How do startups know their product is actually solving a problem?

There has been a fundamental shift in the startup paradigm. We are past the point of calling “the lean startup” a trend; these days, it’s a mandatory business model. I am continually blown away by how many startups are attempting to solve problems we didn’t even know existed. As Alistar Croll discusses in a video interview, the “if you build it, they will come” mentality is just bad business. Venture Capitalists and potential customers want to see that startups are doing two key things:

3 Questions – 2 Blog Posts: Rajat Paharia, CEO, Bunchball

We’ve been doing tons of research on companies for the next Under The Radar Entertainment and Media conference – we’ve seen a lot of really cool games, avatar builders and virtual worlds. We’ve also gotten the chance to talk to some really interesting founders and CEOs about their companies. When we ask the critical questions like ‘what’s your business model’ we get some good answers, some not-so-good answers, and then we get some like the ones below. Rajat Paharia is the CEO of Bunchball, a casual/social gaming company that’s getting real traction in the field. Rajat knows his stuff, he has a lot of experience with developing an effective business model (through trial-and-error, the best knowledge to have). He’s also got his eye on the competition, knows everyone, and is, in fact, friends with many of them. As Tony Soprano would say “He’s a stand up guy”.

Hummer Winblad: A VCs Take on Cloud Computing Opportunities

Lars Leckie is a Principal at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He played a key role in the firm’s investments in Aria Systems (SaaS billing and customer management) and vKernel (Virtualization Infrastructure). Leading up to Under the Radar, Lars (as well as Mitchell Kertzman who will be judging presenting cloud startups at Under the Radar) has worked with us to determine who the next generation of disruptive startups are – and identifing the best ones to showcase at the upcoming event. Last week Lars took a shot at examining cloud computing and its opportunities on his blog. We’ve re-posted it here:

Top 3 Reasons Why We Spend So Much Time Searching for Information

Our employees spend too much time searching for their needed information. How much time? According to a McKinsey report, employees spend 1.8 hours every day—9.3 hours per week, on average—searching and gathering information. Put another way, businesses hire 5 employees but only 4 show up to work; the fifth is off searching for answers, but not contributing any value.

Why do we spend so much time searching for information? And is there a better way?