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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Interview With Jon Fox of Intense Debate

Comments (5)

Allen Stern has a great interview up with Jon Fox, the co-founder of Intense Debate.  Jon and Intense Debate were part of the first year’s crop of companies from TechStars and are going great guns right now.  They create the comment replacement system that I use on my blog – if you are a blogger and haven’t tried it yet, wander on over to Intense Debate and take a look.

Jon covers a lot of ground in his interview, but I especially like his answer to Allen’s last question: "What tips do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?"

Jon: I would say two things. First, find yourself a mentor, or at least a friend in the business that can help to get you hooked in. If you don’t know anybody yet, reach out to a handful. My experience is that these people are generally more than willing to help, and happy to bring someone new into the mix.

Second, don’t be afraid to just dive in. I realize not everyone can do this, but it’s really hard to go half way into the startup lifestyle. Recruiting a team, raising money, building a product, etc all require lots of time and effort and you really can’t do it only on the weekend. It’s a bit scary at first, but once you get in it’s tough to believe you’ve lived any other way.

As the second year’s group of TechStars’ companies gear up for investor day in a few weeks, it’s fun to ponder how far some of last year’s companies have come.

  • Mark

    Sounds like a cool company but I don't see their differentiation from all the other comment services out there. What is it?… http://www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2

    • http://mkoenig.wordpress.com Michael Koenig

      Mark, IntenseDebate provides excellent data portability so you are able to import your comments into IntenseDebate as well as export your comments at any time. Our users have told us that they prefer our interface and design to other comment systems. Also, we have integrated other services like twitter and friendfeed to bring your comments into the light.

      Cheers,
      Michael
      IntenseDebate

      • http://barfieldmanagement.com Chase Barfield

        Well put Michael. And I will eloquently add to your retort to Mark – “Intense Debate Friggin' Rocks!”

        Mark – I use it on multiple blogs (I'm the crazy video guy). Michael speaks very humbly about the service so I will advocate for it. It allows you to see who is commenting on your site, who is following your comments, the ability to follow others' comments and see what other kind of interesting sites they visit and comment on. If you are searching for data to help tailor your site to your target demographic, it can really help if used correctly. But the last differentiator and one of the most important – their support is simply as awesome as their service.

  • http://sophisticatedfinance.typepad.com Robert Hacker

    If the three keys to entrepreneurial success are to pick the right opportunity, use mentors and raise capital in advance of need, then mentoring is probably the one that gets the least coverage.

    • http://barfieldmanagement.com Chase Barfield

      Agreed Robert. I believe it's in the DNA of an entrepreneur to initially not seek a mentor. Entrepreneurs are the trail blazers and some of the individuals I know are afraid to seem weak by asking or they do not want to appear as freeloaders because in their eyes they do not have equal value to give back to the mentor. I believe it is the duty of the successful entrepreneur to mentor and impart knowledge to the uninitiated. I am happy to help those less knowledgeable than myself and am unafraid to ask those with more expertise than I for assistance. Mentoring should get more coverage and you should elaborate on that point to your fellow entrepreneurs in your contact circle.

  • Robert Hacker

    If the three keys to entrepreneurial success are to pick the right opportunity, use mentors and raise capital in advance of need, then mentoring is probably the one that gets the least coverage.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chase_barf55451 chase_barf55451

    Agreed Robert. I believe it's in the DNA of an entrepreneur to initially not seek a mentor. Entrepreneurs are the trail blazers and some of the individuals I know are afraid to seem weak by asking or they do not want to appear as freeloaders because in their eyes they do not have equal value to give back to the mentor. I believe it is the duty of the successful entrepreneur to mentor and impart knowledge to the uninitiated. I am happy to help those less knowledgeable than myself and am unafraid to ask those with more expertise than I for assistance. Mentoring should get more coverage and you should elaborate on that point to your fellow entrepreneurs in your contact circle.

  • Mark

    Sounds like a cool company but I don't see their differentiation from all the other comment services out there. What is it?… http://www.readtheanswer.com/index.php?RTA=web2

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/michael michael

    Mark, IntenseDebate provides excellent data portability so you are able to import your comments into IntenseDebate as well as export your comments at any time. Our users have told us that they prefer our interface and design to other comment systems. Also, we have integrated other services like twitter and friendfeed to bring your comments into the light.

    Cheers,
    Michael
    IntenseDebate

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/chase_barf55451 chase_barf55451

    Well put Michael. And I will eloquently add to your retort to Mark – "Intense Debate Friggin' Rocks!"

    Mark – I use it on multiple blogs (I'm the crazy video guy). Michael speaks very humbly about the service so I will advocate for it. It allows you to see who is commenting on your site, who is following your comments, the ability to follow others' comments and see what other kind of interesting sites they visit and comment on. If you are searching for data to help tailor your site to your target demographic, it can really help if used correctly. But the last differentiator and one of the most important – their support is simply as awesome as their service.

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