Twitter gets called out regularly for its darker side — people who harass others, make a witty, snarky comment or dig up statements that posters may have forgotten about (or wish they'd never made). But there's wisdom to be found there as well. That's especially true for entrepreneurs and people who run small businesses. A large number of founders who have launched successful businesses and raised tens (or hundreds) of millions of dollars in investments regularly post advice and musings related to the start-up world.
Finding the cream of the crop can be tricky, though. So we reached out to leaders in the venture capital and start-up communities to see who they thought was follow-worthy. Here's who's on their radar.
The co-founder and CEO of enterprise cloud company Box is a favorite of Venky Ganesan of Menlo Ventures. Aaron Levie gives regular updates on the company, as you'd expect, but also ties current events to the start-up world and offers quick thoughts that will encourage up-and-coming founders on everything from raising funds to brand identity.
Alexander Osterwalder is less an entrepreneur and more a business theorist. The founder of Strategyzer.com, a platform that offers practical tools to design, test and manage value propositions and business models, his self-stated mission is to make entrepreneurs and executives operate like surgeons. What you'll find on his feed is clear-cut advice on how to do so. Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Steve Blank, author of Four Steps to the Epiphany, lauds his "brilliant insight into corporate innovation."
Co-founder and CEO of Mattermark, a data platform that helps venture capitalists spot growing and potentially lucrative start-ups, Danielle Morrill offers consistently solid advice and thoughts on the start-up world, isn't overly self-promotional and links to entertaining and informative content, says Alyson Saxe, CEO and founder of Iris PR Software. Morrill has been especially vocal of late on the Silicon Valley scandal around sexual harassment and discrimination.
Jason M. Lemkin's EchoSign was acquired by Adobe in 2012. These days he's overseeing a venture fund of his own, called the SaaStr Fund, focusing exclusively on software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies. Jason Cohen, founder of Smart Bear and currently founder and CEO of WP Engine, says he enjoys Lemkin's "simple, haiku-like statements which are surprisingly deep and useful for tweets."
Both an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist, Dixon gives "great advice from the belly of the beast," says Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Steve Blank. The co-founder and former CEO of the now-shuttered website Hutch, which was a collective intelligence decision-making system, Dixon's currently a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. He offers thoughts on everything from cryptography to start-up news of the day, as well as links to his page on the story-sharing platform Medium.
Scoble came to prominence as a tech evangelist for Microsoft but has gone on to become an entrepreneur in residence at UploadVR. He's a good window into what's up and coming in technology and how it can be used by start-up owners. Serial entrepreneur Scott Olson, most recently the founding partner of Compete2.Win, says Scoble's "fresh and humorous takes on technology [are] interesting and [provide] relevant information for entrepreneurs."
An early investor in Zynga, MakerBot and Fitbit, Feld (who's also co-founder of the start-up accelerator Techstars) is widely respected in the start-up world. His blog is a must-read for entrepreneurs, and his Twitter feed is just as valuable ("great VC advice from outside the valley," says Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Steve Blank). Currently a venture capitalist at Foundry Group, he offers thoughts on the start-up environment as well as the importance of immigrant entrepreneurs (a longtime passion of his).
A prominent blogger in the start-up world, Suster has launched two companies that have been acquired. He is a mentor at Techstars and an investment partner at Upfront Ventures. He covers everything from current events (both start-up and political) with straightforward talk, and dishes out advice business owners can use and gets the nod of approval from Javier Rojas at Kennet Partners, who invests in tech businesses across Europe and North America.
Wilson is less an entrepreneur and more solidly on the venture capital side of things. He's managing partner at Union Square Ventures and was the founder of Flatiron Partners. You can, however, still learn a lot about running a business via both his personal feed and that of his AVC site. Wilson's links to his blog is regularly updated and is chock full of insights into the entrepreneurial and venture worlds.
The former CEO of Ning (which she co-founded with Marc Andreessen), Bianchini transitioned into the role of entrepreneur in residence at the Andreessen Horowitz venture firm in 2010. She's most recently the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks, a new social network for deep interests in mobile. She offers a smart, experienced perspective on the start-up world from a woman's point of view — something that's more valuable than ever these days.