Stealthmode

by Francine Hardaway

Co-founder, Stealthmode Partners, advisor to over 700 startups, formerly at Intel, angel investor

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What Makes a Tablet Great?

It’s not the size of the machine that makes it appealing. It’s the content. And the connection.

Let me start by saying that as a woman, the idea of a small, light, purse-size computer has always appealed to me. I started saying that at Intel in 1996, when the company shut down its “digital personal assistant” project after the failure of the Newton, saying no one would ever want one again. As the engineers in the room rolled their eyes at my lack of numbers, the marketer inside me said that half the workforce was women, and we’d love to run through airports without heavy laptop cases. “That’s a data point,” they said disdainfully.

I left Intel soon after. Since, I’ve invested in machines like the Sony Vaio, 13" MacBook, 11" Macbook Air, IPads 1,2,3 and the Nexus 7. For the past three weeks, I’ve been comparing the iPad to the Nexus 7 and here’s what I have found.

  1. The form factor of

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Scapegoating: The Revolving Door for the CMO

You’ve done everything right. You had an idea that you know solves a problem. You’ve spoken to customers and advisors, you have taken their feedback snd been through several product iterations, and now it is time to launch.

You have high hopes for your new product. But you can’t just put it out there and hope it will be discovered. So you hire someone to make you a marketing plan and implement it. This magical marketing person is supposed to help your company grow. Mr. Marketing Magic should help your team close more sales.

But it doesn’t happen. You look at the numbers and your revenue is flat. So what do you do? You fire the marketing person and bring in another marketing person with a new and perhaps better plan.

But here are some things to consider before, like GM, you fire the CMO. Perhaps you are marketing and de-marketing at the same time, and the de-marketing is canceling the

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Who Will Pay for It? The Conundrum for Journalism

I’m gearing up to teach a course this Fall in the Business and Future of Journalism at the Cronkite School, where there is a renowned Digital Media Entrepreneurship program run by Dan Gillmor, formerly of the San Jose Mercury News, and a New Media Innovation Lab headed by former BET interactive content manager and Washington Post staffer Retha Hill. The biggest question about the future of journalism for the past decade has been “who will pay.” Nothing has changed. Stellar sites like the New York TImes and the Economist have been successful with paywalls, and the Wall Street Journal has been living on subscription revenue for at least fifteen years, but there

In startup land, where I operate, when you find a way to get customers to pay for your service, it is known as the product-market-fit, or the business model.

Journalism’s tried and true business model was always advertising

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Age Helps You Avoid Common Startup Mistakes

With all the startups I’ve seen, and I’ve coached over 700 by now, I’ve become somewhat of an expert on common mistakes startups make. So when I find someone doing it right, I like to share.

Thomas Franchise Solutions is like no other startup I’ve worked with, however. Peter Thomas, the founder, is not a twenty-something. He is a mature visionary leader, a man who has learned from his own experience as a serial entrepreneur how to start and run a company aligned with his personal values. He’s very blunt about telling you what those values are: health, happiness, freedom and integrity. After retiring, he spent the last decade giving workshops and training others in values-based leadership. He donates the proceeds to charity.

That’s why, when he came out of retirement this year to start another company (he was bored), he was able to raise $13,000,000 from friends and acquaintances to

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