Cheap or Easy… That’s it.

Jeff Kaplan, our new Chief Architect, and I have been brainstorming on what tools/features we want to focus on next. It got me thinking about what has made the most popular internet companies successful. What was there common denominator. A search led me to this list of successful web companies. After going thru the list I found 2 common characteristics. The site/service was either cheaper and/or easier than its predecessor. See below for the list.

Web 1.0
Altavista easier than Yahoo
Google easier than Altavista
Match easier than a bar scene
Amazon easier than bookstores
Craigslist cheaper/easier than newspapers
Godaddy cheaper than register.com
Paypal easier than writing checks

2.0
Wikipedia easier/cheaper than encyclopedia
Facebook easier than myspace
Skype cheaper than phone.
Flickr easier than emailing ur photos to friends.
Kayak easier than Expedia.

Today
Google Docs cheaper than Office
Dropbox easier/cheaper than file server
Tumblr easier than Blogger
Square easier than accepting checks for small biz

Of course, there are some outliers like Twitter, AirBnB, etc… those created new markets entirely, but for the most part it is all about being easier or more affordable.

Most Business Friendly Cities for Technology Startups

Thumbtack just released the results of their small business survey.  They surveyed 7K+ small businesses around the country to find out which states and cities are the most small business friendly.   We wanted to know what that meant for tech companies and startups so we took their raw data and filtered it down by their industry category of Technology/Creative.  The top 10 cities/metros are listed below.

#1 Jacksonville, FL
Although a great spot for small business, Jacksonville is not home to many successful startups.  One successful exit is Vurv Technology who was acquired by Taleo for $128M. 

Photo Credit: snarkybytes.com


#2 Denver/Boulder/Co Springs, CO
Not only is this state/metro small business friendly, it also has the accelerator TechStars which is helping the tech community in Boulder really grow. Other notable startups include NewsGator and Rally Software.
Photo Credit: Sascha Bruck


#3 San Antonio, TX
San Antonio is one of the fastest growing cities in the US. While it doesn’t have as many startups as its neighboring Austin, it does have a large public tech company – Rackspace.

Photo Credit: getintravel.com


#4 Minneapolis, MN
The Twin Cities Metro area is number 4 on the list. on2 Technologies was acquired by Google for $106 Million and Code 42 software hit #24 on our 2012 Tech 200 list with $18M+ yearly revenues.
Photo Credit: sherkys.com

#5 Raleigh/Durham, NC
Research Triangle Park has had numerous startups come out of its region. Recent ones include Right View Technologies, ChannelAdvisor, and ReverbNation.

Photo Credit: raleighskyline.com

#6 Cleveland, OH
Most people don’t think about Cleveland as being a startup hub, but they have a few… SageQuest, Sparkbase, and ExpenseWire was acquired late last year.

Photo Credit: csuohio.edu

#7 Orlando, FL
Orlando has had a few successful startups. Highwinds has raised over $100M in venture financing and Voxeo’s revenue in 2011 was above $60M.

Photo Credit: alexshay.com

#8 Portland, OR
Portland has a thriving tech startup scene. JanRain recently received $33M from Salesforce and did almost $10M in 2012 revenues. Other startups include Act-On Software, iovation, and Cedexis.

Photo Credit: davidgiralphoto.com

#9 Dallas, TX
Dallas has a surprisingly large amount of tech startups. It must have to do with its 6.4M metro population. Softlayer, Xtera, Match.com, Woot, Quickoffice, and RealPage.

Photo Credit: Jean-Jacques @ wikimedia

#10 Austin, TX
More and more companies have been moving and starting in Austin. Google and Apple have recently announced building new large facilities in Austin. In addition, there are just too many to mention. Some of the largest include HomeAway, BazaarVoice, SolarWinds, and RetailMeNot.

Photo Credit: usembassy.gov

Lead411 Releases 2011′s Technology 200 List

And the wait is finally over… Lead411 has now released the much-anticipated list of  this year’s top performing companies – Technology 200! From an overwhelming number of 600 applications, the Lead411 team has narrowed it down to the cream of the crop, 200 companies that have manifested remarkable revenue growth, with at least $500,000 in income for the year 2010.

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