Nov 29, 2010 On Our Blog

The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Conflicting Advice

Joe Heitzeberg, AKA Aquaman (@jheitzeb) is a 500 Startups SuperMentor and Chief Piston at MediaPiston, a new crowdsourcing platform for content projects (pre-launch).  Prior to MediaPiston, Joe was the CTO at and co-founder and CEO of (acquired by in June 2008). Congratulations!  You’ve decided to take the startup leap. One of the best parts? Having 1:1  access to incredibly successful people (especially if you’re working with 500 Startups!) One of the challenges?  Making sense of conflicting advice. I polled some friends and fellow entrepreneurs and they all agreed — you’re going to receive 180-degree conflicting advice on just about every aspect of your company.  I’m not just talking about advice from wantreprenuers, armchair quarterbacks, bankers-who’ve-never-run-companies and your …

Nov 24, 2010 On Our Blog

How to Interview a Designer

Written by Jason Putorti, a 500 Startups SuperMentor, Venture Advisor and Founder of Votizen. The post below is cross-posted from his blog. These are the tenets I give people when they ask me how to evaluate a user experience designer for their startup. It’s not perfect, it’s not a guarantee, but this is my approach: Visual portfolio. Gut check ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Either you like it or you don’t. If you’re not sure what good is, my first filters are information priority (are the first through fifth most important things on the page obvious from the visual weight), information organization (are related ideas near each other), intuitiveness (what you’re supposed to do next), and clarity of copy. Process. “This portfolio looks …

Nov 19, 2010 On Our Blog

Still A Lot Of Love In Your Inbox

Posted by Jared Goralnick, founder of AwayFind. In addition to being a 500 Startups Founder, he is also one of our SuperMentors. Last night 80 people gathered to talk about email at the launch event for Inbox Love.  Turns out that this bleeding-edge 1970’s technology is still in use.  I was lucky enough to organize this alongside 500 Startups and OtherInbox’s Joshua Baer.  We’ll be back together in the spring for a full day, action-oriented event in the Spring.  Stay tuned. Here’s a quick a rundown, and some of my own thoughts on the email space today. The Rundown We met up at Google’s Building 40, had some drinks and snacks, and then sat down for a series of 5-minute Ignite format talks.  …

Nov 16, 2010 On Our Blog

100 Billion Reasons to Build (Kick Ass) Solutions for the Events Industry

Please welcome Christen O’Brien to 500 Startups! Christen recently joined the 500 team as Director of Events. You may recognize her work in recent 500 events such as Warm Gun and SMASH Summit. Look for an exciting 2011 filled with equally awesome events. Why is it that I spend valuable time doing things for our conferences and events that really should be addressed by technology? Here’s why: Because current technology for events sucks. Badly. I’ve been producing events for over ten years and am sad to say that there is still a huge deficit in event technology and I bet that most event producers will tell you the same. Sure, there are a few solutions here and there that work well …

Nov 8, 2010 On Our Blog

What Does that “Business Guy” at Your Startup Do, Anyway?

Meet Plastic Man aka 500 SuperMentor Charles Hudson (@chudson). Charles is the Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games, a new mobile games startup. Prior to Bionic Panda Games, Charles was the VP of Business Development at Serious Business (acquired by Zynga in February 2010) and the founder of Third Power LLC (acquired by WebMediaBrands in December 2009), the company behind some of the most successful conferences in the virtual goods and free-to-play games markets. Charles also held BD and product roles at IronPort Systems (now part of Cisco), Gaia Online, and Google. Congratulations! You’re the business guy at a hot new startup. It’s Day 1. What are you supposed to do to validate the investors’ and management team’s decision to bring …

Nov 4, 2010 On Our Blog

Harsh Realities From 500 Startups Founders

OnStartups recently published an article entitled “The 11 Harsh Realities Of Being An Entrepreneur.” Certainly all of them hit home for anyone who’s ever tried to start a company. So a few of the 500 Startups founders decided to share real examples to back up each of these harsh realities. With all of the splashy headlines, stories, and buzz surrounding startups, very little of it serves to shine a light on the heaps of blood, sweat, and tears that go into building a company from scratch. How there are probably many more failures and mistakes than the media makes it out to be. How un-glamorous startup life really is. If you’re feel discouraged after reading this, don’t be! Rather, take …

Nov 3, 2010 On Our Blog

Livin’ La Vida Startup – in Beantown

Meet Optimus Prime, aka 500 SuperMentor Roy Rodenstein. Roy co-founded, a pioneering startup in local events and ticketing acquired by AOL in 2009, and led product and online marketing. Before that he led product marketing at a search startup acquired by IBM, and was a researcher at the MIT Media Lab. Roy (@royrod) was a founding member of HackerAngels and blogs at In this post, Roy gives you a taste of what the startup environment and startup life is like in Beantown (Boston). Driving up 101, looking at the mountains off in the distance. Ads for engineer jobs in the billboards on the highway. A pool in every apartment complex. Hearing “try” for the first time. Biking …