Summer is almost over. If you have been putting off reading “The Lean Startup” I have a time saving suggestion. If you have an hour and want to capture the gist I can recommend a good e-book summary for Lean Startup. If you have another hour I suggest a good summary for Four Steps.
It’s pointless to try to calculate the exit value of idea that has not been reduced to practice and achieved some level of traction. The real question is how much time and effort to invest to achieve a level of traction that would allow place a value on the business that leverages the ideas. Often it’s not a single investment but a sequence of affordable loss bets–perhaps escalating in size.
In “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist Volume 1” Beston Jack Abrams offers several aphorisms about recognizing the truth in a situation and acting on it. Here are 8 I have selected with some additional commentary for entrepreneurs.
Beston Jack Abrams has self-published 7 volumes of “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist” between 2011 and 2014. These slim volumes each contain 128 aphorisms, one on the opening page and three per page for another 39 pages: are a revelation and an inspiration. Volume 7 ends with this paragraph, leading me to conclude there is more to come:
“I am 87 and in a few more years, I will probably exhaust all thoughts that are intelligible and acts that are of value hence, at that point death becomes less a tragedy than an act of good housekeeping.”
Beston Jack Abrams in “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist Volume 7 (2014)”
It’s OK to solve your own problem first, to be the first customer. This at a minimum gets the idea out of your head and reduced to practice where it can be tested. The trick is to use this basic product to spark further discussions about the problem you solved, no your solution.
The sad reality is that a business cannot be fun, educational, and profitable all at once. Pick boring or grinding over losing money. Christopher Morley observed, “There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning,” but you don’t have to get all three from your business. Without earning you don’t have a business.
Mary Roach’s Stiff offers a tour of the afterlife: she answers the question what happens to our bodies after we die. She explores funeral homes, autopsies, medical training, medical research, crash testing, body armor testing, cremation, brain death, natural decomposition, and organ transplants among other topics.
Is is meticulously researched. Roach visits all manner of medical, research, and funeral facilities in addition to quoting from medical texts ranging back more than two millennia.
Roach advocates for both organ donation and donating your body for medical research arguing that morticians and the natural process of decay will treat your cadaver no less roughly and provide no benefit to anyone else.
She brings a sense of humor and a willingness to ask the most candid questions to everyone she encounters, and does not shy away from observing every aspect of a medical procedure, test, or burial preparation process that her hosts would allow her to. Here is an example from a visit to workshop where plastic surgeons practice their techniques on disembodied cadaver heads.
There are four areas where tradeoffs are commonly made in 3D printing:
- conventional and additive manufacturing processes
- additive manufacturing processes
- 3D printer selection
- different parameter settings in a 3D printer’s build process
The most common design goals considered for 3D printing tradeoffs are strength, speed of printing, minimum feature resolution, and cost. The same 3D model can be manufactured using different processes and parameter settings to optimize one or more these aspects of the finished design. Making the right 3D printing tradeoffs for optimum results requires an understanding of design principles and the possibilities inherent in the process.
I cannot remember what reference led me to read “Gunfire at Sea” by Elting Morrison but I thought it captured some fundamental truths about innovation so well I bought several copies of “Men, Machines, and Modern Times” by Elting Morrison and started sharing them with friends in 2005. I had a conversation with Gary Smith about the book sometime that year and he said he had written a thesis at the Naval Academy on the subject of bebop as a model for innovation. I pestered him for several months afterward to dig it up because from his description I really wanted to read it.
Two key tasks we help early stage teams with are preparing for and executing successful negotiations of complex long-term business relationships. These early sales efforts must foster value co-creation with customers because both parties understanding of requirements will continue to evolve as the product is deployed and gains wider use.
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We help clients with videos that have production and editing budgets in the hundreds to thousands of dollars.
Here are some suggestions for making your first video.
Ash Maurya rebooted his blog as “The Space Between“–experimental format where he is exploring the space between ideas–and has offered a number of short reflective posts. Here are excerpts from three where he explores the value of planning and reflection, and the need to prioritize learning over the illusion of progress.
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Q: Should I tap my 401K to bootstrap my startup? I had a conversation with the CEO of another firm and he and his partners did this to bootstrap. They started a C corporation and set up a corporate retirement account, the partners then rolled existing retirement accounts into the corporate plan and invested the money in the company’s stock. I did a little research and found these articles:
Much has been written about a startup making a pivot in direction after Eric Ries first coined the term
in a 2009 blog post “Pivot don’t Jump to a New Vision.” The word pivot has attracted almost as much wordplay as the word lean. What follows is a short list of good and bad reasons to pivot.
- Honor what is valuable about the past and what is working now.
- Assess the current situation and system.
- Ascertain who is trusted and who people turn to for advice, and weave them into your network.
- Guide the change. Consider where global principles apply, and what can evolve locally.
- Design experiments in collaboration with people who are involved in the change.
These same rules are essential to making a complex sale. What follows are my notes on her talk.
Larry Smith is a Professor of Economics, University of Waterloo who writes and lectures on Entrepreneurship, innovation, and Technology markets. What follows is part of a conversation he had with Alan Quarry as part of his AQ’s Blog & Grill series of interviews with entrepreneurs. His key point, that he makes in a somewhat cranky fashion, is that technology entrepreneurship is a complex undertaking that requires patience, careful analysis, and planning.
With the 2016 school year getting ready to start in the next six to eight weeks at most colleges and universities I have had several conversations with student entrepreneur organizations about how I might be able to help them.
I have developed content and given talks and webinars over the last five years that may provide student entrepreneurs help to get oriented to many of the basics of customer development, innovation, and new market exploration.