I stopped by Internet Week in New York City this week to attend a few panels that covered the current state of the technology market, startups and launching new products successfully. Here are a few things I learned:
Are we in a bubble, or aren’t we?
In a panel entitled “Pop! Goes the Bubble”, an angel investor and representatives from companies including Meebo, Geekosystem.com and MessageParty debated whether or not we are in the middle of a second technology bubble which threatens to burst. The consensus was that angel investments in tech startups have formed a growing bubble, but that public market valuation of tech companies is not yet a bubble. There are so many now popular names of angel investors floating around, and sites like Kickstarter, which fuel the trend by allowing any average Joe to fill the same role. Market valuation is not yet a bubble because few startups have grown large enough to go public. LinkedIn is currently in the spotlight in this regard, and it looks like Groupon and Zynga are on deck. Will more companies be brave enough to take the plunge and go public? We’ll see.
Keeping the bubble alive
Panelists offered the following advice which would be useful for startups, their founders, and anyone launching a new prodct:
- Do NOT fundraise until you’ve launched your product. (that was a crucial mistake which contributed to the collapse of the .com bubble.
- The founding team must be scrappy and motivated not by money but by the appeal of (and their belief in) the concept.
- The superstar tech giants have founders who can code and program their products themselves. This is no coincidence. Every penny counts, so not having to pay outsiders to build your product is key.
- Treat monetization as a necessary evil. The more it is integrated into your product and your users’ experience, the better off you’ll be.
- Create a company whose product bridges a gap or occupies a space that no one else is occupying. Innovate in a way that no one else is doing.
Perhaps you’ll find that some of the above points are obvious, but I believe they’re worth repeating, because forgetting any one coulled endanger your startup’s or product’s success. What would you add, or delete from, this list? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.