Entrepreneurial Death Traps

I was reading this article called “Entrepreneurial Death Traps – How to avoid the classic entrepreneurial mistakes”. If you are ever going to start your own business in the future then you should read this article and take into account the advices given. Because you don’t want to repeat those problems.

Friend as a Co-Founder

It discusses about the partnership issues that start with a simple trust between friends and turns into a major problem later on. For example: Two friends launching a start-up together with 50/50 share. After few years one works and another simply looses interest and doesn’t work. The one who does not work still gets paid every month, and owns 50% of the company. Without his consent no major decision cannot be taken, and that includes firing him. So they are trapped.

Second example:

What about the three (or four) (or five) musketeer’s death trap. Although in one sense it’s a corollary of the 50-50 partnership deathtrap, in some ways it’s even more insidious. You know the story. Three friends decide to start a company. They split the ownership absolutely equally, they draw identical salaries, they’re going to make decisions “by consensus.” It’s the logical, “fair” thing to do. One of them (perhaps the oldest or the one whose idea it was originally) reluctantly assumes the presidency because state law requires there to be one.

What a recipe for failure! There are three primary problems with this set-up. First, this company has no leader, no one ultimately responsible for its success or failure. Second, sooner or later a major, honest difference of opinions will arise. What do they do then? Third, the reluctant president will almost inevitably come to see himself as “a little more than equal.” If they have any success, for example, and get written up in the local or trade press, guess whose picture the reporter will want? Guess whose quotes will be plastered all through the story? Guess which other two people are going to hang the article on their family room dart board?

The solution? Pick a CEO and treat him like one. Give him the largest equity position and salary, even if they are only symbolically larger. Somebody has to sit where the buck stops.

There are many more advices and examples, read the full article at http://www.vcinstitute.org/bookstore/deathtraps.html

I think it’s really important to make everything clear before you set out for a business with your friends. Discussing all the financial things might sound a bit money minded first, but that can actually save your friendship later on. What do you think?

Four Useful Ways to use Google effectively

We use Google everyday, but how many of us use it effectively? As you know Google has many search features but nobody uses all the features fully. Usually a typical Google user would just type words in the search box and scan the results. But this is not the most effective way to find something.

I would like to cover some of the most important search rules in this post. They are simple rules but when used correctly, will get you the gems in the search results.

1. Searching by phrase

By default when you search Google it will show you the results that have the keywords that you searched for, as long as those words are mentioned in the page url, page title or page content it will show up in the Google results. For example searching cool CSS tools would display results that have these three keywords. Results might look like this:

However when you put your keyword between quotes ”  “, the results will show only the pages that have all three words together (eg: “Cool CSS Tools“)

2. Search by filetype (i.e pdf, doc, exe..etc)

google search for pdf files

This is a great way to find resources, especially if you are looking for specific file types. For example typing Introduction to Investment:pdf in Google and hitting search will return (some) results in PDF format. Why some only? Because it is possible that there might be no pdf files for the search-term that you have just entered.

3. Finding Word Definitions

When you are searching for some definition you can just type deine:SEARCHTERM and google will display the definition of that word. For example typing define:www and hitting search will show lots of definitions from various sites for the word WWW, see screenshot below.

Extra Tip: -word +word

When you use minus_and_keyword like this -cool css tools, Google will only show the results (pages) that do not have words cool on it. All the pages that have cool word in it will be dropped. That means Google will only display CSS Tools related pages that do not contain Cool word on them.

As for the plus sign before the word, it will find pages that have that particular word. Eg: +Cool CSS Tools, this will show pages that have Cool keyword on them.

Your favorite feature
These tips should be enough to use Google effectively. If you have your own favorite feature that you use often, share with us in comments.

All Google SE Features http://www.google.com/help/features.html