There's this website called MyFitnessPal.com. Has over a million uniques. Run by just 2 guys from their own house. No coverage in TC, VentureBeat, or any startup publications. Yet they probably get more visitors and more revenue (and less employees) than 99% of the startups covered.
Edit: A little coverage in VentureBeat http://venturebeat.com/2012/04/19/health-tracking-app-needto... I just had to check. :)
This model (free service/soft + hardware) reminds me of sports-tracker.com  (one of few sites I simply love). They service (app, site) is also free and they sell heart rate monitors.
With same model (do free service, sell hardware), there is one difference which is interesting. Sports-Tracker sells their own hardware, MyFitnessPal just resells Fitbit.
Added: I just hope they (MyFitnessPal) do not sell their databases.
Figuring out what makes that happen is the magic key to plentiful riches, not so much tech-industry blogs. Of course, positive coverage in the tech press is unlikely to hurt.
Dietician : Nutritionist :: Dentist : Tooth-i-ologist.
I'm not sure this qualifies Nutritionists as "real" for any value of real I personally care about ... then again I haven't clicked, because I don't really want to know about people who'll likely all hate me for eating too much steak ;)
However it 'exists' and is true as much as Astrology and Creationism.
That being said, all things being equal, I'd take a brilliant dietician (who has been trained in the whole system and science), over a brilliant nutritionist (who might only be great programming in one or two languages).
No 'self taught programmers' use their own "base 3 logic system" fighting against the "base 2 conspiracy".
Some of the things nutritionists believe are at odds with basic science, e.g. nutritionists who think you should eat green veg because the chlorophyll will oxygenate your blood... ignoring the fact that chlorophyll works in the presence of light, and there is no light inside your body...
Let's be clear here, Nutritionism is up there with Astrology, Creationism, Flat Earth Theory, Crystal Healing, and the Magic Power of the Stars to Heal You.
A Fitness Trainer is not a good analogy either, because you can't stay in business long as a fitness trainer if you have no idea of the basics of fitness or anatomy. E.g. a fitness trainer who said that you breath through your feet, so you should wear sandals when running knows as much about biology as a nutritionist who thinks chlorophyll can oxygenate your blood. However the magic super food nutritionist had a prime time TV show! High ranking, popular nutritionists can believe things that are nonsense, what hope do you have about a local nutritionist?
And dietician's pushed the traditional food pyramid for years, which many current dietician's find fault with, years after nutritionist's pointed out the same thing.
I've met successful doctors, lawyers, trainers, etc., that believe in crazy wild theories that have no basis in anything other than what they want to believe. Success amazingly often has very little to do with if people are right or wrong (I'm sure there are some very wealthy astrologers out there).
By your theory, it doesn't matter which doctor you pick, they are all trained physicians, so they all believe the exact same thing. Need a psychologist, just read Dr. Phil's book, he's board certified. Or don't agree with Dr. Phil, then all psychologist's are bad.
I get what you are saying, but formal education only tends to weed out the absolute nutjobs.
Just look at Dr. Oz or Charles Poliquin. Completely crazy.
TLDR: Ask for proof. From my experience you overestimate the impact of formal education.
Made me want to blog about it.
Thus improved access to tech blogs can be considered one of the benefits of having well-connected investors.
Whether your company's a startup or not can drive you up semantic walls, when the the focus should (for some people) being on building something of value, whether that value's for shareholders, investors, or just yourself, and to hell with all the labels.
I think working with big corporate budgets negatively trains you for running your own company. You can just throw money at things and if it doesn't work out, no big deal. Drop $80k on a booth at a trade show that didn't result in a single sale? Well, at least you got some good face-time, right? That kind of thing just doesn't fly when you're just starting out on your own.
It's much harder to manage a $20k budget and go from $0 to >$0 revenue than it is to manage a $1 million budget that just magically refills year after year.
At both large companies I've worked at each department had its own budget, and each department head was responsible for that budget. If a manager keeps losing too much money, they get fired, if a department continually fails to turn a profit the department gets closed down. So while it's not the same as a startup it's also not like you have infinite money to throw around without consequence.
The difference I'd like to point out is how scalable and reliable the business model is for generating value (aka money.)
For example, I run a web design company that offers custom services and consistently generates revenues each month. However it's not a scalable business. If I got 100x more sales next month, I would need more people and the number of people needed would most likely be a linear function of the number of sales I got. Also, it's not a completely reliable business model in the long run.
Compare that with that of Wix.com, which is a DIY website builder software. I would bet that they know that for every X free users, they'll generate $y in add-on sales. If they got 100x more users/customers, they would need more people and resources but likely it would be an logarithmic function.
Now if you had a "startup" like Wix without a clear focus on figuring out how to generate revenue, that's just foolish. That wouldn't be a startup. That would be wishful thinking.
Basically what I'm saying is that it wouldn't be fair to say that my business that consistently generates $x/month is better than a "startup" that might generate 1/10 of the revenue each month IF they are deliberately trying and succeeding at figuring out an effective, scalable & reliable business model because in year Z, they could be 10x my revenues.
Back in the days, a start-up was something different, something the society looked down, you know...a real challenge (which is why the society looked down). Today, the scenario is like as if its cool to run a Start-up (and fail).
X: "Hey dude, I run a startup..howz about you?"
Y: "Cool story bro..I runz one too..wanna be my co-founder?"
X: "sure thing bro...right away"
[now X can call himself a 'Serial Entrepreneur' because he sabotaged his old start-up for a new one]
What's wrong with creating a SaaS for $80/month and finding 500 users? $40k/month is more than so many of these clowns will ever make.
they need to keep their heads down and mouths shut. rant over = )
No love from your peers? Seriously, B2B is way undervalued around here...
You might want to look up the No True Scotsman fallacy.
Maybe he was also attacking the very lean startup people who only have an email collecting landing page, a funny or inflated title and a blog filled with lessons for entrepreneurs when they come from a geek subculture and you are correct. It seemed more like a perfect NTS because of the "bro" references. Reading it again, I could see either interpretation being correct.
I think it is great that startups are cool. We need more entrepreneurs, not less. Most people don't have a clue what they are doing with their first company (I sure as hell didn't). Fail, and you won't make the same mistakes again the second time around.
Note that this definition does not describe startups as inherently good thing. Just inherently different than other types of businesses in many key ways.
Do I consider it a startup? Not really. But I don't really consider it to be just a website either. I guess my definition of a startup is an entity that has a team behind it, provides some type of service & could be substantially scaled with funding or revenue.
Startup. Ninja. Hacker.
There's absolutely nothing to be gained by arguing about word definitions, people treat definitions as axiomatic. People don't logically derive what a word means through etymology or historical usage, they define it as what they understand it to mean.
Telling someone that their definition of a word is wrong is like saying their preference for one colour over another is wrong. It's a personal view, accept it and move on.
To give you a current example, take REST. When a service says it has a REST API, it tells me absolutely nothing, since I don't know if they mean REST as in Roy Fielding's dissertation or REST as in "JSON instead of XML and some URL templates".
Their ability of communicating with me has been destroyed by people constantly reassigning different definitions to the term.
Point being, words are often perverted by groups trying to describe their activities. This is how language works.
But if all you want is to make a successful small business, and you don't care about technology, you're not really part of my community, and I don't really want you there. I want my community to be people who care about technology first, and business second. People who care only about business and don't care about technology tend to be the kind of people who ruin the companies and the communities I like, where people care about technology first, even if those companies became valuable because they were full of people who cared about technology first.
Indeed, legally, the first year of any business is considered its "startup" year (and possibly longer, in specific situations), and during this time the "startup" is eligible for tax breaks or exemptions under state and federal tax codes. This use of "startup" precedes Silicon Valley.
Yes, a bakery is a startup if it is just starting up. So is a taco cart, if it the vendor is just starting out. This is the classical definition of startup.
As someone said already, it is not how you call your "company" or the position you have in there. The results should be the important thing.
The whole thing about Startups, definition, is that every single John Doe, want to say he is a hacker "just because he knows how to code", and want to say he has a startup "just because he has an idea, and a software/site based on it".
Well, definitions might be OK, but I agree with you. At the end of the day what really matters is how much money comes into your wallet, it does not matter if you are called "the janitor of the website".
It looks like people enjoy romanticizing this darker side of starting up a new business. It's not your fault if you don't fail the first time you try :)
Is it super sexy? Of course not, but in the end, who cares?
According to my accountant, the IRS defines a startup as a business activity that is not yet profitable, but you're actively working to make it profitable.
By either of these definitions, not every new venture is a startup. This is just semantic. I don't think "not a startup" should be an insult.
EDIT: I see from another comment that Merriam-Webster defines start-up as a fledgling business. IMHO this makes the English language a little less rich, since you could just as easily say "new business", but it is what it is.
A startup is a 'Useful infrastructure' previously and wholly 'nonexistent' that 'fills a need' for a population and thus earns revenue. I'm sure I've left something out but this definition helps me sort between startup ideas and content ideas in my head.
I'm not sure if you can watch it outside of australia, but it's available here: http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2012/s3572792.htm
Thoughts on his advice? He was the only investor I've ever talked to so just wondering for the future when talking to other investors...
Consider it the difference between someone with a corner store and someone wanting to build a new franchise. No one "invests" in a corner store.
This guy may have conveyed this lesson in an abrasive manner but it is valuable advice.
I think it's awesome this individual displays the ability to generate $10K in free cash flow per month. (I edited this as it sounded snarky when I read it back) The more you widen the definition the weaker the definition becomes.
See a lot of zero revenue businesses that throw around the scale idea as justification for not having a business model, but the older I get the more I believe titles, whether for what your business is or what your role is, matter less than results.
What makes the startup world so exciting is its variety outside of the echo chambers: Food truck startups, jewelry startups, services startups. Many of which don't plan on or will never "scale" in a web sense, and then others that will scale in ways the founders couldn't imagine the first year or two out of the gate.
Would that make facebook & google the grand daddies of all lifestyle businesses?
From the tone of the article it seems like it's no longer earning, Google slap? The old Adsense ban? Game fell out of popularity?
$0.50 * (1.5 million * 2%) = $15,000/mo.
By contrast, I would not consider crranky's Blogspot website a startup because I suspect it has captured most of the small, shrinking market it targets.
Where did that revenue-generating website go?
That said, this might not be the case, but if your work is creating the same value as the standard car salesman (i.e. none), you'll get corresponding respect.
100k company aiming to be a 200k company is not a startup;
100m company aiming to be a 200m company is not a startup;
100k company aiming to be a 200m company is a startup;
0$ company aiming to be a 200k company is a startup.
IMHO. Does it make sense?
P.S. and it is often determined by the actual business ideas. There are some ideas that can grow and scale if everything goes well; and there are some ideas simply that have a market ceiling of, say, a few million even if everything goes perfectly.
Think about the word "startup." The etymology of the word means, literally, "start up [business]". A new company that has yet to prove itself is a startup. The Merriam-Webster definition is "a fledgling business enterprise."
If that's not a startup, then calling what you're referring to "startups" is very counter-intuitive.
It's as if I had referred to a recently founded car manufacturer as a "new business" and then subsequently everyone started referring to 20-year-old car manufacturers as "new businesses."
A 100k company is already a business and not a startup.
A 100k company aiming to be a 200m company is not a startup, it is an established business hoping to expand...just like every other business.
A startup is company which doesnt have a stable cashflow and is searching for one. Thats about the only difference that really needs to be applied from a taxonomy point of view.
Impact is also completely unrelated to the label "startup". Private citizens, companies, NGOs, social communities and even projects-on-the-internet (eg: Linux) have had a huge impact on the world and its hard to say who has had more. Again another inane and useless conversation - who has more impact.
First make enough money to attempt to make an impact. Then you can try your hand at actually making an impact.
"An organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty."
I think anyone that wants to take a risk and actually create something should be allowed to call themselves at startup. Does it really matter if it's a business, website, startup? At the end of the day, it's pretty easy to tell who is serious and generally talented verses the people who are just hobbiest or not putting their full effort into their businesses.
I had a lot of businesses that generated $10 K+ a month, some without me doing much at all, or working 5-10 hours a week. But they didn't worth a dime, so they weren't startups. I couldn't sell them for any meaningful amount. So is yours.
I think whether site or startup, it is just a (hopefully informed) crapshoot. In the end, the goals are to be happy, make money, and make a difference. Whether you do that via startup, or other means, doesn't matter. And, if you fail, you (hopefully) learn and can do better next time.
I think engineers admire apps more than content. But money and fame can be made with either.
On the other hand, I only hear about the feature as a product or network effect startups here on HN. Around town, folks I interact with and companies I all work with have real products and at least a real revenue source.
It's like going to comic-con and deciding the rest of the world dresses like that.
It is a bit the same with me and programming/developing. Revenue is my new metric for how well I am doing. It makes it harder - yes I can come up with a solution, but can I do it in a short time, suppressing my perfectionism (come on - we all have it), and in a responsive enough manner to get people to pay for my work? It is just taking it to the next level.
And I do rather like money.
It is a big data local social gamified MVP'd pivoted to-do list built on a distributed paxos consistent lock-free real-time column-based k/v persistent memory grid.
The .io is critical.
I admire people who can identify a useful, positive seed idea and grow it to something that enriches a wider audience though. That's kind of why I lurk around HN.