Add Your Voice to the Five Most Important Questions Being Asked this Week


We do a weekly analysis of the questions — literally, these are questions — that are being asked in our networks each week. So far this week, these are the five most important questions, based on how often we have seen them discussed in this form, or in other ways. Today we have contributions from two of our members. They have both sent in their thoughts about the five important questions. And here they are, from Adam Hooper, CEO and co-founder at RealCrowd and Jarred Capellman from NextLogik.

NextLOGiK is a subsidiary of COLA Inc, a nationwide laboratory accreditation organization. RealCrowd is an attempt at realtime crowfunding for real estate. 

 

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Adam Hooper, CEO and CoFounder, RealCrowd

 

1. What are bitcoins truly worth and what will happen to them in next two months?

– Like any currency, their actual worth is nil, it’s in this case a digital representation of “worth” that people can freely transfer. Whether or not their “value” is in a frenzy now due to the media and a potential bubble is being created, only time will tell!

2. Are salespeople the most important part of your startup organization?

– No, to me, any startup has to have equal parts sales/product/engineering/management. Without all four, to me at least, you don’t have a viable startup.

3. What is more important in startup marketing, character or charisma? And how do you tell the difference?

– Character to me is genuine, where as charisma you can learn. You can learn to influence people (for both good and bad) and be very charismatic. If you have a good character, people will naturally be drawn to your leadership and message/proposition.

4. Where are the biggest startup cities, not including Silicon Valley?

– NYC, Boston, Boulder, Austin, Portland (upcoming) 

5. Who was your first hire, what role did they play in the growth of the startup?

– Our first hire was a second technology guy. We are originally founded by two real estate experts (myself and Roman Rosario) with over $3B of industry experience and one technology founder. Our first key hire had to be on the tech side so JD would have somebody that spoke his language! His role has dramatically sped up the growth of our programming and implementation of the technology.

 

Jared Capellman, Software Architect, NextLogik 

1. What are bitcoins truly worth and what will happen to them in next two months?

Not sure and to be honest I hadn’t been really following bitcoins with all of the other software development technology coming out over the last couple of months.

 

2. Are salespeople the most important part of your startup organization?

Initially maybe if you don’t have any clients to begin with.  I feel like the quality of your work should be its own sales person.  If you deliver on time, on budget and a product that more than satisfies the client, that will spread around.

I’ve personally been on both sides of a company: as a consultant and an internal employee.  As a consultant I watched other vendors’ Project Managers and Senior Programmers come in and try to become sales men rather than doing what was best for the client.  As a result they came and went, a couple years later I was brought on internally. That’s not to say, all are like that, but that has stuck with me going on 5 years now of what not to be, especially with a client who could provide you a long term business relationship.

3. What is more important in startup marketing, character or charisma? And how do you tell the difference?

Coming at this from an end-user perspective, I would think character.  Going back to my previous answer – you can tell when someone is acting like a used car salesman by how they conduct themselves no matter how charismatic they are.  When you get that feeling that you’re going to be used and manipulated into something you didn’t want to get into – that’s when you can tell character.  Marketing can convey either character or charisma.

A good example, let’s say you’re a startup with one developer who can deliver pretty much anything and you have more than enough work for that one developer and no outside vendors to offload any work to.  A Charismatic Marketing approach would be to say let’s use that’s developers skillset in the marketing with a tagline “We can deliver anything, anywhere”.  Tons of potential clients roll in and then the reality of the situation arises: too much work and not enough developers.  At this point you’ve dug your hole: do you respond realistically with an answer of “We are currently looking for a new developer, but we honestly can’t take on any additional work” or do you let your existing clients suffer at the expense of the new potential customers?  Another character/charisma inflection point to be decided by how you want your startup to be recognized as.

 

4. Where are the biggest startup cities, not including Silicon Valley?


I have no idea on this question.  Living in the “East Coast Silicon Valley” area right in between Washington DC and Baltimore, I really don’t see this area as a big startup area.  Too many small to large software development companies have gone under in the last seven years I’ve been professionally doing software development in this area.  And now I am hearing rumblings of more starting to get affected by government contracts in this area with CIA, NSA, DoD etc. because of the sequester.  Previously that was the strongest aspect of this area, government had plenty of money, so starting up a government contracting software development shop made complete sense.  Now those software engineers and companies are having to re-align themselves into new markets (Web Development, Mobile Development etc.).  Those that can handle that inflection point will succeed, while those that don’t will dissolve like so many others in this area have. 

What also hurts this particular area the most I feel is the mentality of developers.  It’s always more about delivering right on expectations (aka lowest cost for the developers) rather than trying to exceed them and making things really unique and special for both internal and external projects.  Having interacted with software developers in Silicon Valley and vacation there 4-5 times a year – it is a complete 180’ out there.  For those like myself who constantly push themselves forward on their own in their off hours, the drive to be better is really influenced by developers that I follow on Twitter or read about who work in Silicon Valley.  For me – Silicon Valley has the same effect it had on the Eastern Settlers in the 1800s as the land of opportunity as it does today, maybe even more so.

 

5. Who was your first hire, what role did they play in the growth of the startup?
Technically speaking we haven’t made a new hire since splitting off of our parent company.  My boss, the CEO and I have been looking for another developer to work under me for quite some time.  The problem going back to question #4 – the developers in this area largely aren’t motivated nor have the passion to really excel on the same level that I have been driving our parent company for the last six years.  Finding someone even with less years’ experience than myself would be acceptable as I could mold them into the caliber of a developer we need to keep pushing forward in our area.  The idea for a new developer really is to have him or her, learn the different code bases of our parent company and provide a support role for that software so I can focus more on the development aspects.  The role is crucial to our success going forward as the amount of work from our parent company for just myself is more than enough to fill a 50 hour work week.

 

Seriously, we are listening. If you send us your thoughts, or put them in the comments here, we will help you help others, by showcasing them. 

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