Chris Yeh's post on Tech & Science | Latest updates on Sulia
Don't rely solely on money to judge value (cc @jowyang):
Money is in incredibly useful measure of value. It lets us take just about anything and reduce it to a single, easily comparable number.
But you can't always rely on money to judge the value of things, especially when you're an entrepreneur.
Almost every experienced entrepreneur is familiar with the pump-fake customer. By this, I mean a paying customer who doesn't reflect the overall market. When you're a starving entrepreneur, it's hard not to jump at anyone who will sign a check, but you have to show restraint.
It's also hard to predict the monetary value of certain actions in advance. One example I always give folks is the role of Jeremiah Owyang in the rise of Ustream. I had met Jeremiah when he was still at Hitachi, and got in touch with him about Ustream when he was at PodTech. There was no way for me to put a dollar value on the meeting; one could certainly argue that it was a waste of time, when I could have been out flogging sponsorships or contacting investors.
But I always tell people that my meeting with Jeremiah was the single most important moment in the launch of Ustream. Jeremiah instantly grasped the power of live streaming, and grabbed his then-colleague Robert Scoble to see the demo. The two of them decided to live stream the upcoming Web 2.0 conference, and drive awareness of Ustream.
That one moment helped push Ustream on to a hypergrowth trajectory, which in turn helped us raise money and build the businss to where today it serves over 60 million people a month. In some sense, that one meeting was worth millions. But there was no way to know it in advance.
I'm not advising entrepreneurs to ignore the money; in the long run, your company's value is based on revenue. But especially at the early stages of your startup, make sure you take time to do things without knowing a certain monetary value in advance. The "worthless" action you take might just make your company.