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Ben Smith

With all their resources and talent, why do big companies have trouble innovating? How can a Blekko exist when there is a Google? Or a Tapulous when there is an Electronic Arts? Even more puzzling, why couldn’t Yahoo create Facebook with Yahoo 360 instead of losing out to a 20-year-old kid from Harvard? A lot […]
Can you name America’s largest startup? It’s not Facebook or Amazon or even Home Depot. It isn’t even a technology company. This little known giant is the Transportation Security Administration and its massive scale up offers a roadmap for entrepreneurs eager to turn big ideas into sustainable businesses. The secret isn’t just a clear mission […]
One of the biggest misconceptions in technology is that small acquisitions are less risky and require less attention than large ones. It is not true. When Reply bought my company, MerchantCircle, in May it put several of my top execs in key financial and legal roles. The move was a clever way to bridge the […]
Internet startups have been getting cheaper to build for 10 years. So why is it more important than ever not to run out of cash? We built MerchantCircle into one of the 100 most trafficked U.S. sites and I honestly never remember signing a purchase order for more than $10,000. But that doesn’t mean we […]
When gambling on high-risk startups, the more bets you place the better, right? Maybe not. There is an unspoken discussion going on in Silicon Valley now about the value of “Portfolio” versus “Persistence,” especially among people who have never started a company. The claim is that you can improve the odds of a Facebook-like outcome […]
I never met a great entrepreneur who was afraid of failure. Or who didn’t take over-sized risks to win big. This is why many get fired. I spent the first 10 years of my career at A.T. Kearney, a long way from the risk taking that is Silicon Valley. Kearney, at 85, is one of […]
I heard two things recently. “Silicon Valley is a multi-inning game, relationships matter.“ And. “I am all business, I don’t care about relationships.” The first statement came from a seasoned venture capitalist with 20 years of experience. His point is relationships matter because you play with the same people over and over again. The second […]
It is called fishing and not catching, and it is the dirty secret of Silicon Valley. Unless your startup hits a grand slam, or you are its founder, CEO or a key engineer, your post-exit payday isn’t more than a few months salary. Then you may lose your job. So why join a startup? The […]

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