Charlie O’Donnell’s New Start-Up: Path 101


The man who begged us not to turn him into a “Guy Kawasaki of the East Coast” keeps breaking new ground, so I’m afraid we’re just going to have to keep writing about him. 

In what he describes as an “uber anti-stealth” approach to launching a start-up, Charlie has just published his business plan online, for all to see.  This awesomely contrarian move accomplishes five things:

  1. It launches the venture with a nice splash of buzz (Charlie’s demure protests notwithstanding).
  2. It functions as a simple, free recruiting tool.
  3. It compels everyone who reads it to send in free advice (most of which will be garbage, but not all).
  4. It pitches the plan to every VC and angel in the world without Charlie having to endure a single dog-and-pony show, and,
  5. Most interestingly, it effectively patents the idea in the court of public opinion.  From this day forward, anyone who pitches or launches a social networking career-advice site for clueless college grads will be greeted with the following response: “Oh, you mean like what Charlie O’Donnell’s doing?”  This sort of patent won’t mean much in a court of law.  But it will mean a lot in the court of bragging rights.  And it should also encourage the great less-bold majority to move on to other ideas.

Want to see the presentation yourself?  Follow the links at the bottom of Charlie’s blog.

The business itself sounds interesting–Lord knows students and graduates always need help figuring out the transition to the real world.  Perfect demographic for Web 2.0 business.  Plenty of social-networking opportunities.  Plenty of advertising and sponsorship opportunities, so no worries about the business model (the favourite target of harrumphing critics who don’t understand the concept of “figure it out as you go”).  The trick will be to make it easy, useful, cool, and fun.