Illustration of Derek Powazek by Adam Ellis

Posts about Startups

The Right Words in the Right Order

You learn things when you start a company. When I cofounded 8020, I learned to ask the difficult questions. When I cofounded JPG Magazine with my wife, I learned how important it was for everyone to be in charge of something. And when I founded Cute-Fight, I learned … a lot.

Cute-Fight Hangs Up Its Gloves

About a year ago, when I introduced Cute-Fight, I told the story of telling my dad about it. He asked if people would really fight each other’s pets to see who’s cutest. I ended the post with, “We’ll see.” Now I know the answer.

If You Don’t Know How A Startup Will Make Money, Neither Do They

This, I hope, will remind people that the business plans of the startups they use are, indeed, their business. They should find out how the company is making money now and what their plans are in the future. They can then make an educated decision whether to participate or not. They can also judge the company by how well they keep their word.

Alphas Are Experiments

Cute-Fight is currently in private alpha. That means the whole site is locked behind a password, and you have to request an invitation to join. People often think that a private alpha is just cover for an unfinished product, but that’s wrong. A private alpha is an experiment with a specific goal. And like any good experiment, it starts with a hypothesis, and failure is a valid result.

Starting Up: Nobody Go Near A Bus

When is that last time you felt completely irreplaceable at your job? Like the company’s life or death depended on you doing your very best work?

Starting Up: The Love

Most startups fail, so you might as well spend the time working on something you enjoy, just in case you succeed.

Starting Up: Skate to Where the Puck Is

The best part about skating to where the puck is, is that, when it works, your community will tell you where they’re going. You don’t have to guess. You’re building something together.

Introducing Cute-Fight

Cute-Fight is designed to be surprising, adorable, and most of all fun. It’s full of amusing random delights. The web feels so damn serious these days. We just want a place that makes people smile.

Startups Are All About Timing

Lots of people have lots of ideas every day. Ideas aren’t the hard part, timing is. Good timing won’t guarantee success, of course, but you can’t succeed without it.


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Hi, I’m Derek. I live in San Francisco and make awesome community-centric web stuff. I sometimes post things to Flickr and Twitter. I’m mostly harmless. More.





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