12 great tips for digital media startups (from Startup 2011)

Silicon Alley Insider’s Startup 2011 conference this week covered all the hot topics in entrepreneurship, from pivots to bubble talk, and left a pretty positive vibe about the New York startup community, capped by NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne telling Silicon Valley to “Bring it on!”

Here are 12 of the best tips and takeaways for VCs and entrepeneurs from the conference…

  1. “Execution matters more than the idea” – Union Square Ventures’ Fred Wilson
  2. “And a great team is required for execution” – Venrock’s David Pakman
  3. Startups should stay lean until their user base isn’t lean, Fred Wilson said. No need to raise more capital. As proof, he reminded folks that, “Gowalla raised $8 million and it didn’t do shit for them. They still got their ass kicked” by Foursquare, which only raised $1 million in its first round.”
  4. “Most companies don’t get murdered, they commit suicide.” – Esther Dyson, meaning that they die when they cease to innovate
  5. “Talent attracts capital, not the other way around,” NYC Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, who also added that NYC has plenty of capital already
  6. Venture capital is a service business: VC’s should treat entrepreneurs as their clients. – Fred Wilson
  7. “Do what you love” – sentiments echoed by both BetaWorks CEO John Borthwick and MeetUp co-founder Scott Heiferman
  8. “Find out who your users are and religiously passionately follow your users,” Borthwick says. One thing we do wrong, he says, is try to figure out a business model first before we figure out what our users want. To be truly successful, follow your users.
  9. Focus on your product, what you can control and how to “delight your customers.” - serial entrepeneur Gina Bianchini
  10. When you don’t have a business model, be open with your staff. – Mike Lazerow, Buddy Media CEO, discussing pre-pivot startups.
  11. For smart digital media marketing, read ”PyroMarketing: The Four-Step Strategy to Ignite Customer Evangelists and Keep Them for Life” – Betsy Morgan, President, TheBlaze.com
  12. Just do it. Scott Heiferman joked that if he was starting today he wouldn’t get anything done, because they are so many distractions. “You could spend all day sitting in stupid conferences like this,” he joked, urging folks to stop going to conference and go out and just build something.

What other tips do you have for startups? Post in the comments below.