Martin Shen (@martinshen) is a Canadian entrepreneur and designer living in SF. He co-founded UpOut to change the way we discover fun things to do in your city. Read his blog at

Code. Worry. Sleep. Worry. Eat. Worry.

Everyday I juggle reasons why my startup will succeed with why it’ll fail. Although entrepreneurs are inherently optimistic and risk takers, sometimes we can be overwhelmed with the unknown: Why aren’t people converting? Should we focus on mobile? Is this new feature going to help us grow?

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Teaching a Geek To Sell

Written By January 10th, 2013 | Category: Marketing | 7 Comments

Aydin Mirzaee (@Aydin) is the co-founder of FluidSurveys and a graduate of the Electrical Engineering & Management program at the University of Ottawa. FluidSurveys is an online survey software currently used in over 40 countries across the globe. Their customers include government institutions, universities & colleges and Fortune 500 companies.

Most people that meet me today think I’m the team ‘sales guy’. The truth? I’m just a geek (and very proud of it!).

I started off my career as a web developer, building enterprise software and jokingly referring to myself an extroverted geek. When I started in business, I had no clue how to sell and I didn’t think I needed to pay much attention to it.

All that changed in November of 2000 when I started a web hosting company with my brother and lost a lot of money in only a few months…because I didn’t know how to sell. Someone else was supposed to be that sales guy.

Instead, I had to put my engineering hat aside and grab a new one – the infamous, contentious, intimidating sales hat.

One I never thought I’d have to wear.

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Get Rid of Lazy Questions Once and For All

Written By December 19th, 2012 | Category: Startup Life | 3 Comments

“I’m going to be in San Francisco next week – who should I meet?”

There is a time and a place for open-ended questions. When you’re trying to get to know someone better, interviewing them for a job, prodding for details or going on a first date.

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Falling Out of Love (w/ My Company)

Written By February 14th, 2012 | Category: Startup Life | 26 Comments

2/52 - It's Raining Men!

Andrew Draper (@andrewdraper) is a designer and hacker. He’s been an entrepreneur in one way or another for most of his life. He co-founded Manpacks 2 years ago, a service to help guys remember to replace their essentials and give them more time to do the things they’d rather do.

There’s a lot written about having passion and how it’s the key to building something great, but nobody talks about what to do if after you successfully raise a seed round, get thousands of customers and get lots of press/social media attention you find yourself unhappy, unfulfilled or no longer interested in the challenges your startup faces. Here’s how I handled it.

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I just realized that I’ve answered over 1200+ questions on Sprouter. Crazy! Why do I do it? Because I know how important quality advice can be. It’s also a great way to get inspiration for blogging. Recently I noticed a most popular section and was laughing at some of my answers. For the most part they were written at 2AM while I was working – however, I thought you might find them useful.

Warning: Typos, run-on sentences, and crappy formatting.

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