Archives for the month of: September, 2010

Like everyone else I’ve been reading and watching Mike’s latest ‘AngelGate’ story unfold for the last few days. It’s interesting to see lines so clearly and predictably divided on who is to be believed. If you’re an entrepeneur you believe Arrington. If you’re an Angel/VC you believe the attendees responses like that of Dave McClure and Chris Yeh and laugh the whole thing off. I see the whole thing as black and white. Either the Angels are lying or Mike is. Since we hardly know who was even in the room, it’s a lot easier to judge Mike’s track record for reporting and writing stories with unnamed sources then it is unnamed ‘Super Angels’.

I did a quick scan of Arrington’s posts for the last four months and here are the ‘unconfirmed’ rumors he wrote about, as well as the outcome of his sources and reporting.

Sept-April 2010

1. CrunchPad litigation update. Based on the original blog post and Mike commentary, Mike appears to have told the truth in Nov 2009 blog post. +1.

2. Google to acquire Jambol. This was later announced by Google. +1.

3. Del.icio.us founder Joshua Schachter raises money for a new startup. Unconfirmed.

4. Disney about to acquire Playdom. This was confirmed 5-days later. +1

5. Google Secretly Invested $100+ Million In Zynga. This was confirmed 20 days later. +1

6. Mike Jones to become new MySpace President. This was confirmed. +1

7. Sugar Inc Didn’t Raise $30 Million From Sequoia. Unconfirmed.

8. Andreessen Horowitz To Win The Foursquare Investor Badge. Ben Horowitz wrote a nice blog post announcing the partnership 15 days later. +1

9. MySpace Spinmaster Dani Dudeck Resigns, Moves To Zynga. Confirmed here. +1

10. “Something tells me the wheels may be coming off the car at Cuil” (no source, just a good prediction). 5 months later, Cuil goes down for good. +1

11. Zynga’s Newest Game: FrontierVille. You can probably guess what happened two months later. +1

12. “The iPad will not fix your newspaper” (another prediction). Unconfirmed.

13. MySpace Planning To Roll Out Facebook Connect ASAP (Or Not). Official announcement rolled out 5-months later. +1

14. Source: Elevation Partners Got About 1% Of Facebook For $90 Million. Two months later 1.5% purchase announcement made. +1

15. Cisco May Be Making A Run For Skype. Unconfirmed. (Updated)

I haven’t taken a math class since high school; but those odds have me betting on Michael Arrington every time.

As an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, it’s sad to hear. I hope it’s not true. The people mentioned to have been in the room are some of my most highly respected people in tech (granted I don’t personally know any of them).  Like a dog that’s been beaten, I have cautiously hoped that Super Angels were the solution to a lot of the Founder/VC problems of the past. I still hope it’s true, although I’m much more skeptical after this week.

Our game released on the App Store this past week was the culmination of a lot of work by a lot of people. Much of the unheralded work was done by people I like to call “BELIEVERS”. A Believer is identified if they fulfill all of these requirements:

1. Someone that truely wants you to succeed.

2. They have no ulterior motives.

3. They’ll do whatever they can to help you.

They are friends, family, former co-workers, or ultra successful people (mentors) that just generally want to see entrepreneurs succeed. There are different levels of Believers.

Type 1: Friends and family Believers do the grunt work of support. They’re more than happy to rate and comment on YouTube videos and other links. They’re the type of people that will help no matter what is required. They’ll go to the store and buy 10 of your products if you ask them. They post any video (regardless of quality) or press release you create to their Facebook feed and tout it as the greatest thing known to man.

Type 2: Former Coworkers are a great resource…if they’ll help you. I have some that will flip over backwards. I have others that completely ignore me, or worse de-friend me! Chances are you’re doing work that’s in a similar discipline to your last job and there are people that can help you directly.

Type 3: Experienced Professional. I only recently understood how interested and helpful well-established mentors/executives want to be in seeing you succeed. There is a group of highly talented and skilled people that who for no other explicable reason than making the world a better place, are willing to make a significant contribution to your success. I think without this group we would have achieved half the success we ultimately will.

I recently had a conversation with a CEO of a successful App company who offered to introduce me to some well-known Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. When I first protested saying I had nothing to give back he scolded me explaining the introductions were not quid pro quo.

As an entrepreneur it’s important to identify Believers and use (not abuse) them as necessary. Your friends and family shouldn’t be your Marketing Plan, but you’ve got to use every resource you have to make your endeavor as successful as possible. It’s also important to try to give more than you take. The best sharers always end up getting more. Seems like my CEO friend figured that out a long time ago.

Today we (Vaporware Labs) released our latest product Steve Young Football available on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Our experience working with Steve prompted this post which originally appeared on our company blog.

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One of my earliest memories is my dad taking my brother and I to attend a celebrity golf tournament in Clearwater Florida. I still remember meeting athletes and sports figures, but my most vivid memory is of Jim Rice being a complete jerk! I was a huge fan of the Boston All-Star until I asked for his autographic and he acted like we wasted his time. The majority of my experience with athletes since then had been similar to Jim Rice; until we started working with Steve Young.

From the beginning Steve’s attitude has been nothing short of incredible. He has provided great ideas to improve the game as well as the overall launch and marketing. He’s impacted our vision throughout development as he is graciously donating all of his proceeds to the Forever Young Foundation. This organization was started by Steve 15 years ago and helps needy kids around the world get the medical and physical help they need to live a healthy life.

When we presented the ideas for the UPS-whiteboard style spoof videos (videos go live here next week), Steve looked them over and took control. He changed the themes, put on own personal humor and spin, and took them to the next level.

The Director invited his mom (a huge Steve Young fan) to the production studio for the shoot. She had no idea he was coming. After making him aware of the situation he burst into action surprising her, giving her a big hug, and talking to her at length. Throughout the shoot he continued to interact with her, asking her after each take if he’d done his job correctly.

Steve and Brian's mom (#1 SY fan)

In my years at Electronic Arts and EA Sports I’ve never seen an athlete act this way; not by a long shot. But this is how all my interactions with Steve have been throughout this process.

To me this is what continues to make him a major influence to the NFL and the community. He’s an extraordinarily gifted and talented guy, who acts just like a completely normal person does. It’s refreshing to see someone you’ve always looked up to and admire, act just the way you had always hoped they would if you ever got the chance to meet them.

Recording 'Platform'

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