Wednesday, March 29, 2006

33 Wikis: # 6 -- The Start-up Exchange

This is the sixth installment in "33 Wikis," a close look at best practices in wiki-based collaboration. Each day -- for 33 days -- we look at one wiki and briefly describe what the wiki is for, why we like it, and what we all can learn from it. If you want to nominate a wiki, please let us know. On day 34 we will post a public wiki featuring info on all nominees.

Full disclosure -- today's wiki runs on the Socialtext platform. Socialtext is an Eastwick client.

What this wiki is for: "The Start-up Exchange" aims to provide a "renewable resource for those working with fewer resources." It's a wiki for entrepreneurs, with a special focus on folks trying to get started in the technology sector.

Why we like it: Of course, we have a lot of Socialtext-based wikis to choose from, but to be fair to other vendors we are limiting our selections to just a few. We are particularly impressed with this little wiki because it seeks to close the real-life business knowledge gap that makes life difficult for so many first-time entrepreneurs. We also like the small community look and feel. Check out the short list of contributors -- nay, become a contributor -- and you'll see you are in good company (pun intended).

What we all can learn from it: If you are looking to start a new company, but have no idea how to get started, this might be a good first stop. With a small community of contributors, the "Start-up Exchange" provides all sorts of info including a "start-up kit" (with info and forms on finance, law, HR, etc.), VC links and resources, an events calendar, and, yes, info on VCs and angel investors. By the way, the start-up kit is the brainchild of Andy Stack from Stata Labs, a start-up that Yahoo! acquired in 2004. As the kit notes, the "business integration into Yahoo! was one of the fastest completed integrations due in part to the procedures that were in place." The start-up kit captures what Stata learned from that experience.
But for folks outside the start-up world, the biggest takeaway is this: a wiki could be a good way to close information gaps that really do not need to exist. Projects like this can shift the focus from insider knowledge -- because it will become less precious -- to things that matter more (like a little something called innovation -- our wiki topic for tomorrow).

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