Category: Weblog

  • New Podcast: Percival’s Startup Rants

    New Podcast: Percival’s Startup Rants

    I have a new podcast because who doesn’t have a podcast?!?

  • Introducing YaaS (YIKES! as a Service)

    Introducing YaaS (YIKES! as a Service)

    I can read you this post: At Iterate there’s a long-standing tradition and recently returned event called Pitch Night. Here you can pitch your best startup ideas, but we prefer if you get up and pitch a realllllllly bad idea. Because good ideas often look pretty bad at first! For example, staying in someone else’s […]

  • Did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in?

    Did you try unplugging it and plugging it back in?

    I can read you this post: My very first job in tech was perhaps at the lowest ring of the latter in our industry. That being tech support. Even worse, level 1 telephone tech support. I’m so old that we used to do that job solely in America and not some far-flung country. The year […]

  • Putting the fun in fundraising!

    Putting the fun in fundraising!

    Iterate (my work) has received an investment of 100 MNOK ($11.3M USD) and formed a strategic partnership with Aars AS. Aars is the Møller family office and investment company that owns organizations such as the Møller Mobility Group, OneCo, Møller Eiendom, InfoCare, and Alfa Sko. The group had a total turnover of 40 billion NOK […]

  • Are you worried you’re not web3 enough?

    Are you worried you’re not web3 enough?

    Don’t be ashamed! Cryptotile dysfunction affects millions but now you can do something about it. Here’s how to be more web3 in 3 easy steps: Change your profile photo to an NFT. There are no faces in web3, just very very bored apes. Completely pivot your career to web3 and hope no one notices. Let […]

  • Failing to Fly Around the World

    Failing to Fly Around the World

    This year I failed to fly around the world. You see, I’ve been tracking every flight, every flight mile, cost, and the C02 generated from my air travel. 2021 is the first year I didn’t fly enough miles to circle the globe in some time. Here’s the last few years breakdown: 2019: 56,550 miles flown […]

  • The Metaverse is Here! (Again)

    The Metaverse is Here! (Again)

    Like any self-respecting geek, I read Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in my early 20s. It was a transformative experience and likely drove much of my interest in the tech industry as a whole. For the uninitiated, this is where the term metaverse was coined, it encompassed a virtual world where players (represented by avatars) lived […]

  • Social Media is Us, and Using Us

    Social Media is Us, and Using Us

    Oh yes, you’re reading a personal blog post/rant about social media just like it’s 2006 all over again. So queue up ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ by Shakira on your iPod, shout out “verryyy nice” like Borat, and add some glitter graphics to your Myspace page because here we go.  It was of course in 2006 when […]

  • Event industry, please go easy on us.

    Event industry, please go easy on us.

    You can already sense it and, in some cases, feel it. Jet engines are revving up. Hotel conference rooms are getting dusted off and ready. Somewhere, probably in a sweltering factory, workers are assembling thousands upon thousands of lanyards ablaze with the hashtags….#dreamforce and #con this and #con that. Oh yes, with the great reopening […]

  • New Book: Living with Norwegians

    New Book: Living with Norwegians

    I have written and will publish a new book called Living with Norwegians, a companion and follow-up book to Working with Norwegians. This guide is a collection of personal experiences, Norwegian stereotypes, and friendly advice on how to survive life in Norway. It’s the ideal starting point for someone who is curious about life in Norway and […]

  • Marketing activities that are generally a waste of time

    Marketing activities that are generally a waste of time

    I’ve been thinking back to marketing activities I’ve done that have proven to be a waste of time. Much like venture capital, marketing follows the 80/20 rule aka only 20% of what you do actually makes an impact. Here are a few things you might want to avoid. As usual, this is mostly geared towards […]

  • Introducing Percival Publishing

    Introducing Percival Publishing

    I’ve started up a small boutique publishing company, as one does during a lockdown. It is not so modestly called Percival Publishing. I primarily use Percival Publishing to handle distribution of the various books I’ve written. I’m also helping other authors sell their books into the Norwegian market. This small but lucrative market has its […]

  • How not to bore your investors during a video pitch

    How not to bore your investors during a video pitch

    As a founder you have 99 problems and a good video pitch is one. Since the pandemic hit, I’ve been part of about 100 video-based investor pitches. Unfortunately, I must say that most are pretty bad. Here are a few things you can do to make them less bad. Your future investors will thank you.  […]

  • The Pandemic Themed Home Office Gear Guide

    The Pandemic Themed Home Office Gear Guide

    The office is dead, long live the home office. This is actually great news for me as I’ve always had a home office. Mostly because I used to be a terrible workaholic while at the same time being a bit of a hermit. So as the world shut down and the idea of working in […]

  • Note to My Future Self: A 2020 Retrospective

    Note to My Future Self: A 2020 Retrospective

    Dear Future Self, Regardless if you read this in the year 2020 or many years in the future, I don’t think I’ll have to remind you just how strange the year 2020 was. It was a time of much uncertainty and great restrictions. However, instead of focusing on the many things you couldn’t do this […]

  • Sleeping Through a Pandemic

    Sleeping Through a Pandemic

    How are you sleeping these days? I imagine for many of you not so well. Our schedules and routines have been upended as we no longer need to go into the office or go pretty much anywhere. The morning rush hour for many replaced with quickly fixing our hair before jumping into a video meeting […]

  • A List of Very Good Things to Happen During These Very Bad Times

    A List of Very Good Things to Happen During These Very Bad Times

    My last blog post was probably a wee bit negative. Hey, these are tough times. We’re all a bit anxious and worried so can ya really blame me? So to counter that, I’ve started to compile a list of some of the good things happening during these bad times. Have some good news to recommend? […]

  • This all sucks (and it’s OK to say it)

    This all sucks (and it’s OK to say it)

    Yup, everything really sucks right now, and it’s more than OK to say that, hell scream it aloud or at the very least acknowledge it. This, however, doesn’t seem to be the case as in addition to our N95 masks we seem to be wearing another mask, one of misplaced or perhaps even faked bravery.  […]

  • Coronavirus Tales Under Socialism, Democracy, and Social Democracy

    Coronavirus Tales Under Socialism, Democracy, and Social Democracy

    In a period of 30 days, I’ll have lived the Coronavirus (COVID-19) under three very different governments. Who infected it best? I’ll break it down and grade them for you. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic At the start of this month, I got on a jet and flew to Vietnam […]

  • Marketing Consultant Rules of Engagement

    Marketing Consultant Rules of Engagement

    Clickbait alert! You thought you were coming for a witty guide to the world of marketing and working with clients. First, a word from our sponsor (me) to let you know I recently became a free agent and am available for consulting projects. Growth marketing, accelerator management, fundraising support, song & dance ensembles, surprise me. […]

  • New Book: The Accelerator Survival Guide

    New Book: The Accelerator Survival Guide

    My next book is now up for pre-order and shipping in a month. The Accelerator Survival Guide: How to lead, design and execute great programs. This guide is a collection of experiences, a few rants, some frameworks, and awesome startup accelerator best practices. It’s the ideal starting point for program directors but any member of […]

  • My First Children’s Book: Goodnight Fortnite

    My First Children’s Book: Goodnight Fortnite

    My next book is something different as it’s a children’s book. This one is also for the parents and specifically those with kids that play way too much Fortnite. Introducing Goodnight Fortnite: A parody to make them stop playing and go to bed. It’s a parody of the classic children’s book Goodnight Moon written in […]

  • My Next Book: Marketing WTF

    My Next Book: Marketing WTF

    I’m challenging myself to do a lot more writing and as part of that publishing more through Amazon. To get updates on future releases please follow my Amazon Author Profile and my Goodreads page. I hope to publish around 10 books before the end of 2020 on startup stuff, a children’s book and even some fiction writing.  To that end, my […]

  • Serial entrepreneur Sean Percival joins appear.in as CMO

    Serial entrepreneur Sean Percival joins appear.in as CMO

    “When I first relocated to Oslo from Silicon Valley appear.in was the very first company I wanted to work for. So I’m incredibly excited to be able to join today and at a point when the business has already begun a nice growth trajectory. With such a large user base already that includes millions of […]

  • PercivalCoin

    PercivalCoin

    I have my own blockchain. What you don’t?! Get with the times man. Funny backstory, I started this blockchain privately back in 2013 called PercivalCoin. Basically ICO’ing myself before it was cool. I then promptly got distracted with other things and didn’t keep working on it. However thanks to Mark Rizzn Hopkins keeping a single copy of […]

  • The Loud American: Working with Norwegians

    The Loud American: Working with Norwegians

    My next book, The Loud American: Working with Norwegians is coming.

  • The Katapult Accelerator Coming to Oslo

    The Katapult Accelerator Coming to Oslo

    I’m happy to announce that I’m helping to launch the Katapult Accelerator starting July 31st, here in Oslo, Norway. We’re looking for startups focused on environmental and societal change. Basically companies who are looking to do good in the world. You can read more about the type of startups we’re looking for in the Request for […]

  • Ask an investor: What should I do if I hate my co-founder?

    Ask an investor: What should I do if I hate my co-founder?

    It was an early Monday morning when a flustered founder was sitting in my office waiting for me. You see in this industry Monday is often a bad-news day. That’s usually when a founder or startup breakdown moment finally hits the wall. An eruption takes place the week before and, after thinking about it over […]

  • Ask an Investor: Why is no one investing in my startup?

    Ask an Investor: Why is no one investing in my startup?

    This piece originally appeared on the Norwegian tech blog Shifter Sean Percival is an American investor and entrepreneur with investments in over 120 early-stage startups. Formerly a partner at 500 Startups, today he works with X2 Labs, in Stavanger, and several startups in Oslo. Here, on Shifter he gives candid answers to common founder questions. […]

  • Ask an Investor: How much should I pay myself as founder?

    Ask an Investor: How much should I pay myself as founder?

    This piece originally appeared on the Norwegian tech blog Shifter In the many great sagas of Silicon Valley founder stories, you hear a lot about teams starting with nothing and struggling to get through those tough first years. For example, at 500 Startups we had a founder living in an old van in our office […]

  • Founder Real Talk From the Edge

    Founder Real Talk From the Edge

    On September 1st, Franklin Wise was not having a great day. He had just finished moving out of his San Francisco apartment, which he was forced to leave behind when a startup job didn’t work out. He was devastated over that; he didn’t want to move and was struggling with the changes he was undergoing. […]

  • Things to Do While Everyone is at Burning Man

    Things to Do While Everyone is at Burning Man

    Drive Drive up and down the 101 (both in LA and SF) and enjoy the light traffic. Even if you don’t need to go somewhere, just drive. There’s also going to be a lot more parking so go nuts and double park; you’ve earned it. Get Laid Normally people go to Burning Man to get […]

  • Investor-to-Founder Translator

    Investor-to-Founder Translator

    In the world of startup fundraising, sometimes it’s hard to know what everyone is saying. Buzzwords comes and go faster than you can call for an Uber. The “art of the pitch,” as they say, is constantly evolving to keep up with the times. However, as the trends change, one part of investor-to-founder communication has remained rather constant. During […]

  • The 5 People You Meet in Silicon Valley Heaven

    The 5 People You Meet in Silicon Valley Heaven

    Now that I’ve lived in Silicon Valley for two years, it feels like I’m overdue to write about some of my experiences. To that end, I want to talk not about the booming tech ecosystem, or the rising cost of living and the challenges that’s creating. No, instead let’s talk about a few of the archetypes you […]

  • The Law of Jante, Founder Edition

    The Law of Jante, Founder Edition

    I have spent great deal of time in the Nordic countries over the last year. Throughout all my travels there, one of the most interesting cultural lessons has been about The Law of Jante. Check the Wikipedia listing for the details, but at a high level, it’s an idea that discourages individual success. Instead, it […]

  • Field Guide to Unicorn Startups Around the World

    Field Guide to Unicorn Startups Around the World

    Startup unicorns (a company with $1B+ in valuation) seem to be everywhere these days.  Yes, it’s not just Silicon Valley adding these mystical beasts to their stables. In fact startup unicorns are popping up all over the world. Of course just like unicorns these valuations might not be real. Either way, it’s a frothy market and we’re […]

  • Bitcoin Accelerators Field Guide

    Bitcoin Accelerators Field Guide

    It’s still a wild and strange world out there for early stage Bitcoin companies. So while it can be challenging to get started, things are improving thanks to several Silicon Valley-based accelerators taking a liking to digital currency. Now that there’s a decent collection of them I thought it might be helpful to review them. So this […]

  • Goodbye, Los Angeles, and Thank You

    Goodbye, Los Angeles, and Thank You

    I’m leaving Los Angeles, the city that literally gave me life, love, and so many other wonderful things. The city that is so dear to me that I’m not sure I could ever encapsulate my true feelings about it in a simple blog post. However, I did want to say thanks and share some thoughts from the […]

  • How to Survive the Series A Crunch—From Someone Who Didn’t

    How to Survive the Series A Crunch—From Someone Who Didn’t

    CEO/Founder’s only jobs:1) Don’t run out of $$2) Recruit AND retain best talent3) Set & spread the vision It’s harder than you think. — Jason Evanish (@Evanish) May 3, 2013 The above tweet really encapsulates what’s required to lead an early-stage startup. If you’re a fellow founder, you’re likely nodding your head a bit now. You […]

  • Weird Twitter: Tech and Startup Edition

    Weird Twitter: Tech and Startup Edition

    So “Weird Twitter” is a thing. If you need a little background be sure to check out Weird Twitter Explained by Nick Douglas. At a high level it’s a collection of Twitter accounts that together write in a similar and less accessible writing style. There’s a lot of personas and insider jokes going on that […]

  • Startup Lessons from the Busy Streets of India

    Startup Lessons from the Busy Streets of India

    I recently returned from a trip to India as part of Geeks on a Plane, an event put on by 500 Startups. Should you have a chance to join one of these trips, I highly recommend it. If you need a new perspective or want to expand your business internationally, this is definitely the way […]

  • When it’s not all good, ask for help

    When it’s not all good, ask for help

    When I first heard the news of Jody Sherman’s passing my heart sank. The news would later confirm my biggest fear—what I dreaded most. He had taken his own life. Only a week earlier, a mutual friend had reconnected Jody and I. We had met once before and I had sat on a panel with him another […]

  • The Case Against Constantly Bright Hands

    The Case Against Constantly Bright Hands

    I get it that the future is mobile, mobile, mobile. I’m just not convinced that a constantly bright hand leads to a brighter life. — Sean Percival (@Percival) October 1, 2012 I tweeted that sentiment a few weeks ago and have been thinking a lot about how smartphones have been changing our lives—mostly for the […]

  • 2 Years of Talking in 2 Minutes

    2 Years of Talking in 2 Minutes

    My daughter Charlotte Percival’s voice changing over the course of her first 2 years.

  • The Men of Pinterest

    The Men of Pinterest

    In case you missed it, Pinterest is a new website capable of curing the common cold, solving world peace and doing your taxes. It’s literally that good. Really though, it’s a new bookmarking service that has been all the rage lately. Seeing how it just surpassed 10 million monthly visitors, it’s hard to deny there’s something there. Now that I think […]

  • My Desktop Now vs. Then

    My Desktop Now vs. Then

    Found this old (I’m thinking 2003) photo of my computer setup. Enough time has passed now that most of this hardware is already nostalgic. The tape backup drive which held about 8GB compressed, and of course those wonderful flatbed scanners. In case you’re wondering, the ridiculous server rack came from a company that crashed and burned along with […]

  • How to Look Good and Make Friends on Instagram

    How to Look Good and Make Friends on Instagram

    Instagram is a new photo application for the iPhone that all your tech hipster friends totally knew about before everyone else did. Actually about 100,000 people (not all hipsters) snagged the free app the week it debuted. The idea is simple: take nice photos, quickly apply an array of filters, and share away. It’s really […]

  • Tron Legacy Images

    Tron Legacy Images

    So I’ve watched the Tron Legacy trailer a dozen or so times, totally normal right? I even went and made a bunch of screen captures, once again totally normal right? Either way, I hope you enjoy them: Here’s the trailer in case you missed it:

  • The $12 Startup

    The $12 Startup

    The beginning of the story of how I built a profitable web business for $12 and sold it for $100,000. Despite always being very technical, some 10 years ago I found myself working as a janitor cleaning office buildings. One of those offices happened to belong to Vegas.com, one of the larger vacation sites of […]

  • 1975 IBM Presentation

    1975 IBM Presentation

    I just love this 1975 IBM presentation, the colors, the fonts, the buzz words (which are oddly enough still relevant). It’s 1975 and this man is about to tell you the future… Check it out. IBM: 1975 from Kathy Gill