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February 22, 2007

Panel of Web Community Founders: Utter Defiance of the "Venture Capital" Model

At the CommunityNext conference I moderated this panel with the founders of six very successful web properties:

  1. Akash Garg of hi5

  2. Sean Suhl of Suicide Girls

  3. Max Levchin of Slide

  4. James Hong of HotorNot

  5. Markus Frind of PlentyofFish

  6. Drew Curtis of Fark

This is the most amusing panel that I’ve ever moderated, and the speakers defied many conventions of tech entrepreneurship—in particular the ones that venture capitalists believe are “proven.” If you’d like to learn how these companies became successful without “proven teams, proven technology, and proven business models,” you’ll love this video.

Here’s a little factoid that blew my mind: both Fark and PlentyofFish have only one employee!


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» Web Entrepreneurship - Learning From the Success of Others from Worldwide Success
If you want to do well in a particular endeavor, one effective way to improve your chances of becoming successful is to watch and learn from people that are already doing it successfully. If you want to be an entrepreneur, you should talk to as m... [Read More]

» Panel of Web Community Founders from Swiss made Entrepreneurship
An interesting panel with young web community founders moderated by Guy Kawasaki: Medium: video.google.com Link: video.google.com Panel participants: Sean Suhl of Suicide Girls Akash Garg of hi5 Drew Curtis of Fark Markus Frind of PlentyofFish Max Levc... [Read More]

» Video, CommunityNext Panel of Web Community Founders Moderated by Guy Kawasaki from Smarfy
Guy Kawasaki (Apple, Garage) moderated a panel of Web Community Founders at the CommunityNext conference at Stanford University. This was one of the most uplifting and entertaining panel discussions Ive ever watched. Of course, I&#... [Read More]

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» ComunnityNext: Painel com fundadores de grandes comunidades from Fabio Seixas, versão txt
Guy Kawasaki intermediou um excelente painel com 6 empreendedores criadores de grandes comunidades durante o CommunityNext. Participaram do painel: Akash Garg do hi5 Sean Suhl do Suicide Girls Max Levchin do Slide James Hong do HotorNot Markus Frind do... [Read More]

» http://www.typepad.com/t/trackback/16343366 from Asiakkuudenhallinta
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Can you please post the videos in you tube. You tube player does a nice job of buffering the video content when the connection speed is not good. Google video player doesnt care to buffer. With google video player lots of breaks while playing. When I press the pause button it stops buffering. You tube player continues buffering the contnet when I press the pause button. I can press the play button when buffering is complete. So you tube player please.


The problem is that YouTube doesn't permit long videos. This video would be something like 9 separate ones.


I will agree this is great content - please provide more videos like this.

Isn't SuicideGirls.com a bit too much like a porn site?

Great video! The pannel (and moderator) were very interesting and very amusing...

Excellent! Missing only one thing: Cabel Sasser of Panic Inc.


One of the best panels I've seen. Great entertainment.

Nothing really new in terms of insights - build around your needs/passions; avoid VC; let your customers guide you. But, totally refreshing to hear these stories first hand. These guys make it sound so easy!!

Haha, thats quite a collection of people. Its funny how these are the new heroes of the dot com age...now these website just need to start making some money!

Fark is funny! Someone came to my blog from that site a week or so ago and I went back to check it out. Nothing like short attention span comedy to jump start your mood.
One person is all it takes if you get out and spread your input to different places, which I started doing just a few weeks ago - a chart I submitted to swivel.com last week is featured on their main page right now, front and center! SO exhilirating! - worth, aka num4tdog

I heard about Sucide Girls years ago when I got a Caught in the Net review from Blowfish. Anything that portrays real women in a sexy but respectful manner is eye-catching. Other than HotOrNot, I didn't know about the other panelists' sites.

Since the topic was about venture capital, I would have liked to hear 1) how DID they fund themselves (someone mentioned family loans, but no one else spoke of start-up money, whether they subsisted on rice & beans and funded their site on pocket lint....that's where I'm at ;) terrific ideas, but I need to pay my rent!!!) and 2) whether at any point the venture capitalists noticed them on the rise and rushed forward with offers of large sums of cash that they TURNED AWAY. That middle-finger potential would have made something that was funny even funnier :) and a lot more on-topic for at least the title of this post :)

I'm always frustrated at the number of "idea people" looking for a website designer/programmer (like me) to "take their idea to the next level" all for some small equity in what results -- like us designers/programmers can't find plenty of ideas of our own, and we don't have bills to pay RIGHT NOW. :P And I'm glad that 2 of the six panelists remained 1 person companies! Go!! :)

Thanks for a great time! You share the best of the best, and that's why I stick around.

Brilliant video, loved the guy from Fark - Pure comedy!

Very useful stuff! Great video.


Very cool video and definitely gave me the extra "umph" I needed to go out and just get it. Thanks for the excellent video!

Thank you for sharing this... a really interesting discussion.
PS: hey, it's my first post here!

Very interesting. Thanks for posting / sharing.



Im Mary
very nice work

Having only one employee means you get 100% of the profit! :)

Thanks for the post guy.
Wish I could have been there.

Cool stuff...

While not every company deserves to live it's impressive when a group (or sometimes just one) of passionate folks decide to make a go at it with something that they love to do long enough to make a business out of it. "Sticktoitiveness" strikes again!

Great Panel. Very Interesting. Just I think they need more microphones :)

Thanks for sharing, I always love the panels you moderate. You have a knack for putting people at ease and injecting some much needed levity.

Interesting insight about the role that marketing plays in tech entrepreneurship, especially Max's focus on the next viral fabric. It's important to note since marketing's natural tendency is to move from use to abuse as trends mature.


Fark.com has one employee!?!?

Great post guy...
so POF should lie to it's members then? an excerpt from his about page.

".... online dating site, and is constantly improving based on your feedback."

I thought you don't listen to feedback =)

Having been there for the startup of the WELL in 1985, I recognize a lot of what these hilarious dudes are going through -just hoping people show up and make your place socially worth visiting, and hardly believing that some of them even get *addicted* to it. Your panel members are a lot more savvy about it than we were.

You DO listen to your community, though, Markus. You just gotta know what to take action on.

Good stuff, Guy.

Thanks for sharing this Guy. Loved it!


Fantastic post! Thanks for sharing.

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