Archives for January 2013

Why Giant Smartphones are the New Normal

Ascend MateUntil a very recent epiphany, I had been observing this trend of growing smartphone screen size with puzzlement. Android smartphones grew to 4 inches. 4.5 inches. 4.8 inches. Then Samsung releases the Galaxy Note at 5.3 inches. And now the Note 2 at 5.5 inches. And now Huawei has just released a a phone with a 6.1 inch screen (the Ascend Mate, pictured above).

Yet Apple was not wrong that good one-handed operation maxed out at a screen size of about 3.5 inches diagonal. And you definitely look a bit odd holding a tablet to your head. And these things are giant in your pocket, if they even fit. So what is driving this? [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – two in a series)

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the second in the series  (table of contents here).  Stay tuned for more.


How to Botch Marketing #1Over Really Easy

My previous post was all about how Early Adopters are great, but the real market is with the Early Majority, who are about 10 times as numerous.

This is the first of 12 ways to botch your marketing with your most important audience.

Are You Ready For This?

[Read more…]

Interview: State of the VC & Angel Market and How to Raise Money

Apples in a shopping cart. High res 3d render. Isolated on white background

I was recently interviewed for a story on the current state of the market in terms of early-stage investing, and how entrepreneurs can raise money these days. The piece has yet to be published and will likely be edited way down to a couple soundbites when it is published, so I figured I would capture the full text of their questions and my answers here.

1. What are your thoughts on the current state of the venture capital industry?

It is in a period of difficult retrenchment. Many of the funds that existed in 2007 may never raise money again. [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing (Guest Post – one in a series)

Adopter Curve

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. This is the first in the series. (Table of contents for the series is here). Stay tuned for more.


In working with dozens of start-ups and early-stage companies over 25 years, and more than 50 since starting Berman Creative in 2002, I’m still astonished by how well Geoffrey Moore’s technology adoption curve defines the market opportunity for so many B-to-B and B-to-C organizations.

For young companies, the relevant groups are the first three: [Read more…]

Angel Group Relevance

This is no substitute for a proper post on the benefits of angel groups, but until I get around to that, I need to address a debate currently ongoing. Owen Johnson of Rhode Island-based incubator, Betaspring, recently wrote a post on the BetaSpring blog in which he outlined why he felt angel groups were losing relevance with his incubator’s participants. The post was picked up in a couple other outlets, and generated a fair amount of controversy, with quite a few angels weighing in. Some of the most thoughtful responses occurred in a thread in the Angel Capital Association’s LinkedIn group. Since that is a closed group, I thought it would be helpful to republish those comments here in an open forum so others can reply and respond.

For the record, my own two cents on the matter is that Owen’s piece is lacking in facts on which to base his broad generalizations (I see the opposite of what he claims in many cases), but in addition to that, he fails to recognize or acknowledge that he is simply a acting as a partisan identifying with one side of a two-sided debate that has existed since the dawn of organized angel investing. The key tension is the balance of power between investors and entrepreneurs. [Read more…]

Start-Up Marketing Series

Berman Logo

My good friend Jeff Berman has agreed to contribute a series on marketing for startups to the Scratchpaper community. Here’s a table of contents for all the posts in the series:

  1. Start-Up Marketing – Understanding the Technology Adoption Curve
  2. Start-Up Marketing – Mistake #1 Go Before You’re Ready
  3. Start-Up Marketing – Mistake #2 Assume People Are Eager to Hear From You
  4. Start-Up Marketing – Mistake #3 Speak to the Industry, Not the Individual
  5. Start-Up Marketing – Mistake #4 Start by Telling People How It Works
  6. Start-Up Marketing – Mistake #5 Copy the Category Leader

Jeff Berman is the founder and principal of Berman Creative, a creative agency focusing on brand strategy and marketing solutions for early-stage and redirected companies. You can reach Jeff at We’re grateful for his contribution. 

Comments, questions or reactions to this post? Leave a note below and I will respond to your questions.

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