How to Make the Right Business Decisions

How do we make the right business decisions?  There are 4 factors to consider whenever we have opportunity cost. 1.) Potential Upside     2.) Likelihood of Success     3.) Effort Involved     4.) Strategic Value. See the full presentation & slides below: [slideshare id=63882763&doc=howtomaketherightbusinessdecisions-160710102141] Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.13.33 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.13.49 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.13.59 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.14.13 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.14.28 AM Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 10.14.39 AM      

Lasix And Hypertension

What should the core values for our company Lasix and hypertension, be. Being a HUGE comic buff, I took this as the opportunity to frame our mission and values within the metaphor of an epic adventure. So here is the list of our core values, based on 10 Lessons Startups Can Learn From Superheros. (substitute "Superheros" for "Your StartUp Company")

Superheroes Never Give Up

Like Batman, you have to keep pressing on to the very last breath. Challenges are overcome by wholeheartedly committing to unrelenting persistence.

 

Superheroes Always Get the Job Done

There are no excuses if you don't save the girl from the burning house, lasix and hypertension. There are just results, not reasons, you either save the day or you don't. Gray area is for Kafka not comic hereos.

 

 

 

Superheroes Are the Best at What They Do

Flash is the fastest and we all know it. , aldactone lasix. Lasix and hypertension, If you're the back end developer, you are the best developer in the world, and everyone on your team knows it. Let great talent excel in areas where their superpowers are most needed.

 

 

Superheroes Are Crystal Clear of their Purpose

Captain Marvel may be a cheeseball, but he knows what he stands for. Startups die when they are not clear on their mission.

 

 

Superheroes Are NOT Flawless

Superheros have flaws, every member of your team will also. The goal is not perfection, it's the pursuit of perfection, lasix and hypertension.

 

 

Superheroes Do Not Seek Glory...But They Get it Anyway

Don't do it because you want the attention.
If you do it right, you'll get it anyway

 

 

 

Superheroes Help Others

Superheroes help people by solving problems. Startups should be obsessed NOT with themselves, but with how they are going to help other people and solve their issues.

 

 

 

Superheroes Can Do it By Themselves But Are More Powerful in Teams

You always have to have each other's back. Lasix and hypertension, Its you vs. Potential toxic side effect for lasix, the world and brining together your own team of superheroes, and the mutual respect, loyalty, and camaraderie of that team is vital.

 

Superheroes' True Strength Comes From Their Character

No matter how super you think you are, you're strength comes from your character not your talent. Be courageous, be respectful, be honorable, be selfless.

 

 

Superheroes Accomplish Huge Feats

The same effort it takes to start a lemonade stand or college club, is the same raw effort it takes to change the world. Your goal is not to build a product or get traffic... Your goal is to accomplish the most amazing feat imaginable, cats lasix. Make the Product, Save the World.

And here is a presentation I gave on the topic with the presentation:

Part 1

 

 .

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The 7 “Free” Ways to Get Traffic on the Web

The 7 Ways to Get (unpaid) Traffic on the Web “If You Build It…They Will Come”, may work for historical baseball ghosts, but it’s not a strategy you can rely on when starting an internet company.Driving traffic to your website is a formula that can be reverse engineered. Other than paying for traffic with advertising, there are only so many ways to get people to show up at your door.

There are 7 Ways to Get Traffic on the Web, in no weighted order they are: 1.) Search Engines 2.) Referring Traffic / Press 3.) Social Media 4.) Online Partnerships / Distribution Deals 5.) Refreshing Content 6.) The Viral Loop / User Email 7.) Solve a Personal Compelling Need Search Engines – Google, Yahoo, MSN, ASK redirect billions of searches everyday.Search engines have the potential to drive millions of visitors to a given site.Wikipedia and About are two of the most popular sites on the web, but the majority of their traffic comes from referrals from search engines, not people going directly to their site.To make sure your site is optimized for search engine traffic: 1.) Each individual piece of content should have its own distinct URL(title tag), and a unique title (H1 tag) for the page that search engines can read and index.2.) Increase the production of your content.It’s a simple formula, go to Google and type in this query site:“name of your site.com”.The more pages indexed, the more traffic you will get. 3.) Get more websites linking to your various content pages.Once you get your pages indexed by search engines, you want them to show up as high as possible in the results.The two most important variables to make sure an individual piece of content ranks high in search results are 1) how many inbound links that page has from other websites and 2)the amount of traffic that page gets.

Helpful Resources about Search Engine Traffic: 68 Helpful SEO Tools

Referring Traffic / Press The web is interconnected, and traffic flows between sites that interlink.The more sites that link to you, the more sustainable traffic you build overtime. The type of sites that might link into you are blogs, traditional press online, forums or bulleting boards, or content rich sites that are focused on a similar topic.To make sure you maximize the potential for referring traffic:

1.) Create a target list of blogs that could cover your product or content. You can search Technorati to find the most popular blogs on the web across various categories.Make sure to reach out to bloggers personally and build a relationship.Leave comments on their posts, link to them from your site… do that and when you approach them to write about you, you’ll find a welcomed reception.2.) Make a list of 15 similar websites.Track all their online press in major publications such as the WSJ, NYTs, BusinessWeek Online, or more specific trade publications.Make a list of the journalists writing the articles, they’re easy to find on Linkedin and Facebook.Follow up with compliments on their writing and get some emails going back and forth, and then pitch your product or service.Helpful Resources about for Getting Referral Traffic: Top Blogs List (with email contacts)

Social Media - Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, Twitter.This is a separate segment of referring traffic that warrants its own category. These are sites that are set up to discover content on other sites across the web.These sites are typically geared towards more viral or humorous content, but they can be powerful sources for driving a significant amount of traffic. To make sure you maximize the potential for traffic from social media:

1.) Create content appropriate for these sites, each site has a slightly different slant on which type of content is most easily popularized. 2.) Engage in the community and make friends.Most of these sites are based on some type of voting or book-marking system.More community friends = more exposure = more traffic. 3.) Find a way to engage users in other content on your site.This traffic is mostly transitory and has few low pageviews/visit, so in order to maximize its potential, make sure to serve up lots of related content on each of the pages that receive traffic from social media.

Helpful Resources for Getting Social Media Traffic: The Social Media Manual and Promoting Yourself on Twitter (by geekpreneur)

Online Partnerships/Distribution Deals –These are harder to come by, but can pay off big dividends.The idea is to get other major sites to integrate some core functionality of your site into their own, as a value ad.One of the best examples was when social news aggregator Mixx.com landed its deal to have its links on all of CNN’s online articles, likely one of the main factors that helped their traffic skyrocket. To make sure you maximize the potential for traffic from partnership/distribution deals:

1.)Get the list of the Alexa or Compete most popular sites on the web, and scan through the list to find any and all web properties that have a crossover with your site.

2.)Widgets, Widgets, Widgets.Wherever possible build a simple, value add, easy to use widget that others can include on their blog or webiste, a la the docstocembed documents tool

3.)Be creative and persistent.This is the hardest category to give specific “how to” advice.These are typically custom deals that take some creativity on your part, relationship building, and a whole lot of patience.But fortune favors those who prevail.

Helpful Resources for Getting Traffic from Partnerships:: Web 2.0 Distribution Deals

Refreshing Content – I go back daily to sites like TechCrunch, GigaOm, Drudge Report, Huffington Post, WSJ, Neatorama,because they have topical, informative, biting, controversial content that is always refreshed. On the web, Content is King. Find ways to integrate refreshing content into the pages people visit most on your site, and you've given them a reason to come back for more. To make sure you maximize the potential for traffic from refreshing content:

1.) Don’t use your home page just as a static business card.Put new topical content that updates as often as possible on the home page so there is always something new and interesting to bring people back.

2.) Find ways to automatically generate refreshing content without having to manually edit and input it.For example, how can you show related content or automatically surface the content that is most topical and popular.

3.) If your site isn’t optimized for refreshing content, add that as a component.It might seem overly simple or it may seem to difficult to implement, but just do it, and over time returning traffic benefits will accrue.

Helpful Resources for Getting Traffic from Refreshing Content:: How to Write Great Blog Content from Problogger

Viral Loop - The viral loop is the process of turning users into marketers and thus exponentially increasing your traffic via your user base.For example, in 2003 I became the “chief marketer” for LinkedIN and proudly exported 1500+ Outlook contacts to LinkedIN and sent them ALL a message asking them to "join my network" to satiate my ego - I wanted to show off that I had "500+" connections. They turned 1 Registered User = 100 Registered Users, 100 Users = 1000 users. Turn your users into your marketers, it’s the more legit cousin of multi level marketing.

To make sure you maximize the potential for traffic from the Viral Loop

1.)Make sure you have a sign up process on your site.Give your users a compelling reason to share a link with friends or import their contacts and send a message.

2.)Awards, Points, Leader board, Recognition, Self-Promotion.Adults still like party games, there typically has to be some notoriety or self benefit involved to get others to promote your site for you.

3.)Have an easy call to action.Don’t put the onus on your users to do all the work.Sure, anyone can copy and paste a URL and send it out to dozens of folks, but how many ever will?Import your users’ contacts, and have easy tools for them to post and share links with friends and across the web.

4.)BONUS: set up auto-emails that go out based on all the users actions.Think of all the emails you get from Facebook, everytime one of your friends does something on the site.Those users aren’t intentionally sending you email, but the items them post, friends they add, events they host, all generate an email that shows up in your inbox and potentially drives you back to the site.

Helpful Resources for Getting Traffic from the Viral Loop: The Viral Coefficient

Solve a Compelling Personal Need – So this is kind of the general catch-all category for “just build a good site that people want to use”, but even this is more nuanced.People come back to sites that solve a personal compelling need.Most of the time, we’re either thinking about Money, Health, or Love (or some derivative).So gear your site around one of these compelling needs and make sure you solve a BIG problem.For example, Pricegrabber lets you find all the stuff you want at the lowest price.Dating sites are the modern day Yenta’s selling love.WebMD tells you what every possible symptom your suffering from could really be. To make sure you maximize the potential for traffic by solving a compelling personal need ask yourself:

1.)If you were the most popular site in your category, would it give someone a reason to come back to the site everyday?

2.)Am I directly dealing with making/saving money, related to health/fitness/symptom reduction, helping people find love/have sex/meet people, am I in the vanity business/do people come to my site for fame?

Conclusion

I don’t claim to have unearthed any amazing secrets to traffic generation.And for anyone in the business of building Internet companies or marketing online, this list of 7 should be very familiar.However, I know from personal experience, many entrepreneurs neglect to take a comprehensive approach to building traffic.

Each of these seven is a piece to the puzzle that makes up your entire user engagement.The goal is to analyze which of these seven areas you may be lacking in, apply attention and effort in these areas to help them grow, and keep working on improving the areas that already work for you.

Understanding Conversion: Landing Page Optimization

There are 6 critical components to make websites convert, & optimize landing pages:
  1. Have One Objective & One Objective Only
  2. Headlines (copy) Drive Actions
  3. Sell Benefits Not Features
  4. Have a Crystal Clear "Call to Action"
  5. Include Social Proof (press, testimonials, credibility...)
  6. Offer "Risk Free" or "100% Guarantee"
To See the Full Presentation [slideshare id=64086407&doc=landingpageconversion-7goldenrules1-160716164900]

The Top 10 Types of Douchebags in Tech and How NOT to Be One

Whatever else I accomplish in life, I certainly hope I keep my non-douchebaggy status.  Treat each person you meet with respect, kindness and thoughtfulness.  It’s a standard we can all strive for, but some seem to fall extra short.  So here are my muses on the types of Douchebags you can run across in the tech world, and how not to be one. 1.) CEOs Whose Cockiness is Just Dickiness Who Are You: You bark orders at waiters and never say thank you or please.  Your sense of entitlement is only outweighed by your rudeness.  Some small measure of success has made you actually believe that you’re better than other people so you treat others like 2nd class citizens and tend to be a glad-handing sycophant by day and insecure sad little child by night. What’s the Remedy: This is a tough one.  Typically the only remedy is a visit by the Ghost of Christmas Future or your own financial demise.  Vito Corleone was feared but he was also loved.  Mark McCluskey (the police captain in The Godfater) was simply capped in the head.  Remember that the next time you give some waiter your attitude at an Italian joint.   2.) The Self Aggrandized Investor/Venture Capitalist Who Are You: Well Mr/Mrs Money Bags, you’re the person who only takes time to talk to someone when they are already a big shot.  You only hobnob at parties with CEOs who have had (& will have) multi-million/ billion dollar exits and treat the little guy like they're invisible.  You never take time to ask others questions and listening to the sound of your own voice is like masturbation… you get off on it, but really no one wants to be around you when it’s going on. What’s The Remedy: At social mixers make eye contact at least 20% of the time with people who approach you; temper negative feedback with some positive reinforcement on the struggles of trying to come up; don’t treat people differently based on the amount of money you think they can make you. 3.) The Uber-Annoying Service Provider Who Are You: You corner us at mixers and tell stories about all the great things you do and how wonderful you are, without having any idea if we need your help.  You’re persistent past the point of pestilent, and you have the tact and self awareness of a sledge-hammer tainted with cyanide. What’s The Remedy: Don’t bother asking yourself if people like you, they don’t.  Ask yourself if you’d want to spend 5 minutes with you, you wouldn't.  Being a service provider is one of the greatest professions and one that should engender a great deal of trust and always start and end with solving other people’s problems.  Don’t be that problem.   4.) The Ineffectual Executive Who Are You: In an 5 minute conversation you say the words Strategy, Strategic, & Strategizing over 3 dozen times.  “I bring a discipline of strategizing over strategic strategy”.  You take credit for items as absurd as the exploits of the Most Interesting Man in the World.  And you’re a big fan of the dropping the phrase “I’m not scared to roll up my sleeves” – who would ever be scared of that…. What’s the Remedy: Learn & apply any current marketable skills. 5.) Business Dolts Who Devalue Engineers Who Are You: You throw around the phrase “Code-Monkeys”.  You consider it a badge of honor that you’re too important to know the difference between AJAX and Windex.  You take no interest nor show any curiosity in how technical systems are built or maintained, and Engineering is the least valued/respected part of your organization. What’s the Remedy: Have a conversation a day with a techie for 30 straight days.  You’ll realize they’re smarter than you, more passionate about what they do, more engaged in their work and solve more interesting problems.  If you still want to dis on engineering after that at least you should have some more tech slang to give you street cred. 6.) Tech Snobs Who Look Down on Business Who Are You: Do you have a disdain for making money?  Are words like “Conversion, Sales, Revenue Optimization” dirty language at your parties?  Then you may be afflicted by the common disease known as Imtoocoolformyowngooditis.  It’s dumb to bite the hand the feeds you, and even more lame to spite it with disdain.  Sales and making money is the purest exchange of value, and without that no great tech invention would be a permanent fixture in our lives. What’s the Remedy: Don’t be too smart for your own good.  A students get great jobs, but hustling C students hire A students.  Take time to learn how business leaders are able to affect people both one on one and in masses and you’ll see how to unlock the true potential of your inventions. 7.) The WannaBe Board of Advisor Who Are You: You offer your board advisory skilz up repeatedly, but the only stock you have is in your brother-in-law’s startup up investment bank and a German foreign language film site that specializes in off color humor flicks.  You're a BIG fan of telling other how you can help them raise money and make connections.  And sometimes you even generously offer up your part time CEOs services, and tout how you do the same for 6 other companies simultaneously. What’s the Remedy: Don’t ever offer to be a Board of Advisor unless you're asked first.  If you’re services are actually in demand they will be sought out Casanova of Board Advising. 8.) Self-Entitled Social-Media HotShots Who Are You: Your license plate reads "SCLEXPT".  You spend all day teaching the most computer illiterate people how to create a facebook page and twitter loggin and you mock anyone who doesn’t spend 3 hours a day updating their FB status or tweeting photos of their lunch. You have about as much “expertise” as 24-hour online certified priests, but tout your un-knowledge like a peacock on parade. What’s the Remedy: Make somebody money.  I’m offering a $1000 bounty for the first social media expert that has ever made money with their social stream.  Here’s a tip: if you have more friends online than you do in real life, and they’re people you’ve never met, become more of an expert at forming real life relationships. 9.) The Wistful WouldhaveShouldhaveCouldhave ByStander Who Are You: Have you said this phrase in the last week “Oh, I so had that idea two years ago”.  Congratulations, as my dad would say “I’ll give you a shit medal”.  Are you really going to tell me you could have done a better job creating Groupon?  Oh yes that’s right you still live at home in your late 30s but are the captain of your weekend league ultimate frisbee team.  You may have been the first of your friends to create an online bulletin board, but let’s be honest, it was just to download porn.  Congratulations you still do that very well. What’s The Remedy: Stop talking and start doing. 10.) The Hatter Trolls Who Are You: You’re free time on work breaks, of which you take 15+ throughout the day because you hate what you do, is spent online talking shit about the accomplishments of others.  You feel better for knocking down others while never putting yourself up to the light of scrutiny.  You leave comments on blogs as Anonymous or MrBombastic.  And you don’t just relegate your hating to online forms but take every instance to talk shit behind someone’s back, while praising them to their face. What’s the Remedy: Drink Your Own Haterade.  Sure there is plenty to criticize, just look at season 5 of Happy Day.  But I personally think Jumping a Shark on waterskis and in a leather jacket is badass.  You don’t get to be cool by talking shit about others unless you are the creator of American Idol, have a British accent and launch the career of a portly Irish woman who sings I Dreamed a Dream like an angel from heaven.

VIDEOS: My Advice for Entrepreneurs (it’s all here)

In the past year I've given the following talks that explain the majority of my general advice for entrepreneurs.  If you want to know what I did, and what I think you need to do to be successful... then grab some popcorn, set aside 3 hours (not all at once...), and enjoy. 10 Strategies for Startup Success 21 Golden Rules for Entrepreneurs How to Break Out of the Pack

Don’t Take for Granted…

Don't take for granted your life, even if you think it's filled with strife Don't take for granted your health, it can't be replaced any amount of wealth Don't take for granted your friends, they may be all you have in the end Don't take for granted your kin, for they love you in spite of your sins Don't take for granted your dad, he may get mad when you're bad but his love is no fad Don't take for granted your mom, she's always there when everything goes wrong Don't take for granted your wife, she is your life Don't take for granted your husband, and he'll always honor the band on your left hand Don't take for granted your child, for nothing will bring you more smiles Don't take for granted time, it's stolen more than any crime Don't take for granted money, when it's gone it's not funny Don't take for granted a single moment,  they flash brilliant and then forever go out of print Don't take for granted your president, he's only a temporary resident Don't take for granted any person on the street, for they too have a fragile heartbeat Don't take for granted yourself in anyway, even if the message is delivered in silly wordplay

Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

These are the core questions that I ask every person that I interview. I've narrowed the list down to the top 7 questions I ask from a list of hundreds I have tried. Hope this helps. And as a bonus threw in a video for those folks looking for a job on the best way to get that interview.

The Best Restaurants in Los Angeles

I eat out almost every meal.  I'll spend time on Citysearch and Yelp trying to find good new spots to try, but my preference is still to get great recommendation from friends.  Enter Leslie Wade, who put this list together for me below in an email (including the cute commentary), and I feel compelled to share it with the world since she's not yet doing her own blogging.  I can at least take credit for adding the links :)  This list does skew to fancier places in the Westside/Hollywood area, but those are some of the best spots in LA. (*) denotes a recommendation. Others listed are in the area and definitely great spots, but may not be ideal for groups. Animal - great space...they do lots of private parties. Not much for vegetarian options though. * AOC - the food here is amazing, wine is amazing and their wine bar/bistro fare is fun for a group Bastide * Bazaar at the SLS – no matter how many times people have been, it’s always fun. Interesting (it's all molecular gastronomy), delicious food and WAY fun drinks. * BLT Steak - great steakhouse (a Wadavon favorite) with amazing food, service, and a nice group dining area. Plus those popovers always get people talking. * BOA Steakhouse on Sunset - really beautiful patio/bar area. Plus, you can’t go wrong with steakhouse fare when trying to please a large group. Bungalow Club – an LA staple for events. There’s a reason for that...people love it. Campanile – lovely inside, lovely food. Comme Ça Dominick's – low key. good for groups... food is ok, drinks are better- a more laid-back atmosphere Eva – for the foodies. Gordon Ramsay at the London - restaurant is $$$ but the roof-top pool area for drinks is really lovely for after dinner Hatfield's - if it’s about the food- this is the place. * Jar – the food here is a sure crowd-pleaser. Comfort food done up fancy in a sweet, minimalist spot. Great wine list, great cocktails. Katana – definitely fun for a group (but I know you know this spot) Koi – a weho staple. La Paella - décor is nothing special, but the food is authentic and great Lucques - inside is rustic, yet chic. For the foodies. Nobu Matsuhisa - another weho staple. Osteria Mozza – the food is great and it’s a nice space. Anyone who hasn’t been yet will have most likely been dying to try it. Great wine list. Ortolan - super French and fancy (if that’s what you’re going for) * Pali House – haven’t tried the food- but the space has a great environment. The dining patio area is really lovely and the drinks there are great * Providence – if budget isn’t an issue, Providence is the type of place to BLOW EVERYONE AWAY. Gorgeous inside, amazing food (primarily seafood). * Red O – beautiful inside, the food is decent but definitely a crowd-pleaser, plus it’s the “it” place in LA, so people would like it for the “event” of it. RH – hidden gem inside the Andaz Hotel on Sunset. Not many people know about it, so it’s a nice surprise how cute it is.                                                                                           Simon LA - (which I know YOU know!) Great patio area...plus the Junk Food platter is always a crowd-pleaser STK - lovely inside, the typical dark, moody steakhouse feel. Nice booths- not sure about a big group though. Susan Feniger's Street - food is interesting (not outstanding), but it’s definitely fun. And it’s got a nice patio for a group dining experience. * The Tar Pit – SO cute. The inside is lovely, a very 1920s vibe (http://tarpitbar.squarespace.com/pics/the-tar-pit/)...food is great, drinks are amazing. The Foundry on Melrose - popular for group events for a reason. This place is always a crowd-pleaser.                                                                                                                                     * Tres by Jose Andrés - same chef at The Bazaar... nothing here disappoints. Plus the hotel is beautiful and the drinks are amazing.                                                                     XIV – the food is fancy, lots of “foams” and “terrines” and such. But could be nice for a group event. Honorable mentions: (probably too casual, but worth a mention anyway because of the food) Amalfi Angelini Osteria Umami Burger

The Challenges (& Opportunities) of Starting a Tech Company in LA

I recently hosted a panel at the Twiistup Conference about LA tech companies.   I asked the panelists (David Travers, Brian Norgard, Fouad ElNaggar, & Demian Sellfors) about the specific challenges that we face down here in Los Angeles as opposed to Silicon Valley.  I have some pretty specific thoughts on the differences between companies in the two cities, as I wrote about in my previous post A Tale of Two Tech Cities.  But I thought I'd take some more time here to expand on what I think are the challenges, and opportunities, of starting a tech company in LA. Challenge #1 - Tech Companies are Not Typically Started by Technologists. In the bay area it's quite common for the entrepreneurs starting a company to be developers or technologists who can build the first versions of their products.  That's typically not the case in Los Angeles.  Here it seems that entrepreneurs are coming out of business school, transitioning from corporate life, or hail from the entertainment industry.    Whereas in Silicon Valley, you can have a V.1 of a product up and running in a few months weeks getting thousands of users for next to no capital, in Los Angeles many folks will take over a year and spend a million dollars just to get a beta product ready. A perfect case in point is Mark Hendrickson the founder of Plancast.  He worked for me at Docstoc for a brief stint (and did an awesome job) after being a writer at TechCrunch for a few years.  When he had the idea for his company, he didn't write a long business plan or try to raise money to hire an agency to build a website for him.  He just pounded out design and code for a few weeks and got Plancast up on the web and users adopting his product right away. In Los Angeles we are at a disadvantage because the founder(s) often have no experience in building consumer web applications.  This makes it infinitely more difficult  to bring our ideas to life, to quickly iterate on the inevitable misdirections that happen early and often, and to raise capital to continue building our companies. Opportunity #1 - Tech Companies are Not Typically Started by Technologists. Entrepreneurs that start companies in LA are often focused on revenue and business models.  If you can create such a virally popular product that it reaches millions of people... yes, you can put off worrying about business models and revenue, but this isn't the case for most of us.  The fact that we're focused on building great businesses and not just great products, give us our own advantages. While we often lack the technology and product depth of our counterparts in the Bay, I would argue that entrepreneurs in LA would thrive if you dropped them into any industry.  We tend to be better at things like team building, negotiations, sales, and fundraising - which are arguably the most important skills entrepreneurs should posses. Challenge #2 - There is Not Enough Great Tech, Product and UI/UX Design Talent in LA . Simply put LA has a lack of GREAT product, UI/UX, and design talent.  I know because I've spent the last three years trying to hire these folks.  Many of the product managers/designers in LA come from the entertainment industry, which doesn't lay the foundation for how to build an addictive interactive consumer experience.  You'll often find folks that are great at big glossy designs, but who lack the depth and experience to build a seemless user experience that just feels intuitive to the person engaging with the website. Opportunity #2 - There is Less Poaching of Great Tech, Product and UI/UX Design Talent in LA . On the other hand, if you are able to build a great product team (like we have at Docstoc) then you are much less susceptible to have these folks poached away from your company.  In the bay area you have Facebook stealing employees from Google, Zynga stealing from Facebook, and some new hotshot startup ready next in line to pounce.  Loosing talent is a HUGE problem and the reason why Google will give big bonuses and cash to keep their teams in tact. Challenge #3 - There Needs to Be More Institutional Capital in Los Angeles . There simply are NOT enough venture capital firms in the Southern California.  In the bay area there are dozens of firms that are actively making investments.  In LA there has typically been a small handful of firms actively making investments in tech, they include: Rustic CanyonGRP ParnersClearstone Venture Partners, Redpoint VenturesMission VenturesAnthem Venture PartnersGreycroftCrosscutPalomar Ventures, and Rincon Ventures.  It's a chicken and egg problem.  If there were more great companies coming out of LA then it would create more demand for high quality VC firms.  But there are also less great companies in LA, BECAUSE there is less access to sophisticated capital. Opportunity #3 - There is Plenty of Capital for Great Team/Products . Despite the above, great entrepreneurs, teams, companies in LA can always find capital.  They're the ones that rise to the cream of the crop and get the attention of the folks that are investing in LA, and they often have Bay Area or East Coast suitors who want to invest in their companies.   If you're complaining that its too hard to raise money as the founder of an LA tech company, stop bitching about a lack of funds and focus on being a bigger badass. Challenge #4 - We are Divided by Our Geography. LA is really a collection of many different cities, that depending on traffic, can be anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours away from each other.  There's Santa Monica, Westside, Hollywood, Downtown LA, the Valley, and Pasadena.  This dispersed geography prevents entrepreneurs from easily meeting up for both formal functions and the informal drinks/dinner that so often lead to great ideas and partnerships.  In San Francisco, you can walk out of your office and within a 1 mile square radius you probably have 12-24 other tech founders working alongside you. Opportunity #4 - We are Building our Own New Tech Hub - Silicon Beach I may be biased, but it really feels like downtown Santa Monica is becoming the tech hub of LA.  In fact Paige Craig has coined it Silicon Beach.  There's a fast growing group of tech companies including: DocstocDemand MediaBetterWorksGoodReadsMahaloBeachmintCampus ExplorerDECAeHarmonyGumGumSavingsShoedazzle,  Business.comFamilyFindsAfforditBestcoveryJibJabCoLoft and many more.  I still consistently work very late nights, and one of my favorite parts, is that I can email any number of other founders that are doing the same and walk out of my office and go to dinner/drinks with amazing folks in the tech space right next door to me. Challenge #5 - There Hasn't Been Enough of an Organized Tech Community From what many people have told me, in past years there simply were not many high quality tech events where someone new on the LA tech scene could break in and meet other connected folks.  That's no longer the case.... Opportunity #5 - That's No Longer the Case..... LA is now filled with high quality tech events, mixers, meetups, and a thriving community.  I've been leading the charge here with Mark Suster (read his blog BothSidesofTheTable).  In the past 2 years I've now hosted 20 Startups Uncensored Events that bring out the best CEOs and VC in LA, and at our last event we had 1000 RSPVs.  Some of the past events & videos are linked to below.  And Mark Suster has been fostering an environment to help find and grow the best and brightest new LA tech companies with LAunchpad.   Plus there are amazing LA tech events put on by DealMaker MediaDigitalLATwiistup, and many more.  To see a great list of LA tech events check out the event calendar on SocalTechNicole Jordan's Blog, and the newly revamped LaLawag. Past Startups Uncensored LA Tech Events http://www.jasonnazar.com/2011/02/15/online-subscription-businesses-startups-uncensored-20/ http://www.jasonnazar.com/2010/09/22/bootstrapping-your-business-startups-uncensored-19/ http://www.jasonnazar.com/2010/06/22/how-to-become-an-entrepreneur-superhero-startups-uncensored-18/ http://www.jasonnazar.com/2010/05/04/how-to-raise-venture-capital-startups-uncensored-17/ http://www.jasonnazar.com/2010/03/02/how-to-persuade-people-startups-uncensored-15/