Welcome to the firm Herb!

Welcome to the firm Herb!

I am very proud and excited to join the ff Venture Capital team as Senior Counsel. I have spent the last eight years practicing corporate law with a focus on advising entrepreneurial clients and early-stage investors on a full range of general corporate, transactional and securities law matters.

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 All ffVC wants for the Holidays is...

All ffVC wants for the Holidays is...

We are officially in ice skating and candy cane mode, and here at the ffVC office, our team has been talking about what they want for the holidays, what they are thankful for, and all of the winter activities they are looking forward to participating in:

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 Celebrate the Holidays with the ffVC Countdown Calendar

Celebrate the Holidays with the ffVC Countdown Calendar

New York City is blanketed with snow, and boy, is it cold outside. And since most of us just want to be inside, ffVC and our portfolio companies want to spread some additional warmth and holiday cheer!

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How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids

How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids

I spoke at Womensphere a few weeks ago, a conference centered around empowering women and girls. I discussed my family’s approach to raising entrepreneurial kids, and some parallels to ffVC’s approach to supporting our portfolio entrepreneurs.

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 What would you do?

What would you do?

This week, one of our employees shared a story with us to which we thought everyone could relate. Here is his tale:

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Autumn: As the leaves are falling...

Autumn: As the leaves are falling...

As a Southerner, the Fall and Winter seasons in New York City are a little difficult for me to get through each year. Now that November is officially here, and we’ll be seeing much less of the sun, I want to share some of the things that get me through those chilly afternoons and evenings.

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 How to Judge a Startup Idea

How to Judge a Startup Idea

I periodically serve as a judge at pitch events for companies raising funding. I assess each company against ffVC's standard criteria for investing.

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 Just the Basics: Social Media

Just the Basics: Social Media

I have been spearheading the ff Venture Capital social media channels for a couple of years, and have learned many Do's and Don'ts that I want to share...

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 Take Your Sites and Apps Global

Take Your Sites and Apps Global

Everyone wants more users, yeah? So why do we limit ourselves to English speakers? Presumably because expanding to non-English markets is difficult, time-consuming,and therefore expensive. While that is very true when you consider a full-scale solution involving language, culture, writing conventions and regulatory compliance, we can start small in true Lean fashion.

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Pioneering a New Frontier for Venture Capital

Pioneering a New Frontier for Venture Capital

It is a new era, and venture capital is at a crossroads. The old way of doing business is being challenged, and no more so than on the investing and fundraising sides. Over the next five years, the entire industry will be transformed, and everyone in the ecosystem will be affected. Some will lead, some will follow and some will fall by the wayside.

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Recap: ffVC's 5th Anniversary Party

Recap: ffVC's 5th Anniversary Party

Last night, ff Venture Capital celebrated our 5th Anniversary.

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Apple picking and pumpkins galore: What ffVC is excited for this Fall

Apple picking and pumpkins galore: What ffVC is excited for this Fall

The weather has started to get cooler, the leaves are beginning to change colors, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks. It can only mean one thing....autumn is upon us.

Here at ffVC, our team is excited for the Fall season for a number of reasons:

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Miami: A hot spot for venture capitalists

Miami: A hot spot for venture capitalists

A few weeks ago, I had my first-ever opportunity to visit the Miami startup ecosystem. I was visiting as part of Terrapinn Private Equity World, a leading private equity conference for the Latin American technology community. You might assume the event took place in Sao Paolo or Mexico City, but no, it was in Miami, and will be again in 2014.

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 The Lower-Risk Startup: How Venture Capitalists Increase the Odds of Startup Success.

The Lower-Risk Startup: How Venture Capitalists Increase the Odds of Startup Success.

One of my responsibilities at ff Venture Capital is helping to accelerate value creation in our portfolio companies. I published the first research study on this topic in the Journal of Private Equity, peHub, Betabeat, and Techcrunch...

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 Recruiting Hacks: Best Practices in Building an A-Player Team

Recruiting Hacks: Best Practices in Building an A-Player Team

I finally got around to posting the video from a Founder Institute class I taught earlier this year on Best Practices in Recruiting High Performers . Although I focused on recruiting technical talent, my points are applicable to recruiting in general. Feedback always welcome! I’ve also attached below the extended slide deck.

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How to Hire a New Employee and Make Sure You Don’t End Up Firing Them

How to Hire a New Employee and Make Sure You Don’t End Up Firing Them

You just hired a new employee for $100K; congratulations!

Recruiting is expensive. You probably spent 30-50% of her compensation recruiting her (her recruiting cost ratio), and if she leaves early you’ll lose another 30-50% of her compensation recruiting her replacement. So how do you increase the odds that she says with you?

Last week, I wrote about how you can start a new job and not get fired. My concern here is the other ...

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How To Add Powerful (and Legal) Images To Your Presentations

How To Add Powerful (and Legal) Images To Your Presentations

What do you remember better? Pictures or words?

The evidence is clear: people have better recall for images than text. Including attractive images that dramatize your speaking points will significantly increase your efficacy as a speaker.

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Engaged Twitter Users can boost TV Ratings

Engaged Twitter Users can boost TV Ratings

And while we're clearly able to see the rise of Social TV with the infiltration of social into the broadcast experience through hashtags, socially curated experiences and onscreen visualizations, there has never been a real statistical correlation between Ratings and Tweets...

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My ffVC Internship Experience: College, Entrepreneurship, and the Value of Ideas

My ffVC Internship Experience: College, Entrepreneurship, and the Value of Ideas

I love the charisma that I witness in entrepreneurs involved in building a company from nothing, and the sense of urgency fostered by the knowledge that each person's activity makes a difference in the future of that company. Entrepreneurship has come to represent ideas coming into fruition through smart strategy and clever branding. After working at ffVC, I have been invited into the world of people who don’t settle. And for this, I ...

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How to Think Like a Hacker, Even if You Can’t Code

How to Think Like a Hacker, Even if You Can’t Code

What do Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Larry Page all have in common?

Yes, they’ve founded multi-billion dollar businesses with virtually no formal business training, with combined revenues of over $80 billion. But they are also former software engineers and hackers, an experience that undoubtedly taught them skills in critical thinking and problem solving.

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 Congratulations, Infochimps!

Congratulations, Infochimps!

We would like to congratulate our portfolio company Infochimps for being acquired by the Computer Science Corporation (CSC).

Infochimps is an Austin-based company that indexes and connects big data publicly available on the web, and makes it searchable through a variety of formats. Using an innovative cloud service, Infochimps accommodates Big Data environments to rapidly deliver analytics and intelligence. In a blog post written by CEO Jim Kaskade, he states that "The Infochimps’ Big Data ...

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My ffVC Internship Experience: Seamus

My ffVC Internship Experience: Seamus

While interning at ff Venture Capital this summer, I had the opportunity to see the inner workings of a seed stage venture capital firm. And I think the overall experience can be summed up in one word: busy. Officially I was a legal intern, so I was responsible for reviewing the multitude of documents that accompany every round of funding.

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Eat your own dog food

Eat your own dog food

Why founders need to eat their own dog food and be on the front lines of nearly everything.

Big corporations are failing. They are failing slowly, but it’s easy to see how smaller, ‘scrappy’ startups are eating their lunch. It’s easier to be small. It’s easy to see the mistakes of the Big C, and easy enough to create and sell the product that is closer to the customer.

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 Welcome to ffVC, AJ!

Welcome to ffVC, AJ!

We are thrilled to welcome Adam Plotkin as ffVC Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Adam (also known as AJ), a life-long technology early adopter and enthusiast, has spent the past three years working with startup companies as an advisor, consultant, and investor.

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Congratulations Omek Interactive!

Congratulations Omek Interactive!

Today was a big day for one of ffVC's portfolio companies, Omek Interactive....

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ffVC on CNBC, in Businessweek and in USA Today

ffVC on CNBC, in Businessweek and in USA Today

It was a big day for the venture capital and startup worlds on Wednesday, when the SEC officially voted to lift the ban on general solicitation. While much of the attention regarding this change in policy was devoted to the impact on hedge funds, ffVC partner John Frankel raised awareness of the game-changing consequences for venture capital funds and startups.

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 Getting Started with Paid Acquisition

Getting Started with Paid Acquisition

Over the course of my time here at HowAboutWe, I’ve learned a simple truth: paid acquisition — done well and for the right product — provides a relatively predictable and controllable way to acquire users. Success in this field requires a comprehensive understanding of your customers, creativity...

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iOS 7 Transition Guide

iOS 7 Transition Guide

Apple is going to feature new and updated apps and users will be more likely to download them. Now is the time to make significant inroads into the App Store by embracing the new design paradigm.Of course, we all foresaw the death of skeumorphism and the transition to flat design, but don't forget the update contains much more than that.

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Do You Live in a Smartphone State or Desktop State?

Do You Live in a Smartphone State or Desktop State?

Do you live in a smartphone state or desktop state? Some U.S. states have adopted smartphones more broadly than others – especially when it comes to the web’s most popular activity: checking email....

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Discover: Phone Photography

Discover: Phone Photography

Photo by John Arnold on 500px Now everyone has a camera in their pocket — their phone. In good hands and with a bit of practice your phone camera can take incredible photos. Just stick to the never changing recipe for good photography: careful composing, good light, balanced post processing, ...

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The Search for the Best RSS Reader

The Search for the Best RSS Reader

Google terminated Google Reader on July 1st, leaving many former users looking for a worthy replacement. I still don’t fully understand why Google is losing its control over the center of information dissemination for so many press and other honeybee influencers, but so be it. Luckily, many alternatives have stepped up in the aftermath of Google’s announcement.

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The New Voxy

The New Voxy

Changes launched in Spring 2013 reveal an even more personalized language-learning product Six months ago, if you started a Voxy language lesson via the web on your home computer, and then had to head out to work or school, that lesson would start anew when you logged into your mobile ...

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Welcome to ff Venture Capital, Jason!

Welcome to ff Venture Capital, Jason!

We are very excited to welcome the newest member to the ffVC team, Jason Reynolds, our new Director of Engineering. In this newly-established position, Jason will play a crucial role in ffVC's unique mission of providing support to our portfolio companies by assisting them with scalable processes and resources. With his many ...

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Our Team Sweats the Details

Our Team Sweats the Details

I have been with ff Venture Capital almost since its inception in 2008. In that 5-year period, we have completed 143 investments in 60 companies, or one investment every 11.5 days. We have grown our firm from 2 of us in 2008 to 17 now. Our metrics put us in the top quartile in terms of returns as compared to similarly situated funds, and we are attracting exciting new investment opportunities every day.

And ...

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Thoughts On The Future of iPhone Camera

Thoughts On The Future of iPhone Camera

On the heels of WWDC, my thoughts keep coming back to the heated debate with my friends about the future of photography.

Let me step back for a second. Marissa Mayer declared a few weeks ago that there’s no such thing as professional photography anymore. The internet rage followed, she apologized, saying that what she meant is that we all take photos now. And it’s true. Nothing has revolutionized photography to make it ...

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Hey! A moving van just pulled up...

Hey! A moving van just pulled up...

It was time to move again, and my previous experience made me anxious to relive the process. This time, I was not moving around the corner, but across state lines. I spent a lot of time considering if I was going to move everything myself, or if I was brave enough to hire another moving company...

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H.E.L.M. Program - NYC

H.E.L.M. Program - NYC

Silicon Alley is expanding, which makes our team here at ff Venture Capital very happy. We were recently briefed on a new initiative called the H.E.L.M program, which is designed to support businesses located in or moving to Lower Manhattan.

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Klout and Sony Take Influencers on a Photography Adventure

Klout and Sony Take Influencers on a Photography Adventure

We love rewarding our influencers with exclusive products and experiences. For a recent Klout Perk, we partnered with Sony to take food, travel and outdoor sports influencers on an exclusive photography adventure in San Diego.

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Flashpoint NYC Demo Day 2013 and ff Venture Capital

Flashpoint NYC Demo Day 2013 and ff Venture Capital

ff Venture Capital is happy to announce that once again we are co-sponsoring Flashpoint’s upcoming New York Demo Day.

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Is Mobile the Trojan Horse of Social-Email Integration?

Is Mobile the Trojan Horse of Social-Email Integration?

There has been plenty of discourse on “mobile-email” and “social-email” integration, but are marketers taking full advantage of the opportunity to tightly integrate all three? As our infographic from March 2013 revealed, as many as 69% of B2C enterprise email marketing campaigns are viewed on smartphones or tablets, with desktop representing just 31% of total opens...

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Google+ Meets Voxy - The Next Step to Integrating Language Learning into Daily Life

Google+ Meets Voxy - The Next Step to Integrating Language Learning into Daily Life

Voxy is pleased to announce that it is bringing Google+ to its millions of language learners worldwide to provide them with a seamless experience as they learn from content that is relevant to their interests and goals. Our learners will now have the ability to sign-in, interact, and take One-on-One Live Tutoring Sessions powered by Google+ and Google+ Hangouts.

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Ryan's Dating Secrets Revealed: HowAboutWe Couples

Ryan's Dating Secrets Revealed: HowAboutWe Couples

After a while, I started hearing rumblings of a HowAboutWe for Couples, a sort of subscription date service. I’ll admit, at first I was skeptical. One, I just didn’t think I needed help coming up with fun dates, and two, I foresaw looking cheap during the dreaded coupon exchange...

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ff VC is Proudly Leaning In. Are you?

ff VC is Proudly Leaning In. Are you?

ff VC is proudly leaning in! Are you?

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Preparing a Pitch to POTUS

Preparing a Pitch to POTUS

Every entrepreneur experiences highs and lows as we work to launch and grow our companies. Last week was one of the highest highs.

President Obama kick-started a series of quick “job and opportunity” tours showcasing what works in places like Austin, Texas. His message: if Congress primed the pump, the good stuff like the creation of quality tech and manufacturing jobs happening in Austin could trickle up to the rest of America.

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Ditch your keychain for the Kwikset Kēvo – turns your smarphone into an electronic key!

Ditch your keychain for the Kwikset Kēvo – turns your smarphone into an electronic key!

Bringing cutting edge technology to the residential lock market has been a part of UniKey’s vision from the beginning. I’ve enjoyed this journey of responding to the needs of homeowners. We knew right away that we wanted to be different than other deadbolt locks that require keys....

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Splice data scientist DNA into your existing team

Splice data scientist DNA into your existing team

I recently spoke with renowned data scientist DJ Patil, who pointed out that a “data scientist” is “one part hacker, one part analyst, and a whole lot of curiosity.” To turn a business analyst into a data scientist, the trick is to connect with their natural curiosity to motivate them to hone hacking skills:

Tip 1:Ask if they want to learn how to hack. If not, then pair them with a hacker.

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Search is Changing: Bing’s Klout Experts Program

Search is Changing: Bing’s Klout Experts Program

I have to say: I am thoroughly excited that Search just became interesting again.

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American Airlines’ Admirals Club Welcomes Klout Users in Nearly 40 Locations

American Airlines’ Admirals Club Welcomes Klout Users in Nearly 40 Locations

We think we’ve found another way to top ourselves…

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Startups and Domain Names: Three Factors to Consider

Startups and Domain Names: Three Factors to Consider

A good domain name can catch attention, biasing people to prefer your company over competitors, and making it easy to reach the website if and when they decide to use it. A bad domain name can sink you. Like a storefront and location in the offline world, your domain name is the very first vehicle by which potential investors/customers/employees evaluate your company before they even engage.

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4 Unconventional Recruiting Tools That Every Startup Can Use

4 Unconventional Recruiting Tools That Every Startup Can Use

There’s a war for young talent raging among America’s startups right now. All the best companies have booths at college job fairs, and help-wanted postings are sprouting like daisies on career websites. What this means is easy: if a startup wants to attract “A-list” candidates, it’s going to need the best recruiting tools around. The problem, of course, is that every other small business in America is using them too.

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Playdek Is Serious About Play

Playdek Is Serious About Play

Founding a new video game publisher is a daunting task. Every day the video game industry gathers momentum in its headlong dash to the “social mobile” space and the old guard of what we knew as the video game business are being left behind. Or they are disappearing altogether. At Playdek we have noticed and we’ve taken the trend very seriously...

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Don’t Look Now, Your Costs are Showing: Cost of Goods Sold in SaaS Companies

Don’t Look Now, Your Costs are Showing: Cost of Goods Sold in SaaS Companies

Accounting. Accruals. GAAP. These words are probably not the first things that pop up in the mind of a startup founder as he or she assembles a team, develops a product, acquires customers and runs a business. As CPAs, though, we believe that these and other related issues a should be treated as critically as any other business decision.

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Co-working spaces for companies, not consultants

Co-working spaces for companies, not consultants

We started Centzy in June 2011 with two people. Centzy is now six people and will be at eight in May. Between joining an incubator, traveling, being displaced by Hurricane Sandy, and general moving around as we grow, we've now worked out of over a dozen different co-working spaces over the last two years. We are currently based in WeWork Labs in West Soho and love it here.

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Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Journalists

Pros and Cons of Performance Pay for Journalists

Gawker’s Big Board, which hangs prominently in the Gawker’s headquarters tracking the top performing stories, has long been lauded as a key to the success of Nick Denton’s publishing empire. Even old school publishers like Forbes have embraced performance pay... So does performance pay make sense for brand publishing? Let’s examine some of the pros and cons.

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New Director of Communications at ff VC

New Director of Communications at ff VC

Last week, I joined ff Venture Capital in a newly-created role as Director of Communications. I will be handling the public relations and communications strategy in-house for ff and will be working closely over time with our 60+ portfolio companies.

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Intern at a breakout startup this summer--or a VC firm!

Intern at a breakout startup this summer--or a VC firm!

Do you hack fast and break stuff? Do you eat, sleep, and breathe startups? If so, we would love to speak to you.

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Deep Linking in Email Marketing: How it Works, and Why it Rocks!

Deep Linking in Email Marketing: How it Works, and Why it Rocks!

The beauty of deep linking is that it eliminates extra clicks, brings content closer to consumers, and enables people to more easily take the actions they intend on taking. This eliminates friction from the process of taking action (for example, launching and using a mobile app), resulting in more people actually taking the action that you’d like them to.

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ESPN Athletes With Serious Klout

ESPN Athletes With Serious Klout

What do comedy and sportsmanship have in common? A few athletes profiled on ESPN love using social media to show their wit.

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Helping startups hit a home run, VC Style

Helping startups hit a home run, VC Style

Lots of venture capitalists claim to add value to the companies in which they invest. But how do they do it? And does it really produce better returns for their investors?

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Your Idea is Only 5% of the Journey  (Part 1 of 2)

Your Idea is Only 5% of the Journey (Part 1 of 2)

When we first started Distil, we knew we had a great idea. The problem is that being an entrepreneur isn’t about ideas as much as it is execution. There are millions of great ideas in the world, but if you can’t successfully build or execute on them, they stay just that...

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 The Spring 2013 ffVC Interns

The Spring 2013 ffVC Interns

Justine is a current MBA student at the Yale School of Management, entering as a Silver Scholar. She graduated from NYU Stern with a BSc. in Finance and Economics and spent her undergraduate summers in Indonesia working in rural banks and learning rudimentary Bahasa Indonesia. Justine also previously worked at ...

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Is this the Future of Language Learning?

Is this the Future of Language Learning?

Google debuted their mysterious “Glass” device just last year, and since then it’s garnered attention across the tech scene and even the fashion industry. Now with even more details being exposed at SXSW, it’s even more clear that Glass and wearable computing are the next “big thing.” Glass is meant to be additive to our lives by giving us an implicit and novel interface through which we can filter our experiences and access ...

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Part Three: To Yahoo Or Not To Yahoo (How To Tell If Telecommuting Jobs Will Work For You)

Part Three: To Yahoo Or Not To Yahoo (How To Tell If Telecommuting Jobs Will Work For You)

So we saw a few valid arguments for and against telecommuting jobs, but everything still comes down to individual cases. You must ask a few honest questions of your employees and company as a whole. You may learn that your company could happily support telecommuting jobs after all. Or, you may reinforce your belief that it would doom your business like Yahoo.

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Part Two: Fully Distributed Teams: are they viable?

Part Two: Fully Distributed Teams: are they viable?

It has become increasingly common for technology companies to run as Fully Distributed teams. That is, teams that collaborate primarily over the web rather than using informal, face-to-face communication as the main means of collaborating.

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High Returns On A Small Fund Challenge Low Returns On A Big Fund

High Returns On A Small Fund Challenge Low Returns On A Big Fund

Let’s say you decide to invest in a VC fund. Congratulations: you’re now supporting the least unpopular part of the investing industry. That said, how do you avoid suffering the poor median returns the industry is known for? Assuming you have a large amount of capital to invest, the relatively easy decision is to invest in one of the brand-name, multi-billion dollar VCs. However, the conventional wisdom is that small VC funds have ...

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Part One: How Working Remotely Empowers Employees and Fails to Make Business Sense

Part One: How Working Remotely Empowers Employees and Fails to Make Business Sense

There has been some interesting controversy recently with regarding to remote work. Let me sum it up by putting it in two camps: “Marissa Meyer is wrong, remote work is empowering brilliant employees who wouldn’t be in the workforce otherwise” and “Marissa Meyer is right, because she is energizing the company by getting people physically and mentally together”.

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ff MASSIVE Party Lineup Announced

ff MASSIVE Party Lineup Announced

Coming to ff MASSIVE?? - Well we have some special annoumcents about our MASSIVE party! RSVP now at ffMASSIVE.com!! ff MASSIVE Party: Control Room - 604 E. 7th Street & Red River 7pm - 1am. Beverage Sponsors: Shellback, New Amsterdam; Music Lineup: St. Lucia (11:00pm) French Horn Rebellion (10:00pm) ...

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No-one Aspires to be a Great Manager Any More

No-one Aspires to be a Great Manager Any More

I was on a panel of the New York chapter of the Startup Leadership Program that was discussing Leadership, Management and Culture at a venture. I chose to cover “Management”;. Before I started, I asked the group how many of the 20 or so participants aspired to be great at ...

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An Insider’s Guide to SXSW Interactive

An Insider’s Guide to SXSW Interactive

South by Southwest Interactive is only a few weeks away, and the buzz is building about an event that showcases Austin, TX as a tech mecca. More than 25,000 entrepreneurs, innovators, geeks and investors from around the world will crowd into downtown Austin for a week’s worth of panel discussions, speakers, competitions, networking events and more. You can see the full conference schedule here.

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March 3-6, Birmingham, AL: Alternative Investing Conference

March 3-6, Birmingham, AL: Alternative Investing Conference

This conference is an evolution of the Alternative Investment Roundup that the executives at SSBC designed, developed and ran each February in Arizona from 1997 through 2008. Each year the Arizona event attracted more than 130 Institutional Investors representing over $2 Trillion in investable assets.

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How a Hypothetical Founder just saved $3 million in Federal Taxes

How a Hypothetical Founder just saved $3 million in Federal Taxes

I have written before about the tax benefit to investors from investing in a Qualified Small Business. The fact sometimes gets lost, but a company founder is also eligible for the tax benefit of excluding a portion of his QSB gain when he sells his interest. (State and local tax rates vary.) Because the law places limits on the tax benefit, careful planning by a founder is required.

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ff MASSIVE: ffVC at SXSW

ff MASSIVE: ffVC at SXSW

Join us at SXSW on Saturday March 9th for ff MASSIVE. This year at SXSW ff Venture Capital is hosting a full day of off campus networking and meetups followed by the most MASSIVE party SXSW has seen, ff MASSIVE. The meetups will feature 20+ ff Venture Capital portfolio companies incluing, Social ...

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What Are The Hardest Languages To Learn? [INFOGRAPHIC]

What Are The Hardest Languages To Learn? [INFOGRAPHIC]

Learning a new language can be difficult, but some languages can be trickier than others. For native English speakers, the difficulty level of a new language depends on a variety of factors. So which are the most difficult to learn? And which languages would you be able to master in under a year? View the infographic below to learn more.

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The Power of Saying NO!

The Power of Saying NO!

I did not come up with this phrase; I read it many years ago in a Harvard Business Review paper and remember it well. Many of my colleagues have heard me mention it over the years.

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Automating the Design Process at Voxy

Automating the Design Process at Voxy

As a company, we decided to take a look at 20-year old industry practices to see if we could find ways to improve upon them. Over the last couple of months, by using a mix of new ideas from other companies, as well as some of our very own ideas, we are doing just that. How are we doing it? Glad you asked.

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The biggest challenge of a startup founder

The biggest challenge of a startup founder

Everyone knows that startups are sexy. You make the rules, you get the money, glory and fame, press coverage, you name it. And while you have to work hard for this to happen — well, even harder than you ever thought you would — all is good in the end. Until it’s not.

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Convertibles: great cars, bad vehicles

Convertibles: great cars, bad vehicles

Convertible notes (converts, convertibles) are a popular, but poor vehicle for the first investment round for a company. Many disagree. From an investor’s point of view, however, convertible notes rarely make sense, except to bridge to an existing investment at an inflection point into a much larger round.

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Contently and Parse.ly selected for 2013 NYC Venture Fellows

Contently and Parse.ly selected for 2013 NYC Venture Fellows

Two ff Portfolio company founders, Sachin Kamdar, CEO of Parse.ly, and Shane Snow, CCO of Contently, have been selected for the 3rd class of NYC Venture Fellows, joining fellows from 28 other startups including Codeacademy, SideTour and Pencils of Promise. The highly-selective NYC Venture Fellows program is a collaboration between ...

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Mobile Advertising: Engagement Then Click-Throughs

Mobile Advertising: Engagement Then Click-Throughs

Dan Grigovici of AdMobius wrote an interesting article for AdExchanger recently that talked about the emergence of engagement. His article was written in response to the IAB’s newest report on Digital Ad Engagement and raised an interesting theory on the topic of measurement and optimization.

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 Four Things Congress Must Do To Fix America's Immigration Mess

Four Things Congress Must Do To Fix America's Immigration Mess

There is broad bipartisan agreement that America needs a legislative solution for our immigration policy that is truly “comprehensive.” Administrative “stroke of the pen” solutions from the executive branch can only go so far. The legislative arm of government can and should play the major role in immigration reform.

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Is The Government Telling The Truth When It Says Your Data Is Secure?

Is The Government Telling The Truth When It Says Your Data Is Secure?

(David previously published this at Techcrunch.) Modern encryption systems are, in theory, exceptionally secure. The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), for example, is so sophisticated that all known attacks are considered computationally infeasible. It is no surprise then, that the NSA considers 256-bit AES safe for storing top-secret data. What is ...

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Should CEOs Review Every New Hire?

Should CEOs Review Every New Hire?

Marissa Mayer seems to be single-handedly turning the corporate hiring world on its head. First, the new Yahoo! CEO made national headlines when she became one of the only pregnant women in history to be promoted to a top-level executive position at a publicly traded company. Now, she’s sent another shock wave through the HR industry with her announcement that she will personally be reviewing every new hire that Yahoo! makes.

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The Price of Staying Connected

The Price of Staying Connected

This immediately reminded me of a great talk(1) famed security researcher Moxie Marlinspike likes to give on the topic of using mobile phones and the “No Network Effect”. It boils down to the fact that it’s not a choice of whether or not you want to use a mobile phone but ...

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A Closer Look At The Quality Of Angel Returns Data

A Closer Look At The Quality Of Angel Returns Data

Every major study conducted to date has placed angel investors’ IRR between 18 and 38 percent, as summarized by my Partner John Frankel and Professor Robert Wiltbank in prior Techcrunch articles. The bad news: the data on angel returns has historically been difficult to obtain, analyze, verify, and therefore rely upon.

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Realizing Agile Email Marketing: The Future of Video, Content, and Context

Realizing Agile Email Marketing: The Future of Video, Content, and Context

Movable Ink was featured in ClickZ today. In an interview with veteran email marketing industry analyst David Daniels, our VP of Marketing Jordan Cohen explained the benefits of Agile Email Marketing, Movable Ink’s new Video in Email solution, and the impact of mobile on email marketing campaigns. Agile email marketing ...

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Taxation of Qualified Small Business Stock: Congress Offers a Large Benefit, if You Can Squeeze into a Small Window

Taxation of Qualified Small Business Stock: Congress Offers a Large Benefit, if You Can Squeeze into a Small Window

While tax planning should not be the determining factor in making an investment, it certainly should be a factor. That is why, for at least the past 18 months, we have considered the qualifying small business status of a company in which we are looking to invest. Two tax planning ...

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It’s All About (the) Customer Service

It’s All About (the) Customer Service

At Phone.com we are in a very competitive business environment and one which is also a very fast moving and changing market. Yes the product and the service that we put out is extremely important. We have to remain cutting edge, offer the best features and apps and keep innovating. We do a pretty darn good job at this and we have some nice accolades to support it.

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VolunteerSpot’s Karen Bantuveris to New Entrepreneurs: ASK Questions!

VolunteerSpot’s Karen Bantuveris to New Entrepreneurs: ASK Questions!

We Are Austin Tech, a weekly video segment featuring Austin’s technology industry movers and shakers, has released its latest video featuring Karen Bantuveris, founder and CEO of VolunteerSpot, a ffVC portfolio company.

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Tuesday, Jan. 22: John Frankel presenting at HBS

Tuesday, Jan. 22: John Frankel presenting at HBS

The HBS Entrepreneurship Club is hosting John Frankel presenting on “How Your Startup Can Exploit the Current Technology Super Cycle” this Tuesday, January 22, 6 pm, at Harvard Business School, Aldrich Hall (Room TBD), Boston, MA. He’ll also join some students for a private dinner afterwards.

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Livefyre NewsHub Navigates the CES Social Storm

Livefyre NewsHub Navigates the CES Social Storm

Each year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Las Vegas for the International CES. The enormous trade show showcases the latest and greatest innovations in the consumer electronics industry in every category, from TV's to Electric Toothbrushes.In recent years, the number of attendees have exploded, along with the content ...

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Interaxon and Muse’s Brainwave Health System Prepare Your Mind for Whatever Life Throws At You and Are On Display at CES

Interaxon and Muse’s Brainwave Health System Prepare Your Mind for Whatever Life Throws At You and Are On Display at CES

Muse’s Brain Health system simultaneously strengthens the cognitive and emotional parts of your brain. This fun and easy-to-use system helps you focus more at work, maintain composure in stressful situations, feel less anxiety and reduce the negative thoughts that undermine your potential.

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How VCs Deploy Operating Talent To Build Better Startups

How VCs Deploy Operating Talent To Build Better Startups

Drew Hansen just posted a very interesting piece on Forbes on, “How VCs Deploy Operating Talent To Build Better Startups”.  He draws on the research study my coauthors and I are about to publish on best practices in how venture capitalists increase the odds of company success through operational assistance. ...

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