March 20th, 2008
Spent the day at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus attending Dealmaker Media‘s Under the Radar Conference on “The Business of Web Apps: Where the Web Goes to Work.” A company that would seem to have a lot to lose from the success of web-based applications with an Office 2.0 focus has taken Michael Corleone’s advice to “keep their friends close but their enemies closer.”
Some quick impressions:
- I was delighted to be able to meet Dharmesh Shah in person after commenting on his writings both here on his blog. His Hubspot pitch on YouTube gives you an idea of his low key but compelling personal style.
- I had a chance to meet Sam Shillace, one of team that developed Writely. He seemed at ease in his Director of Engineering role at Google, proof that some entrepreneurs can find a home in larger firms. He did share that he had worked in other large firms, but that Google was the first he felt really comfortable in. We talked about having him come to a Bootstrappers Breakfast later this year and share some lessons learned from his Writely experience.
- I worked for Ridge Evers when we both wore younger men’s clothes. He had some of the best quotes of the day, and one of the most disappointing answers (if only because “Let Them Go Back” (to QuickBooks) seems like such an obvious requirement).
- “…simple as possible and only as powerful as necessary…”
- “true small business” owner-managed organic growth profitable (bootstrapping)
- “don’t talk to small businesses about their size, it’s like talking about their hair color…speak to ownership and industry vertical”
- [cloud based infrastructure for true small business] will enable business advisory services and transition to a bona fide dashboard/windshield instead of managing from the rear view mirror.
- Q: You can import QuickBooks data but can you let a customer go back or are they stranded?
A: Today they can’t go back but we are working on it.
- Filtrbox looks interesting, I approached Ari Newman after his presentation and was able to get beta access: details as they unfold.
- Yoics seemed well positioned as the secure DNS for the emerging Internet of Embedded Things (like cameras, printers, backup storage, …).
- Most insightful quote: “In an always on world presence is meaningless. Of course you are on-line, who and what are you available for is the issue.” Yori Nelken, Founder and CEO Timebridge
March 14th, 2008
I re-read David Packard’s book “The HP Way” recently and was struck by the “Sonoma Meeting” section in Chapter 5: “From Partnership to Corporation”
Another significant event that occurred early in 1957 was the company’s first off-site meeting of senior managers. This was a two-day meeting that took place at the Sonoma Mission Inn, about 70 miles north of San Francisco. About twenty people attended.
Packard lists three reasons for the meeting:
- Get key managers together at least once a year to discuss policies and problems, to exchange views, and to make plans for the future.
- With 1200 people in the company, the founders could no longer personally manage all of the key issues. They still wanted to maintain a small company atmosphere.
- Get agreement on key objectives so that they would steer in a common direction. Allow everyone to comment and have a hand in developing them, with an eye to periodic revision.
They started with six but in 1966 they were revised into the following seven; reading them again I thought this would make a good default set for any technology startup:
- Profit. To recognize that profit is the best single measure of our contribution to society and the ultimate source of our corporate strength. We should attempt to achieve the maximum possible profit consistent with our other objectives.
- Customers. To strive for continual improvement in the quality, usefulness, and value of the products and services we offer our customers.
- Field of Interest. To concentrate our efforts, continually seeking new opportunities for growth but limiting our involvement to fields in which we have capability and can make a contribution.
- Growth. To emphasize growth as a measure of strength and a requirement for survival.
- Employees. To provide employment opportunities for HP people that include the opportunity to share in the company’s success, which they help make possible. To provide for them job security based on performance, and to provide the opportunity for personal satisfaction that comes from a sense of accomplishment in their work.
- Organization. To maintain an organizational environment that fosters individual motivation, initiative and creativity, and a wide latitude of freedom in working toward established objectives and goals.
- Citizenship. To meet the obligations of good citizenship by making contributions to the community and to the institutions in our society which generate the environment in which we operate.
Obviously the management team would have to decide how they were going to keep score in detail on each of these (#1 is fairly obvious but the others are a little more complex). For more background see the HP Memory Project and HP History Links at the HP Alumni site. It’s also interesting to compare the seven from 1966 with HP’s current corporate objectives which feel padded and much less action oriented.
March 11th, 2008
“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily.
To not dare is to lose oneself.”
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
“Have courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones.
When you have laboriously accomplished your daily tasks, go to sleep in peace.
God is awake.”
“Facing it, always facing it, that’s the way to get through. Face it.”
“This is no time for ease and comfort.
It is the time to dare and endure.”
“The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities.”
March 10th, 2008
If you missed us at SDWest last week, here are pointers to firms and organizations we had in the Startup Resource Center.
March 2nd, 2008
SKMurphy will host Peter Cohan’s Great Demo workshop on Saturday March 8 in San Jose.
“SKMurphy’s partnership with the Second Derivative has allowed entrepreneurs at smaller firms access to the same world class sales training normally only available to Fortune 1000 companies. In the class my team developed a presentation that allowed us to explain our offering much more clearly to our prospective customers.” said Miles Kehoe, President at New Idea Engineering. “We have also reshaped how we help our clients present results to their end users. The temptation so often is to start at the beginning of the story and tell them here’s what we did first … then we did this … and really the only thing the they care about is the results, the improvements they will see.”
Workshop registration information is at http://www.skmurphy.com/services/workshops/cohans-great-demos/
World Class Sales Training for Entrepreneurs
“We are offering this workshop as a service to the startup community. We have been fortunate that Peter has set aside time to give the same material that he provides software firms like Ariba, BMC Software, Business Objects, and Macrovision.” said Sean Murphy, CEO of SKMurphy. “For entrepreneurs it’s critical to demonstrate clear and concise benefits. Peter takes you through a number of exercises designed to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and understand how to identify and address their critical business issues more effectively than anyone I have seen.”
Peter Cohan, author of the book Great Demo!, coined the phrase “Do The Last Thing First” as a recipe for creating and delivering surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter’s methodology enables attendees to create and deliver powerful demonstrations for the marketing, sales, and deployment of software and related products. Whether it’s face to face, over the web, as a screencast, or as a self-running demo, the ability to present the key benefits of your software product is essential to generating prospect interest and ultimately revenue.
About Second Derivative (http://www.secondderivative.com)
The Second Derivative helps software organization achieve their sales and marketing objectives by dramatically improving the success rates of their demos. The Second Derivative offers workshops, coaching and consulting with a focus on the needs of organizations developing and selling business-to-business software.
About New Idea Engineering (http://www.ideaeng.com)
New Idea Engineering helps Fortune 1000 companies successfully implement enterprise search. We provide vendor-neutral technical consulting, training, and integration to companies implementing search technologies.