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Old 11th March 2008, 05:55 AM
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Post 18 Startup Tips

1. Buy Macintosh computers, save money on an IT department

2. Buy second monitors for everyone, they will save at least 30 minutes a day, which is 100 hours a year... which is at least $2,000 a year.... which is $6,000 over three years. A second monitor cost $300-500 depending on which one you get. That means you're getting 10-20x return on your investment... and you've got a happy team member.

3. Buy everyone lunch four days a week and establish a no-meetings policy. Going out for food or ording in takes at least 20-60 minutes more than walking up to the buffet and eating. If you do meetings over lunch you also save that time. So, 30 minutes a day across say four days a week is two hours a week... which is 100 hours a year. You get the idea.

4. Buy cheap tables and expensive chairs. Tables are a complete rip off. We buy stainless steel restaurant tables that are $100 and $600 Areon chairs. Total cost per workstation? $700. Compare that to buying a $500-$1,500 cube/designer workstation. The chair is the only thing that matters... invest in it.

5. Don't buy a phone system. No one will use it. No one at Mahalo has a desk phone except the admin folks. Everyone else is on IRC, chat, and their cell phone. Everyone has a cell phone, folks would rather get calls on it, and 99% of communication is NOT on the phone. Savings? At least $500 a year per person... 50 people over three years? $75-100k

6. Rent out your extra space. Many folks have extra space in their office. If you rent 5-10 desks for $500 each you can cut your burn $2,500 to $5,000 a month, or $30-60,000 a year. That's big money.

7. Outsource accounting and HR---such a no brainer.

8. Don't buy everyone Microsoft Office--it's too much money. Put Office on three or four common computers and use Google Docs.

9. Use Google hosted email. $50 or free per user.... how can you beat that?!?! Why screw with an exchange server!?!?

10. Buy your hardest working folks computers for home. If you have folks who are willing to work an extra hour a day a week you should get them a computer for home. Once you get to three hours of work a week from home you're at 150 hours a year and that's a no brainer. Invest in equipment *if* the person is a workaholic.

11. Fire people who are not workaholics. don't love their work... come on folks, this is startup life, it's not a game. don't work at a startup if you're not into it--go work at the post office or stabucks if you're not into it you want balance in your life. For realz.

12. Jura espresso machineGet an expensive, automatic espresso machine at the office. Going to starbucks twice a day cost $4 each time, but more importantly it costs 20 minutes. Buy a $3-5,000 Jura industrial, get the good beans, and supply the coffee room with soy, low fat, etc. 50 people making one trip a day is 20 hours of wasted time for the company, and $150 in coffee costs for the employees. Makes no sense.

13. Stock the fridge with sodas---same drill as above.

14. Allow folks to work off hours. Commuting sucks and is a waste of time for everyone. Let folks start at 6am or 11am and you'll cut their commute in half (at least in LA).

15. Go to each of your vendors every 6-9 months and ask for 10-30% off. If half of them say yes you'll save 5-15% on fixed costs. People will give you a discount if they think they are going to lose the business.

16. Don't waste money on recruiters. Get inside of linkedin and Facebook and start looking for people--it works better anyway.

17. Really think about if you need that $15,000 a month PR firm. Perhaps you can get a PR consultant to work on 2-3 projects a year for $10-15k each and save 75%. More PR firms are wasted half the year while you build up your product anyway.

{I'm going to add a couple more of mine as I remember them }
18. Outsource to middle America: There are tons of brilliant people living between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York who don't live in a $4,000 one bedroom apartment and pay $8 to dry clean a shirt--hire them!


http://www.calacanis.com/2008/03/07/...lly-good-tips/
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Old 11th March 2008, 06:14 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Good stuff. One of my favorite tips was the story about Scott McNealy (SUN). He banned MS PowerPoint. Sun is hardly a startup, but that little tip convinced me the guy was an ultra-genius. Sure the slides look good, but when you add up all the hours it takes to create the slides it is a major waste.
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Old 11th March 2008, 10:47 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

some stuff makes sense but he comes off as a slave driver encouraging workaholics is not good you wouldn't encourage a alcoholic to drink would you?

a work day is never 100% productive if he wants happy workers leave some goof off time in there
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Old 11th March 2008, 11:11 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

I must say that some of the features of Google Apps are quite good. For example, if you pay for the corporate version, you can build in policies to the mail (filtering for outgoing keywords, etc).

Apps doesn't support the idea of workgroups very well, though. For instance, it's not possible to recursively share a folder of 100 documents with a group of people. In fact, recursive sharing is not possible at all. This is a major PITA - you need to share each document individually (or share it with the entire organization in view mode).

If Google improves the document management and adds workflow, that is the end of Microsoft in small businesses.

I haven't fiddled enough with the organizational calendaring functionality to rate it yet, but it would also need to support groups and see free time of invitees, etc.


One more thing - regarding buying people computers at home - screw that. Buy laptops for everyone and that's it - docking stations, keyboards, mice, and monitors at the office. They can take them home, business travel, whatever.

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Old 11th March 2008, 01:31 PM
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Talking Re: 18 Startup Tips

o boy,
these suggestions are SUBVERSIVE, mayby even anti-American.
In the 50s they would've put you on the same (electric) chair with the Rosenbergs
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Old 11th March 2008, 06:24 PM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Good one genius - if anyone can comment on startup success in the valley it's Jason Calacanus. And TonyP are you nuts? He's just skimmed off the best practices from 37 signals and others companies he's been involved with - it's purely American.
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Old 11th March 2008, 07:28 PM
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Talking Re: 18 Startup Tips

i think we should have a fistfight on what constitutes american.
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Old 11th March 2008, 08:43 PM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Get a cheap external USB hard drive .. use software to backup in the background as often as you feel comfortable with

Keep everything IDN related in one folder and set software to only back up that IDN related folder .. use drive only for IDN stuff
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Old 12th March 2008, 06:00 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by mulligan
Get a cheap external USB hard drive .. use software to backup in the background as often as you feel comfortable with

Keep everything IDN related in one folder and set software to only back up that IDN related folder .. use drive only for IDN stuff
whats the software named mulligan. i need something like that on my end here.
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Old 12th March 2008, 06:18 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by alibuba
whats the software named mulligan. i need something like that on my end here.
External drive should come with this kind of software .. tell the salesperson what you want and they should sort you out .. I personally use a 500GB Seagate Free Agent Pro for the entire C Drive and a 40GB external USB just for IDN stuff .. There are much cheaper alternatives out there.
A 20GB USB external drive should be more than enough for your IDN stuff .. I'm sure there is free software out there that you can download to do auto backups .. A quick search on download.com turned up this:
http://www.download.com/3150-2242_4-...&fileSize=&ca=

Oh .. another thing I do (Using Firefox) is visit the site where my domains are held at and view a list of them (Dynadot, Enom etc) .. right click and 'Save page as' .. and save it in a Dynadot or Enom named folder with the date entered in the folder name .. Like 'Enom March 12th' so if some shit goes down you at least know what you had if it goes missing .. also take screenshots .. The screengrab extension for firefox is good for this as you can save the entire page and not just what you can see on the screen. ... Ok .. so call me paranoid ... :p

Last edited by mulligan; 12th March 2008 at 06:30 AM..
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Old 12th March 2008, 08:28 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by alibuba
whats the software named mulligan. i need something like that on my end here.
It's called "Time Machine" and it comes with all Macs (Leopard, OS X 10.5). Re-read #1.

A 1TB Western Digital myBook Studio Edition (pre-formatted for Mac, journaled, whatever) cost all of $280 on Amazon. Embarrassingly cheap for those of us that remember system hard drives in the kilobyte range.

Seriously, fire the IT guys.

A Genius thread, I must say.

(if you're tied to PCs, there's usually a software package included with the external drive... personal experience says stay away from Maxtor drives, have had a number of the 250-300G drives fail, and, what's the point of redundancy if you still have to backup on tape?).

Last edited by clipper; 12th March 2008 at 08:33 AM..
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Old 12th March 2008, 08:40 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyP
o boy,
these suggestions are SUBVERSIVE, mayby even anti-American.
In the 50s they would've put you on the same (electric) chair with the Rosenbergs

Are you kidding? Slave Driving of Professional Salaried Employees, and Firing On A Moment's Notice are totally American business practices.

I'll live in Europe anytime, where I work 37.5 hours a week and must be paid overtime for anything extra, get 5-6 weeks of vacation per year, 13 months salary per year, sick days don't count against my vacation days, I can wear shorts, T-shirts, and sandals to a professional job, etc. And there is a bit of job security mandated by the government as well.

Why the hell would I want to work 80 hours a week for a flat salary with zero job security, 2 weeks vacation per year from which sick days are subtracted, and be forced to wear a tie as well? Why?

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Old 12th March 2008, 06:29 PM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by jacksonm
Are you kidding? Slave Driving of Professional Salaried Employees, and Firing On A Moment's Notice are totally American business practices.

I'll live in Europe anytime, where I work 37.5 hours a week and must be paid overtime for anything extra, get 5-6 weeks of vacation per year, 13 months salary per year, sick days don't count against my vacation days, I can wear shorts, T-shirts, and sandals to a professional job, etc. And there is a bit of job security mandated by the government as well.

Why the hell would I want to work 80 hours a week for a flat salary with zero job security, 2 weeks vacation per year from which sick days are subtracted, and be forced to wear a tie as well? Why?

.
It's not *that* bad here in the US. I agree that getting fired on a moment's notice is common, but most of those people deserve to get fired. I am in a research group so it may be a bit different, but I get 4 weeks vacation, sick days do not count against vacation (I just took 8 weeks paid leave for an operation that didn't even count towards my sick days), I mainly work out of my home, although I have a real office (not a cubicle) and when I do go in to the office I wear sandals (even to important meetings with the government, just a sandal kind of guy), I don't wear ties - ever, t-shirts are commonplace, I don't wear shorts, but others do, and when I do go in to work, I make my own hours unless there is a meeting (which I usually telecon in from home anyway). I make a hefty six figure income, and have been living and working like this for over 20 years... and I love my work (math/science). Even in the non-research areas, this is common with computer types in the US.
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Old 12th March 2008, 11:02 PM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

jacksonm you wear shorts in Finland? Which 3 days of the year would that be?
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Old 12th March 2008, 11:34 PM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdw
jacksonm you wear shorts in Finland? Which 3 days of the year would that be?
LMAO. That applies to my area too (Seattle/Bellevue). Shorts... brrrr. Some people do that though around here.

There is a joke about Seattle: How do you know it is winter in Seattle? Answer: People wear socks with their sandals.

There is even a popular commercial on TV now about Seattle that shows a guy wearing socks with his sandals in the rain... boy do these advertising execs have us pegged. I am a walking stereotype of Seattle/Bellevue.
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Old 12th March 2008, 11:38 PM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by npcomplete
I am a walking stereotype of Seattle/Bellevue.
Atleast your walking , the other stereotype of that area i read is suicide :o
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Old 13th March 2008, 06:45 AM
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Re: 18 Startup Tips

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdw
jacksonm you wear shorts in Finland? Which 3 days of the year would that be?

Global warming, man. Summer is about 8 weeks long here now (days over 20c).

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