Answers on Startups (a Stack Exchange site)

May 17, 2011 in 4 out of 5 stars, A community, A website, Business Intel, Business Planning, Expert Advice

What is it? A question and answer site focused on Startups and Entrepreneurship.

Who makes it?

Stack Exchange (with a dash of clout from Dharmesh Shah)

Why is it the killerest?

Stack Exchange (the company behind this) have built a highly effective Question-and-Answer gamification format offering. They started with the absurdly successful Stack Overflow which is focused on answering software development questions, and applied the model to various other topics, including startups.

All of us have questions as we venture into these challenging startup waters, and Answers OnStartups is a productive place ask them. Because of the reward system built into the site, you will typically get high quality, and varied answers from experienced folks who know what they're talking about.

It also skews heavily toward online and software startups, which is where my own passion lies (as it does for many of you).

What could be improved?

I've been watching and participating for a few weeks now and I've had a great time, but two things could be improved:

1) The number of participants. What it has now is great, but I would love it to reach the level of some of the higher volume Stack Exchange sites. I know a bunch of you reading this have valuable insights to share, so get over there.

2) Some repetition in questions. Equity splitting, marketing, and funding questions occupy a large percent of the questions. That said, there are still interesting and helpful questions posted frequently.

How much does it cost?



Reviewed by Carson McComas

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April 24, 2007 in 4 out of 5 stars, Business Planning, Hosted software, Project management

What is it?

PlanHQ: Online business planning software.


Who makes it?

PlanHQ Limited

Why is it the killerest?

Remember when you were in third grade and you had that math workbook? You may be reluctant to admit it, but it was kinda fun and you even accidentally learned stuff as you hurried to fill it all out. PlanHQ is like your favorite business plan workbook from MBA school.

It's greatest benefit is how it challenges you to think through and answer for the whole business picture of your venture. As you're working through your strategy, goals, competitive analysis, market analysis, sales forecasts, etc. it's like having a very detail-oriented MBA coaching you. If you're like most entrepreneurs (one big part passion, and one small part business training) this is an excellent tool to help you get your act together.

There are also collaboration features to help investors, partners, and others monitor and participate in the evolution of your venture. Nifty features like the ability to export it all into a Word Doc or PDF, and a report to tell you how complete your plan is are a nice touch.

As you use the system, it evolves organically to provide you richer information and business intelligence for making decisions. If you have the discipline to use this software and challenge yourself to account for all the extraneous details we often overlook, you'll be better equipped for success.

It's a brilliant bit of software. Intuitive, very well designed, and comprehensive without being overwhelming.

What could be improved?

I would love to see a "lite" version for free. Something with 1/5th the stuff, just the basics, to get you sold on the value of having the discipline to think everything through.

It does shoehorn you a bit into their business philosophy. It's a sound philosophy and not heavy-handed, but you can feel the constraints of their approach keeping you between the lines.

How much does it cost?

From $9 to $49/mo

All plans start with a free 30-day trial and you can export it all before you leave.


Reviewed by Carson McComas

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