Author Archive

Making Tea

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in checklist, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

In the last decade I have switched to drinking tea from coffee. I came across a neat process description for making tea by George Orwell in “A Nice Cup Of Tea” that mirrored what I do–except for adding milk or cream to my tea. I was struck by how often we think we have come up with an approach that we believe is rare or unique and discover a similar approach described that’s decades or centuries old.

Adeo Ressi: Don’t Lose Your Purpose In A Pivot

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Adeo Ressi (@adeoressi) is a serial entrepreneur and currently CEO and cofounder of the Founder Institute. At Startupfest 2015, he gave a keynote with the theme: “What you do with your startup is your life’s work, ideally your destiny, and you don’t pivot on the purpose of your life.” Here are four key excerpts from his talk with some additional thoughts for bootstrappers.

Scaling Up To a High Reliability Organization

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Randy Cadieux, founder of V-Speed LLC, started to post some interesting articles in the Lean Startup Circle Group on LinkedIn in June of this year, in particular his “Working on the Edge of Failure.” High reliability organizations have a lot to teach startups so I decided to reach out to him to compare notes. This led to some great conversations and a recorded sessions that we have transcribed into this edited transcript–with some hyperlinks added for context.

Asking Questions From A Caring Perspective

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Community of Practice, Customer Development, skmurphy

I used to think it was the advice I offered that provided the highest value to clients and friends. I talk to a number of people in different or challenging situations. Recently I have come to appreciate that it’s when I focus and listen to someone explain their situation, asking them questions from a caring perspective to help clarify their understanding, that I often provide the most value.

Primary Research Tools: Q&A With Jen Berkley Jackson

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, Design of Experiments, skmurphy

I recently did an in depth interview with Jen Berkley Jackson of The Insight Advantage on primary research tools. Jen works with companies to help them make sure that they understand their customers better than any competitor or potential competitor. Her firm performs primary research for clients, using a variety of tools to gather information from customers, prospective customers, and the general market. Because of her considerable experience with a range of primary research tools I took this as an opportunity to explore the spectrum approaches that are available.

Organizing Your Experiment Log

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, Customer Development, skmurphy

In Chapter 9 of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,” Robert Pirsig goes into an extended explanation of the Scientific Method using the metaphor of motorcycle repair. He stresses the value of an experiment log, explaining how to organize it so that you don’t become lost in exploring for solutions to a problem. I have excerpted it below and intermixed some commentary about applying it to early market exploring and debugging new product introduction problems.

Pearl Harbor to 9-11 to the Panopticon

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Legal Issues, skmurphy

This post has been percolating for two years, it’s a request to folks working on networking, social networks, and other technologies to consider the implications of their actions. My thesis is that the combination of advertising driven firms that sell their audience as the product and efforts to prevent another 9-11 have combined to create a more pervasive surveillance state than we could have imagined a decade go, but without any increase in security. Like Number 6 after his escape from the Village in “The Prisoner” we have all relocated to the panopticon. Be mindful of what you are working on so that you don’t contribute unintentionally.

Abigail Miller on Great Demo Workshop Benefits

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Demos, Sales, skmurphy, Workshop

After every Great Demo! workshop we follow up with every participant to learn

  1. What results have you observed from applying the Great Demo! method so far?
  2. Do you have any success stories to report or share?
  3. Are there any questions you’d like to have addressed regarding the methods or concepts?  Have you encountered situations where you’d like additional help or recommendations?

Abigail Miller, a Pre-Sales IT Consultant with Agfa Healthcare, a workshop in May of 2015 and wrote this email in reply:

Ten Aphorisms For Entrepreneurs By James Geary

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

GearyGuideCoverJames Geary has curated one of the best collections of aphorisms that I have–and I have read dozens: “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists.” Geary has “Five Laws Of The Aphorism,” they are:

1. It Must Be Brief;
2. It Must Be Personal;
3. It Must Be Definitive;
4. It Must Be Philosophical;
5. It Must Have a Twist.

In addition to collecting the aphorisms of other writers he also has a collection of his own. I have selected ten and added some brief commentary about their applicability to entrepreneurship.

E-Book Summary For Lean Startup

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Books, skmurphy

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.

Q: How Can I Calculate The Exit Value Of My Idea?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, skmurphy

It’s masturbation 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.

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