Fred Wilson is the co-founder of Union Square Ventures ($125 million in capital under management), New York City-based venture capital firm with investments in Web 2.0 companies such as Twitter, Foursquare, Bug Labs, Meetup, Zynga, Covestor, del.icio.us, Etsy, FeedBurner, Heyzap, Indeed.com, Tacoda, Oddcast, Disqus, Zemanta, and Clickable.
# I’m really interested in the intersection between reputation, identity, and knowledge. So things like Quora and StackOverflow [a Union Square Ventures portfolio company]—these kinds of services use social media in a narrower and maybe higher-value way to help people, and that’s really interesting to me.
# Do not hire a PR firm to do your free marketing for you. This is a core capability you must own. You can and may want to hire a PR firm to supplement your efforts, but that’s a different story.
# Marketing is for companies who have sucky products. If you build something that is amazing (think Flipboard or Instagram or Instapaper) people will adopt it because it is amazing.
# A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.
# One of the most exhilarating things about startups is that you where all of the hats, you don’t necessarily have the benefit of setting top level direction. You are doing everything.
# When selling your company, do the work upfront to get to a target price that makes sense to you, your senior team, your investors, and will make sense to the universe of buyers you want to target.
# From 10 ways to start a business – The eventually-got-funded startup that started out as a few people working for free. Get it going, get it funded, then make it right.
# Dilution is a fact of life as a shareholder in a startup. Even after the company becomes profitable and there is no more financing related dilution, you will get diluted by ongoing option pool refreshes and M&A activity.
# Getting our money back is not successful in my book. Getting three times our money back is good. More than that is great.