figures out all three things, it ceases being a startup and becomes a real business.   Except most times, that doesn't happen.

Google Ventures could be heading Down Under

2:50AM | Tuesday, 26 February

Tech giant Google is considering launching its start-up investment funding arm in Australia, a report suggests, but there’s no official word on if or when Google Ventures is expected to arrive.

Sean Parker’s Airtime faces downtime amid “toxic” start-up climate

3:59AM | Tuesday, 12 March

Tech entrepreneur Sean Parker has described the current climate in Silicon Valley as “the most toxic time ever” for his latest start-up Airtime, which is struggling to take off.

Five leading entrepreneurs’ worst stuff-ups

8:45AM | Tuesday, 7 August

Having a big name involved in your start-up is likely to draw investor and media attention to your business, but it’s unlikely to sustain it in the long term.

Sean Parker’s Airtime fails to take flight

8:36AM | Friday, 3 August

Napster founder Sean Parker’s high profile doesn’t appear to be working its magic with Airtime, amid reports the start-up is struggling to attract users.

Microsoft’s $1.2 billion Yammer purchase hints at acquisition strategy

6:43AM | Tuesday, 26 June

US-based start-up Yammer will join the Microsoft Office Division after being acquired for $1.2 billion by the tech giant, highlighting Microsoft’s shift into the tech start-up space.

Napster founders launch video chat start-up Airtime

6:43AM | Wednesday, 6 June

Napster founders Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning have launched a new video chat start-up called Airtime, but Australian-founded live video network Kondoot says it isn’t worried by the new market entrant.

Facebook’s cashed-up backers turn their sights to start-ups

5:39AM | Monday, 21 May

Facebook’s much-hyped float saw its shares gain just 0.97% to end at $US38.37, but the IPO looks set to be a boon for start-ups, as the company’s cashed-up founders and early investors look to sink funds into ventures such as Quora and Crowdmob.

Zuckerberg to raise $US1 billion in Facebook IPO

5:14AM | Sunday, 6 May

Facebook has finally set a price range for its upcoming initial public offering, telling the market it plans to sell shares at between $US28-$US35, in a move that will vastly increase the fortunes of chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and a score of other shareholders.

10 great lessons to take from SXSW 2012

3:01AM | Thursday, 15 March

The South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, is an annual magnet for business innovators and start-ups hoping to strike it big.

10 buzz phrases your start-up should never use

5:31AM | Wednesday, 2 May

It’s natural that start-ups keen to follow in the footsteps of on-trend businesses will begin to adopt their behaviour, down to the language they use.

Sean Parker hits out over “ridiculously overfunded” start-ups

11:51AM | Wednesday, 16 November

Tech entrepreneur Sean Parker has hit out at US investors by labeling small start-ups as "ridiculously overfunded".

The rise of the New York tech scene and terrible VC meetings

6:12AM | Friday, 3 June

Want to make it big in New York with your web start-up? Well, according to NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, now is the time to do it.

The top 10 start-up billionaires

3:53PM | Sunday, 13 March

The world’s major economies may have struggled to get back to pre-GFC growth levels last year, but the world’s wealthiest people appear to have been nicely insulated.