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How Guy Kawasaki Launched Truemors for $12,107.09 (guykawasaki.com)
37 points by divia on June 4, 2007 | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments

I don't understand why everyone is so critical of what Guy has done and the steps he has taken to accomplish it.

I am not a big fan of Truemors, but I really enjoyed reading about what he spent and the things he did to get it off of the ground.

I don't understand why everyone is so critical of what Guy has done

He seems patronizing: his entire post reads like a satire, i.e., "Look, ma, I made a social networking site, too, just like the ones all the cool kids are visiting these days".

Also, he seems to enjoy mocking the lower costs inherent in Web 2.0 by exaggerating how cheaply he built the whole thing.

That may not be his intention, but that's certainly how it comes across.

Do you think he's being insincere or just a showman? My feeling is that Guy likes to exaggerate everything to make a point: in this case, it's getting really cheap to fail, so take more risks.


It smacks of insincerity, especially because he seems to enjoy the part about "no business plan".

Any responsible investor, either angel or VC, will want to have some sense about that, even if revenues and profits "come later".

YC gets a lot of criticism in that regard, but to their credit, they do ask applicants how they intend to make money with their project.

I totally agree that you need a business "model" - but do you really need a "plan" for a site that costs $12,000?

If he can get 260K page views, even a 0.5% clickthru @ only $0.10 an ad is $130. Not great, but if you can do it every day you've got a site that's pulling in $50K in revenue a year. Not bad, but could be something to explore.

I totally agree with you that you need to know where your business is going to go and if you want to get real funding you'd better have a business plan, but if you're running a $12K test, why not just make sure you think there's a model and then test it?

I don't think users are being unnecessarily critical when they point out that Guy should have put the money he spent in development towards marketing (which includes advertising).

Guy's own blog proves that would have been his best course of action--as the publicity he got was free and would have been so regardless of what language he used or who created his logo.

Random question, when does one need to incorporate? I'm building an app slowly and only have a few $10s to spend every month. Clearly, I can not afford extra expenditures.

My friends will see a private beta, and then I'd like to start looking for some funding. Will I need to be incorporated before that point?

Well, for one thing it insulates you from the company. If the company gets sued, you might lose the business, but hopefully not your house.

From what I understand, you don't necessarily have to be incorporated to seek funding. That would happen as a matter of course if you got a deal.

The main reason to incorporate or LLC is to protect yourself from legal liability. If someone sues you, you want to protect your personal assets from being part of that lawsuit. If you're not even going to be live, then you may not have anything to worry about.

Another reason to incorporate is so that, when you have multiple people working on something, there is an entity for the code to belong to.

I'm curious - if individual founders write a significant amount of code before incorporation, do they then have to legally sign over rights to the code to the corporation once it's been formed? Are there persistent legal problems that might arise from working first and incorporating later, or can everything be solved by a good lawyer? (Assuming a good working relationship between cofounders...if there's no legal framework and then things get sour, I'd imagine there're lots of problems that might arise...)

It's not so much legal problems you have to worry about. When the code belongs to a company the founders collectively own, they have more incentive to cooperate. Till you have such an agreement, any founder could bail and take his code with him, as supposedly happened with Facebook. Arguably any startup whose founders would do such a thing would be doomed anyway, but even in startups where the founders can trust one another, having the company own the code tends to make them cooperate more, as I've heard marriage does vs. just going out.

Seems Guy played that hand perfectly. He bet that 'inquiry minds want to know.' named it Truemors, or as I usually mistaken and slur Tumors. I'm unable to hold on to 'true rumors'. However, I disagree with Guy, he did create a business plan ... not one that requires 20 slides, but one that suits his own 5 second elevator pitch evangelist style.

Tips for outsourcing like Guy did: http://news.ycombinator.com/comments?id=26310

I'd love to see a follow up in 90 days to this story, maybe with how much money the site made, etc.

400 dollars, for that logo?!

If anything, he could've saved an extra $1000 at least, giving me a bit more hope as I start my venture.

I'm surprised he's proud of any one of those points, let alone all of them. But I think the true reason behind writing the article is to convince his readers, as well as himself, that he's doing this just to see what happens.

I have nothing against GK but also can't understand this amount

$1,115.05. I spent $1,115.05 registering domains. I could have used GoDaddy and done it a lot cheaper, but I was too stupid and lazy.

I don't understand this part (either). First of all, 55 domains is way overkill. Maybe some of the country-coded TLDs are worth it if you're really going to do, say, a German-language Truemors.

Ok, so even then, 55 x $6.95 =~ $385. (GoDaddy does $6.95 domains with discount codes. There are scores of discount codes out there. Use CHILL3, for instance.) I can understand being a little lazy, but $700 lazy? Even if you're rich, 700 bucks is 700 bucks.

If it was me: F the country codes. Register .com, .org, .net, .us, .info, .biz. And you're done -- in fact, you're beyond done. You don't really need that crap at all. You need some SEO instead, perhaps.

$4,824.14. The total cost of the legal fees was $4,824.14.


“The only reason Truemors is getting so much coverage is that it’s Guy’s site.”

Too bad it's worthless. If he actually made something new and/or innovative, his celebrity would actually be put to good use.

Perhaps it's worthless in its current implementation or intended domain. I wouldn't write off the idea so quickly though. A lot of how humans get their news is through gossip from their trusted network of informants. Truemors did away with the trusted network to rely on global voting. I'm not sure this is the way to go.

Well, just because you're a celebrity doesn't mean you can't fail. You just fail bigger.

You hit my biggest problem with the idea: Gossip already spreads better among networks of people who care. It's not some concept I can just go to a page for. So the topic of the content is not a value add.

As for the technology, we've seen how cheap and reproducible that is. News.yc, Reddit, Digg, Netscape, and dozens of other sites have technology that probably beats that of Truemors. So the company isn't worth buying for that.

Some companies get bought for their employees. Well, Guy's "1.5" employees, if he's talking about a full-timer and part-timer other than himself, aren't visionaries, they're just people who can turn around one of Guy's ideas. Come to think of it, that makes them better potential hires for a big company than most headstrong, visionary startuppers.

So Guy just spent $12k making himself feel good. By doing so, he demonstrated how detached he is from the real world -- which, psychologically speaking, is a fine way to live. If you're like Guy and you can afford to blow $12,000 doing it.

$4,824.14. The total cost of the legal fees was $4,824.14. I could have used my uncle the divorce lawyer and saved a few bucks, but that would have been short sighted if Truemors ever becomes worth something.

Why?? I have yet to completely understand this. PG, in one of his essays, also says that you should go and pay an expensive lawyer rather than use an incoporating service. Why?

Is there something The Company Corporation is doing wrong that a high-price lawyer would do right? Maybe I don't understand something, but all you're doing is filing some standard legal documents, right?

What is there to do so wrong? $4,824.14? Really?

IANAL obviously. I wish lawyers hung out here. Does anyone have any insight?

I'd love to get some insight on this as well. I've started (and sold) two companies that were incorporated with a cheap-o incorporating service... Did I just get lucky?

Do you think that investors tell new users to spend the most they can on lawyers and incorporation fees at the outset simply to get them to focus on one idea and also feel a money crunch? Steve Pavlina says the only thing you NEED to start a business is an $8 domain name. He suggests entrepreneurs to get one of those free for 6 month web hosting plans.

I've started (and sold) two companies that were incorporated with a cheap-o incorporating service

Wow! That's good to know, thx. The buyers didn't have a problem with the incorporation details? Did the issue come up at all?

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