Joel Warns Entrepreneurs

    February 9, 2006

This is a good warning for entrepreneurs. Think that getting talked about on blogs is a good thing?

Joel Spolsky says that this could work against you (talks about 30 Boxes that I found interesting). I don’t agree with Joel’s thesis that people only give companies one chance, but you could have guessed that.

That just hasn’t been proven by history. Lots of products sucked on the first version and then later on went on to be great businesses. Both Macintosh 1984 edition and Windows 1.0 sucked raw eggs, for instance.

It took my dad at least 50 tries before he switched from AltaVista to Google. He thought Google sucked raw eggs when he first saw it.

I found this comment pretty funny, though: “So people aren’t really building calendars to sell to people like me who need calendars: they’re building calendar companies to sell to Yahoo!, which, for some reason, has given up on the old concept of hiring programmers to write code, and is going with this new age concept of buying entire companies on the hopes that they might contain a good programmer or two, which, by the way, is a sure sign of trouble for a technology company.”

I keep hearing that companies like these are built to flip, but when you talk with entrepreneurs in this space, they tell me that’s not their motivation. Now, of course if someone comes and waves a check in their face I’m sure they’ll at least sit down and talk, but that doesn’t seem to be driving the folks behind 30 folders (I asked, believe me!)

Truth is big companies don’t acquire companies unless they have something useful. Believe me, I’m pushing to get a few companies acquired and it’s REALLY HARD. There’s one company that a group of us have been pushing to get acquired and we’ve been working on that for more than a year.

If you really want to get acquired you better be prepared to go it all the way by yourself first. In fact, what makes an acquisition more likely? One thing: a growing pool of passionate customers.

There’s nothing that gets executives at big companies excited more. (Look at the other acquisitions Yahoo has made, for instance. Flickr. Or look at the ones Google has made. Google Earth. Picasa. They all had growing pools of passionate customers/users).

More commentary on Joel’s post is linked to over on Memeorandum.

Robert Scoble is the founder of the Scobleizer blog. He works as’s Vice President of Media Development.

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