Angel Investment Journal – Angel Investing and Entrepreneur Blog



Squirrel Nut Zippers.com

Posted in General,Web by angel on the February 27th, 2007

Chris at the NameInspector, has a good post on Web 2.0 names. It covers 10 categories that encompass nearly all Web 2.0 companies. He has some other interesting posts which you may want to check out including one on Guy Kawasaki’s blog, How to Change the World.

I am not a brand or naming guru, but when considering a name, here are a few things I take into consideration. Can you get a brandable name which is also descriptive of the company? “Angel Investment Journal” is descriptive, but is not a name I would consider to be a good brandable name, even though any name can be brandable. Companies that are focusing on building their brand, however generally try to get a name that is not too long and easy to understand, even if it is not descriptive. Amazon and Monster are the two prime examples of this and I would consider them to be great names, as would most people. The wildcard is the domain. Is it available?

One other thing comes into play when talking about a domain is that you can gain credibility by having a great, descriptive name, even if it is generic. It may be considered online branding, because you can get credibility just by having a certain domain. We found this out when we started a site that would help people find vacation properties at lakes. We were able to purchase the domain lakerentals.com for a reasonable price. Even though it may not be considered a brandable name in the offline world because it is so generic, it works very well online. It is descriptive and people would consider it more authoritative than a site like yourrentalplace.com or vacationrentals411.com (even though they are both fine sites).

A final thought on the name for your Web 2.0 company is that a descriptive domain can also help in terms of marketing, specifically search engine marketing. For example, when people link to LakeRentals.com they generally include the name of our company/domain, which is “Lake Rentals”. Those links will also help us rank for searches including “lake rentals” in them. So yourrentalplace.com and vacationrentals411.com may have an advantage over a brandable name such as going2travel.com in that respect.

Of course, you can always go with the route of naming your company like bands do. Just combine a bunch of random words such as Squirrel Nut Zippers.

The World is Running out of Ideas

Posted in Web by angel on the February 5th, 2007

When I was in college, I read a story about a guy that patented the concept of advertising on turnstiles. I thought that was awesome and since I wanted to start my own business, I tried to think of new places where you could advertise. I figured I could form a business around a entirely new form of advertising.

Everywhere I went, I made notice of where my eyes looked to see if that was a potential advertising space. But I had trouble finding places that did not already have advertisements. But it was not that we had run out of places to advertise, it is because I was not thinking about places to advertise in the right way. Instead of looking harder, it often takes a new way of thinking to find new ideas. Many new brilliant advertising models have arrived (not to mention the entire internet). But I heard about one today and thought it was awesome. It involved advertising on clothes hangers. It not only reaches a huge audience, but it has great visibility and you can target specific demos. And it is simple. Post-it note simple.

Recently I have heard some people say companies wanting to get in on Web 2.0 may be late in the game. They say the great ideas are already out there. Now it is just a matter of improving and innovating on them. That is ridiculous. There are always new and even totally revolutionary ideas out there. And even if there are a ton of great ideas out there, we always have Web 3.0.

“Everything that can be invented has been invented,” — Charles H. Duell, Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.

Blogs vs Big Media

Posted in Web by angel on the February 5th, 2007

I have been involved in the online marketing world since 1999 and that is the industry which I follow more than any other.  Today, I saw a post from John Battelle talking about the release of Yahoo’s new Search Marketing product – Panama. He said it was covered more in depth at other sources. He included links to the New York Times, Time magazine and two industry blogs, one of which is run by one person. Do you know which ones I clicked on?  I visited two of the links, but neither had the word “Time” in it.

The reason is because I knew the other two sources would appeal to a general audience and the article details and writing would reflect this. Whereas the two industry blogs would get more detailed and cover things which would interest an online marketer. The same can be said for any industry. That doesn’t mean I don’t refer to the NY Times or Time magazine. In fact, I subscribe to RSS feeds from both, but that is specifically for general information on topics and news. If I want specific, detailed information from an expert, I go to the blogs.

MBA’s and Sunscreen

Posted in Resources,Web by angel on the February 2nd, 2007

I am slowly adding more great investor and entrepreneur blogs to my RSS reader. Speaking of which, I am amazed at how many people do not use RSS readers. Some people continue to manually go to every blog they want to read. So if you don’t use an RSS reader, get one now.

I recently started reading Charlie’s blog, This is going to be big. In the past few weeks, he has a couple of great posts. He posted this one today:

We’re posting a job here that includes the following line: “An MBA is not only not required, it is frowned upon.”

I thought that was pretty funny. I am sure an MBA is valuable, but it needs to include some great experience while getting it.

I used to scalp tickets with a guy in college that was getting his MBA. Yet, I know he learned 10x more scalping tickets than he did throughout his MBA program. Hopefully you will have some good teachers that will learn you a thing or two and hopefully you get some real experiences.

I don’t know if I would say I would discourage getting an MBA nor that I would prefer a non-MBA vs someone with an MBA, but the actual value of one, outside of the corporate world, is little. If you want to be an entrepreneur, I would recommend starting a company or two, instead of “investing” $30,000+ in an MBA. You have $30,000 to piss away, so don’t worry about a few failures.  Anyway, failures are awesome. I definitely learned more from my failures than I have from any particular successful venture, project, or idea. And if you get through the failures and still want a job, but don’t have an MBA to your credit, come talk to Charlie or me.

In another post, a few weeks ago, he include words to a song he calls The Start Up Song or “Sunscreen 2.0”. Hopefully you remember the Baz Luhrmann song with a similar name. His version was awesome and I cracked up while reading the entire thing. Since I was laughing, my wife wanted to see what I was reading, she got through a few lines, rolled her eyes and shook her head. OK, maybe you have to be a little dorky to enjoy it as much as I did, but there is a lot of good stuff there and I am sure any entrepreneur that is working in the internet space will love it.

Bubble 2.0?

Posted in Web by angel on the January 25th, 2007

The last post talked about some Podcasts for Entrepreneurs and Angel/VC investors. David Hornik, who does VentureCast, was featured in an article in the Wall Street Journal on whether or not we are in a Web 2.0 bubble. He faced off against Todd Dagres in the article and the two discussed whether or not we are in Bubble 2.0.

In his recent podcast, David talks about the interview and makes some additional points. I found it to be an interesting article and you can check it out here.

Seeing Web 2.0 companies selling for hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars does have many people wondering whether or not we could be coming close to a bubble. Dagres claims that many Web 2.0 companies are overvalued and feels there is too much Private Equity in the market, which helps inflate the valuations. One reason for claiming these companies are overvalued is because many have high valuations while not even being cash flow positive.

Hornik disagrees and states that there are plenty of Web 2.0 companies that are cash flow positive. He also syays he feels there are a lot of great ideas out there.

Even though they differ on whether or not the markets are overvalued, both agree that what makes markets thrive and the likelihood of success for any company is the quality of the people, and most importantly, the entrepreneur. This is the same thing I alluded to in another post. Great people are more important than great ideas.