Alwaysoncircle AlwaysOn kicked off at Stanford last night and Guy Kawasaki moderated a panel entitled The Anatomy of a Successful Start-up in 2010. In the discussion was Mike Lee, co-founder of Tapulous, Chris Barbin, CEO of Appirio, Barry Silbert, Founder/CEO of SecondMarket, Treb Ryan, CEO of Opsource, and Doug Knopper, CEO of Freewheel.

Guy asked the panel whether it was a good time to start a company and what were each of the entrepreneurs doing differently today than they did in 1999.

A few random insights and thoughts that came from that thread:

Cloud computing is just starting to sort itself out through all the hype and monetize, so while challenging, its just starting to get going and there are lots of opportunities here to ‘get it right.’

Additionally, the sentiment was that “there’s a ton of capital but not a need to take it hastily….there’s so much more you can do on your own today — you just don’t need a lot of infrastructure anymore, even for an enterprise business.

Says Doug,”the world has gotten a lot smaller.” Others agree and have outsourced, tapped into resources outside the U.S. One had a resource in China with a 415# and between local numbers and Skype, there’s no reason not to be connected any time of day or night.

What about the role of the VC moving forward? It felt like the whole panel was opting for ‘any other way.’ In other words, with how easy it is to build infrastructure today, why get a VC on board unless you absolutely have to, although a VC does play a role outside of hard capital of course. A great VC can do pattern matching really well.

They also noted how much smarter prospects and employees are getting – today, they wan to “see a plan – they want to know the metrics and see a vision; its not good enough anymore to hear that the CEO has one.

Guy asks, “so how do you roll out a launch today? Mike says, “you need to think about how you build a company that the big boys are going to be interested in….how do you make your solution or service more compelling than anyone else….in other words, make something that someone like Apple CAN’T ignore. He says, “if you have something that resonates with users, they’ll use it, tout it and give you the buzz you need.”

Building buzz and testing things out with consumers is still key. Treb says, “the only friend you have when you’re a Series A start-up is buzz – you need to find out early on what works really well and what doesn’t.”

And Guy ends on a humorous note: Two things – “never surprise your board,” and at the end of the day regardless of what else is happening, “sales fixes everything.”

Below are two videos highlighting the majority of the panel.

footer creative commons