The startup instruction booklet, powered by my life (and other things I think about).
Monday, April 14, 2008
Startup of the Day - You Noodle
I came across a great startup today. You Noodle. They're in beta, but they seem to be growing fairly quickly. At least from the stream of new users I've seen throughout the day. They put together entrepreneurs, advisers, investors, and entrepreneur wannabee's - in a fun and pretty intuitive/easy to use social environment. The provide a platform for creating startup profiles, networking, business competitions, university innovation sharing, events, and a place for investors to explore hot startups.
One of the things that makes the service great is the quality of users. Much like Facebook, they seem to have started with a base of people from some of the top schools - Stanford, Berkeley, MIT, among others. They're funded by some of the same people who have invested in Facebook, Slide, Yelp, and other top startups.
I've tried other websites like this, such as Go Big Network, but there isn't a great social component there and there's nothing to keep me coming back. Sure, I got a few bites when I posted some project needs there, but nothing every panned out. You Noodle is a much more social and friendly environment where I imagine I'll be interacting and exploring much more. This goes along with my long held belief that user interfaces are an important part of a company's success.
I'm totally addicted to browsing through the startups. There are some really cool companies!
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I like YouNoodle. I have been on it for a little over a month now and think like all tools it is what you make of it.
Sure for many people things may not pan out and needs will not be met, but part of being entrpreneurial is to not let these factors stop you. if you really want something and are hungry enough you will go out and get it (okay, atleast within the constraints you may have).
I like it simply because I love to see what the latest innovations are and many of the startups posting here are closed builds that do not publicise anywhere else.
In the process of doing my own startup, it is very interesting to see how others approach and overcome common problems and also the frameworks, solutions, and platforms they use and what they find good/bad.
All invaulable stuff :)
Anywya if anyone is interested in any further thoughts regarding this feel free to mail me at babulmiah at yahoo dot com.
I am an active user of YouNoodle for four months, but I have to disagree with Babul and Marc. Younoodle is built on a noble concept to connect all entrepreneurs (at least that's what it is now). In the process, they expose venture ideas to non serious users and yet we're not allowed to set our venture info private. If by joining a site can give me unlimited number of business ideas, man, why not!
Although it receives overwhelming users online, many of whom would just create a profile, input info, make some contacts, then disappear. In short, there isn't any true reason that drives me to revisit the site. What can an entrepreneur expect from joining the website? VC exposure, talent recruiting, social networking, or competition? YouNoodle tries to capture all of those, but fails to succeed in any.
Younoodle was backed from known VC because of its earlier vision: predict the success rate of any startup. Do a google search on YouNoodle and you will find some interesting reads.
YouNoodle tries really hard to become the entrepreneurs version of Facebook. I find that less innovative. I had a great expectation when I was first introduced to YouNoodle reluctantly. The more I familiarize myself with YouNoodle, the more I wish they can be more organized in terms of site logic. For example, while I am trying to view all of the startups, I am only shown one at a time, let alone that somehow the algorithm behind it made me see the same venture for about 5 times.
Hey...this is just personal opinion. Unfortunately, the term "Conflict of Interest" is unheard of in YouNoodle's founders circle. But fortunately, I am not alone in YouNoodle's disappointment.
Mocha - I think it all depends what you want to get out of YouNoodle. I've found it valuable in the short time I've been a user. I've already found and met several people who have been very helpful in certain aspects of my venture.
Additionally, as a social network, I think it does a very good job capturing the segment it's going after - the entrepreneurs. I haven't found any other community this active and of this high quality - with relatively little filtering needed to find interesting people/startups.
Sure, your security concerns are somewhat valid - but here are my thoughts on that. If you're that worried about someone stealing your idea, don't share it - to casual users or other founders. Or don't share enough of it that they can steal it. Second, if you don't have some sort of barrier to entry or some sort of magic potion, once you're live, people will be able to steal it anyway (first to market guarantees nothing these days). And last, a successful business is more than just an idea. It's the implementation. Nobody can steal that from you if you don't explicitly share it.
So though it's not a website for everyone, it's great for me :)
To counter your points:
1. I didn't intend to share my idea so openly and freely. As I mentioned before, it was not without huge reluctance (*hint: tied to certain competition).
2. Barrier of entry. I believe there is no stupid people in this world, just lazy ones. Out of so many ideas flying around, if it's within my ability and if I am willing to, I can pretty much copy any idea (not biz model).
3.I agree with you that it takes more than an idea to start a business. But it has to start with an idea! Do you think that if the Facebook idea was out before the Facebook guy thought of it, all of those million of CS students couldn't simply make a similar site?
Finally, the website appeals to certain segment. I assume that with probably over 200,000 registered users, not a big % of them actually made contacts through YouNoodle. YouNoodle is built on the Facebook concept (connect with people that you already know or have known), not MySpace concept(meet people randomly). In short, I find it difficult to trust people whom I meet on net unless I already know them personally and then connect them online. ;P
I've found your blog with YouNoodle and thinking about your project (Vyoo ) maybe we can have some kind of partnership here :)
Can you send me any contact details over my email: liubomir.petrov AT gmail.com
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