To make clients happy, show and tell

January 8, 2013 · 1 Comment

One of the most challenging things about running a software or design consultancy is managing expectations with clients. Many (if not all) programmers, like the late Boris Grishenko from Goldeneye, have a tendency to think they’re invincible. It’s tempting to want to get the product specs and then retreat to your code cave for a month and bang the entire thing out. If the specs were completely accurate, the genius programmer should deliver a perfect product, right? Unfortunately for us neckbeards, this isn’t the case. With any project, but particularly with early-stage startups, products need to be able to evolve …

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Need Help Fast? When and how to hire a dev shop

July 23, 2012 · 0 Comments

Debates rage on whether companies who outsource all or parts of their development can be successful or not. In a perfect world you would have a brilliant in-house team that crushes features faster then you can think them up and has previous experience building similar systems. In reality this almost never happens. While long-term reliance on a development shop probably isn’t a great strategy there are a few situations where short-term engagements make sense. You need help getting to that next major milestone The appetite for great technical talent is at an all time high.  Good technologists can get multiple offers for …

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Happy Birthday StartupGiraffe!!

May 16, 2012 · 1 Comment

A year ago Startup Giraffe was born.  Looking back it’s amazing how far we’ve come.  Like most business, our first few months was about getting our head above water, earning enough to pay rent, tweaking our business model and learning the legal, accounting and general ins and outs of starting a new company.  We made a lot of mistakes but were lucky enough to experience some successes too.  Today, we have lots of good problems related to growing our business sustainably.  The more startups we launch, the stronger our ability to execute and support our companies becomes. Some quick highlights …

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7 Ways to Start Scaling Your Web App

April 5, 2012 · 1 Comment

Congratulations to you, budding entrepreneur! You’ve successfully navigated the difficult, even emotional process of slimming down your grand product vision into a lean, focused MVP, and more importantly have gotten it built and launched. While you haven’t yet gone full tilt on marketing and customer acquisition, you are starting to see some traction, maybe some organic growth, or other evidence supporting your product hypothesis. Mazeltov! Understandably this is an exciting and extremely busy time for you. You’re gathering feedback, establishing a plan for growth, figuring out the rubric of marketing, monetization strategies, pricing models, and all that. There are still …

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We’re Hiring

March 29, 2012 · 1 Comment

Get paid to launch startups, become the tech co-founder of your favorite one helps entrepreneurs refine, design and build the first version of their startups. Our typical project takes 6 weeks from idea to beta. We’ve launched 10 startups in the last 10 months including,,, and We’re looking for a ruby on rails engineer to join us in our SoHo, NYC office. About You: – You want to join a startup in a lead engineering position but you also like eating and getting paid. – You are interested in launching a new startup with …

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Fake it till you make it

March 8, 2012 · 3 Comments

How do you validate your startup idea and start gaining early traction, without spending a ton of time and money building software? Delay complexity as long as possible by doing things manually. “Fake it till you make it.” Below are some examples of how successful companies smoke / ghetto / wizard of oz tested their ideas: Zappos In 2000 it wasn’t clear that purchasing shoes online was a great business.  Shoes have different fits and comfort levels and many thought they needed to be worn before they were sold.  The riskiest question for founder Nick Swinmurn’s fledgling company was:  “Will …

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The Cloud for Entrepreneurs

December 21, 2011 · 1 Comment

by: John “Chief NerdGiraffe” Cihocki You probably hear about “the cloud” all the time, and how it’s fundamentally and rapidly changing the way internet technology is conceived and developed. But what does it mean for you, the tech entrepreneur with a tight budget, perhaps little or no technical skills, and limited runway? In reality, “cloud” is just a generic term for an abstract pool of computing resources that you can use in virtual chunks. These chunks might be a virtual machine to run application servers, virtual storage areas for data, or even an individual virtual process to execute a task. …

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I’ve got a great idea for a startup, now what?

November 9, 2011 · 14 Comments

On Oct 20th, I was invited to give a talk at NYU Stern as part of the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series. Below is a video of the talk, key takeaways and my slides. Enjoy. Video Key Takeaways Investment and tech talent is earned not given.  What can you do to further your idea on your own?  How can you validate your idea and demonstrate traction without spending a huge amount of time and effort building product? Pick an idea in an area where you have strong domain experience, know the problems and have the connections to sell.  Look for markets that …

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The first version of your product is going to suck… launch anyway

September 22, 2011 · 0 Comments

For most people the idea of launching a half-baked product is horrifying. You’ve been talking up your idea for months, been working crazy hours and even taken money from friends and family. This is the first time people will be seeing what you’ve been dreaming about and you want everything to be perfect. You feel like your entire reputation is at stake. Unfortunately, you didn’t work with StartupGiraffe and things aren’t there quite yet. The site doesn’t work in IE (which your mom uses), crashes your browser if you click too many things too quickly (which your annoying co-worker has …

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Why it’s Important to Share your Startup Idea

September 21, 2011 · 4 Comments

We speak with a ton of idea stage entrepreneurs. Many times, people think we’re going to “Zuckerberg their Winklevoss” and steal whatever brilliant ideas they have. Because of this, they speak in generalizations and vagaries (it’s like LinkedIn meets Yelp for Healthcare with Farmville-style gamification). Unfortunately if you don’t tell us the details and motivations behind your project we can’t give any feedback or really figure out if working together is possible. We feel that you should not only tell us your ideas but share them with others too. Here’s why: Talking is the Easiest Way to Get Feedback The …

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