Spotlight Interview: Dave Mattson

Dave Mattson - Sandler Systems, Inc

Dave talks about innovation, learning from customers, and success in sales.

See The Full Interview

Spotlight Interview: David Allen

David Allen - Getting Things Done

David talks about GTD and how it can help you, your business, and your success.

See The Full Interview

Spotlight Interview: Gordon Logan

Gordon Logan - Sport Clips

Gordon talks about Sport Clips and the success of the franchise model he built.

See The Full Interview


Brian Null 175
Brian Null

Last week we announced to a very small group that we were rolling out our new “MO Publishers” opportunity. To read more about the program, look here:

MO Publishers

The response has been… Fan Tastic.

The areas officially claimed in the past week are:

Austin, Texas

Australia (Country wide manager)

Boston, Massachusetts

Columbia, Missouri

District of Columbia (DC)

Jacksonville, Florida

Los Angeles, California

Marin County, California

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona

St. Louis, Missouri

Areas Pending:


Seattle, Washington

The beginnings of an amazing network of publishers. We couldn’t be more excited.

If you are interested in learning more or you are considering applying to be the MO Publisher for your area, drop us a note through our contact form. We will schedule a phone call with each candidate to describe the opportunity in more detail and to also insure the candidate is a strong match for the opportunity.



Founder of
Johns Wu

Groupon and LivingSocial have been getting all the attention lately, but where is the love for Yelp?

Yelp’s core challenge has always been monetization. However, with the construct of the “local deal” now firmly accepted by consumers and local-businesses alike, I feel Yelp has a cleared an immense hurdle and is the best positioned for long-term growth and profitability in this space. The value of Yelp has always been undeniable. For business owners, a Yelp rating can make or break them. For Yelpers, Yelp is hands-down the best resource for discovering new restaurants, bars, and local businesses.

I’ve always resisted signing up for group-buy sites because I despise America’s tasteless consumer culture. However, I finally gave in to the the irresistible LivingSocial $10 Amazon deal. To be fair, I also signed up for Groupon so I could compare the two and see what all the hype was about.

Long story short, I was utterly disappointed, so here is my bear case on Groupon, Living Social, and all the copycats that follow in their footsteps:

1) HORRENDOUS (lack of) targeting.

After getting signing up for Groupon/LivingSocial, they have been sending me ridiculously poorly targeted offers—nail salons, yoga, day spas… WTF!! Targeting is a BIG DEAL!! Targeting is the reason why Google Adwords is a multi-billion dollar cash cow, and lack of targeting is the reason why the Groupon model is fundamentally flawed.



Mike Sullivan
Mike Sullivan

Today we are very happy to announce Mike Sullivan has joined the group as a Partner in our venture.

Mike has been a dynamic force for the past year as one of our primary interview writers and we are thrilled to have him join us as a Partner and to have him participate in our growth in an even bigger capacity.

Mike is now Editor-in-chief for, responsible for our content and Interviews. He will also be a key part of our Business Development efforts and the main force leveraging social media channels for

Congratz on the new role, Mike. We’re thrilled to have you to on board.



Alex Farcet
Alex Farcet

Alex Farcet, who was previously interviewed on , just announced that Startupbootcamp will be expanding in Europe.

The European startup accelerator program will now be running annually in Madrid (Summer) and Copenhagen (Fall), expanding to Berlin and London in 2012.

The first Startupbootcamp edition ran from mid-August to mid-November 2010 in Copenhagen and attracted ten teams comprised of 32 entrepreneurs from 12 different countries. Since pitching at Investor Day on November 16th over half of the startups have entered negotiations with European Business Angels and VCs.

Alex Farcet is joining forces with Luis Rivera of Okuri Ventures who have been running the very successful Tetuan Valley program in Madrid.

Startupbootcamp is a highly selective mentorship driven 3-month program. Teams are given 4K EUR per team member, free office space, and access to over 75 mentors including serial entrepreneurs, investors and corporate managers. The program concludes on Investor Day where teams showcase their startups to over one hundred of Europe’s most active Business Angels and Venture Capitalists.



Founder of
Johns Wu

I just returned from a trip to Singapore. Up until a few months ago, I wouldn’t have been able to locate Singapore on a map, but I’ve always been interested in exploring this country which is often touted as having the highest percentage of millionaire households in the world—a whopping 11.4% of the households in Singapore are millionaires!

After coming home to Los Angeles, I can’t help but feel that America has already lost its place as the world’s most industrious and dominant superpower.

What factors have contributed to Singapore’s economic miracle over the last few decades? and what lessons can we learn from them?



Professor with the University of Missouri, College of Business
Dr. Greg Bier
University of Missouri College of Business
Ph.D., Associate Teaching Professor

A few weeks ago I took 14 enthusiastic college students to the annual Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization’s annual conference and elevator-pitch competition in Chicago. What an experience!

I have attended the last five years but this year was especially interesting…and troubling. First, I take students to see the pitch competition. According to, The CEO Elevator Pitch Competition presents students with a great opportunity to pitch their business idea to a panel of judges and a chance to win cash prizes. Elevator pitch is a frequently used term, which literally means “tell me about your business within the time that it would take to ride up an elevator.” Presenting yourself effectively is an essential tool in the business arena. A well-planned elevator pitch can open the doors to success in your future endeavors. The ideas pitched may be at any stage of development from creation of concepts or ideas to an established business.

Each year, several students from the University of Missouri – Columbia, and specifically, the Flegel Academy for Aspiring Entrepreneurs attend and compete. These are students who might simply have a venture idea, or who might have already started a business.

A large part of the conference is devoted to plenary speakers such as:

  • Omar Soliman, founder of College Hunks Hauling Junk, is a published author, entrepreneur and TV personality. College Hunks Hauling Junk is on the INC 500 list of fastest growing companies in the nation. Omar was named Top 30 Entrepreneurs in America Under 30 by INC Magazine and is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Finalist.
  • Cary Chessick, president and CEO of Named Ernst & Young’s 2010 Midwest Entrepreneur of the Year. Cary grew over the past decade to become the trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide.
  • Marshall Haas, founder of AllRendered. By outsourcing production of his company’s core service, architectural renderings, to artists and architects located in the Philippines he was able to startup with almost no funding.
  • Jimmy John Liautaud, owner of Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches. Jimmy has grown his company from a one-person operation to now more than 1000 stores in 39 states. Liautaud opened his first restaurant in Charleston, Illinois, when he was 19 years old and promoted his sandwich stand by giving away free food to college students at nearby Eastern Illinois University.
  • Dr. Demirjian, President, CEO and founder of zuChem, Inc – a Midwest-based biotechnology Company that develops innovative carbohydrate products for human health and nutrition. He is a previous winner of the Research Director’s Association of Chicago “Entrepreneur of the Year Award” and recipient of the U.S. SBA “Tibbets Award” for successful commercialization of technology developed under the Federal SBIR grant program.

  • Troy Henikoff, Excelerate. Troy gave the students an overview of how a VC firm works, what they are looking for and how VC financing differs from other types of financing, highlighting the costs and benefits of taking this route. Troy is a seasoned entrepreneur who has built multiple successful technology-based businesses from the ground-up over a 20+ year period. He has financed these businesses with everything from bootstrapping his first business to raising $17 Million in Venture Capital for SurePayroll. Most recently Troy was a co-founder of Excelerate in Chicago, a 13 week boot camp for early stage ventures.

  • Edward Domain, Flyover Geeks . Drawing on his mistakes in a previous business startup and his success in his current one, Edward Domain will offer advice on what it takes to successfully get a new economy business off the ground as well as pitfalls to avoid. Edward is the founder of and an entrepreneur. Flyover Geeks is the Midwest’s answer to TechCrunch and since launch has been quoted in the Chicago Tribune, The India Times, and Inc. Magazine.

Such a diversified, yet successful, group of young speakers is an inspirational experience for the 20-something college entrepreneur. However, and that is a BIG however, some of these speakers completely discounted the notion of the business planning process. In their energetic manner, many were



Nathaniel Broughton
Growth Partner
President and Founder

Networking never ends. Networking never dies. Unless, of course, you want to kill your opportunity to succeed as an entrepreneur or business owner.Nonstop

To succeed in this world you should be relentless in forging relationships with other good people. I’m reminded of this often. Tell me if you’ve had a similar experience-

I heard about an event from a friend. It was not terribly relevant to search marketing (my general focus for the last 8 years). But it sounded cool. So I bought a ticket and booked a flight.

By the time the event came, I wondered “why the hell am I flying to LA for this? Leaving my wife, my comfy bed and my comfy office behind. In the middle of the week. I don’t even know what this event is about.”

I got out there and ate at this joint in Westwood by myself, biding time til the opening cocktail hour. I knew a few people that would be there that night, at least I thought I did. By the end of my meal I was not too pumped about walking over to this thing.
I actually stopped halfway and thought about hailing a cab back to the hotel. But for some reason, I went on.

You know what happened when I got there?



Johns Wu
Johns Wu
Founder of Bankaholic Partner

Over the last couple years, the parabolic surge in social media marketing, link-baiting, and viral marketing has polluted the Internet, all in the pursuit of higher Google rankings.

Spam has evolved into a new form… a form which doesn’t look like spam… and that is the most dangerous kind.

Sensationalist headlines, superficial content

How many articles on Digg and Reddit have you seen that begin with tabloid-esque headlines like “Top 10 Ways to ______”, “7 Reasons You Should _______”, “6 Secrets About ____ They Don’t Want You to Know”.

Most of these headlines lead you to re-hashed and dumbed-down content—engineered by sneaky SEO companies to grab your attention, garner your votes, and win your backlinks.

Have you noticed how infographics have been popping up on blogs everywhere? This is because they’re the latest fad in viral marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like looking at infographics. Most infographics provide excellent educational value, but beware of shoddily crafted ones developed by snakeoil SEO firms that reek of outright lies and misinformation. And the “matter-of-fact”, authoritative way that they present their content can be very dangerous to naive, elderly, or young minds who accept the information at face-value.

Information overload

The popularization of turnkey content creation systems like



Nathaniel Broughton
Growth Partner
President and Founder

Even as a successful internet businessman, your perception of an investment banker is likely misguided. It’s fueled by the bashing they seem to take in the media, lumped in with the “crooked” doings of Wall St. These guys are the enemy right?

No. Investment bankers can quickly have you singing their praises once you consider the benefits they provide in selling your website or business.

Only a fool would not at least make some calls to investment banks, to hear them out before taking their property to market. And yes, I’ve been that fool.

Some of these things you learn through the course of time as an entrepreneur or business owner. They aren’t all cured by the services of an investment bank, but they certainly can be assisted. Especially if it’s your first time selling a company.

Here’s some of the immediate, tangible benefits a good investment bank can bring to the table:



Greg Bier
Dr. Greg Bier
University of Missouri College of Business
Ph.D., Associate Teaching Professor

Entrepreneurial Characteristics?

It’s funny how sometimes things just go together. Recently, I’ve been reading about entrepreneurial characteristics. What makes an entrepreneur different from everyone else (in a positive way, of course)? What skills do they possess? What personality traits are common amongst entrepreneurs? What attributes distinguish successful entrepreneurs from those that give up?

According to the Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, one the major research foundations focused on entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurs generally have a defined set of characteristics that enables success:

  • Desire
  • Initiative/Aggressiveness
  • Energy
  • Low Support Needs
  • Thrives on Ambiguity
  • Perseverance
  • Responsibility
  • Problem Solving
  • Persuasiveness
  • Self-Discipline
  • Belief in the Value of Money
  • Self-Confidence
  • Ego Development
  • Market Awareness

Most of these are self –explanatory. However, an analysis proves useful. completed an interview of Matt Griffin recently. Matt is the Founder and CEO of the Bakers Edge.

I was surprised how well Matt…



Nathaniel Broughton
Growth Partner
President and Founder

How to structure a joint venture

The current state of the internet businessmen (if there can be such a thing), is one of collision.

SEO’s face off with results pages that feature real-time content, maps, comparison ads and shopping listings. We must be more social than static.

Affiliates are bracing for increased regulation from the FTC.

Domainers and domain owners face declining parking revenues and are finally showing genuine interest in developing their properties. They are learning about PPC, search, content development . . . even real affiliate programs!

Investors? Internet or otherwise, they look out and see an economic climate where high returns are extremely unlikely. Where can their money go for a good 2x or 4x in the next 2 years?
All of these little worlds – Collision. Boom. They all need each other more than ever, and for once, it’s starting to make more sense to develop an all-around property than one of tunneled success.

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