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Rock Paper Scissors

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Technology markets look like a game of rock paper scissors. Startups have to find an effective counter to a competitor’s offering not just a slightly better version. Their pebble cannot beat the incumbent’s rock, they have to use paper (and scissors is a really bad idea). 

Alastair Hood: Lessons Learned Bootstrapping Verdafero

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Compare notes with entrepreneurs who eat problems for breakfast.Dr. Alastair Hood, PhD, CEO of Verdafero, was our featured attendee at this morning’s Bootstrapper Breakfast® in Palo Alto.

He offered a candid assessment of lessons learned bootstrapping Verdafero since 2009. The Verdafero platform is used by businesses to capture, analyze, visualize their waste, water, and energy utility bills. It allows them to compare locations normalized for temperature and key business transactions (e.g. nightly occupancy for a hotel, pizzas sold for a pizzeria, daily check-ins at a health club, etc..).

Here are my notes for his remarks:

How To Test Your Leap To A Solution

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, checklist, Sales, skmurphy

In your early customer discovery conversations to assess demand for a new offering a wide range of customer needs and symptoms can trigger a leap to a solution, which just happens to be yours. Guard against this by probing to understand the root problem–have at least three questions that allow you to dig out the details–and consider questions that would disqualify your solution.

Ten Rules of Thumb from”101 Things I Learned in Engineering School”

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Ten rules of thumb from”101 Things I Learned in Engineering School” by John Kuprenas and Matthew Frederick that I think entrepreneurs will find particularly useful. It’s a great book full of very clear illustrations and examples for most of its 101 two-page chapters. I purchased it as a Christmas gift for my sons and could not stop reading it once I started. I have preserved the numbering from the chapters in the book.

Moore’s Law Enables New Uses For Old Algorithms

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

Moore’s Law and the rise of cloud computing models that enable collaboration in networks of up to hundreds of thousands of individual CPUs on a single algorithm mean that old algorithms can find new applications and address much larger problems. I believe that this will have as profound an impact on knowledge work over the next two decades as the personal computer did transforming clerical jobs in the 80’s and 90’s.

As We Grow Older

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

As I grow older I have gained a full appreciation for Laurie Anderson’s observation: “When my father died it was like a whole library had burned down.” It’s now 97 months since my father’s death from a heart attack on October 23, 2007 and I still feel the loss.  

Tips For Entrepreneurs On Surviving The Holidays

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in checklist, skmurphy

Surviving the holidays can be hard for entrepreneurs. If you visit family or see old friends few if any may understand what you are doing or going through. You may face a variety of suggestions that essentially treat you as unemployed–strictly speaking it’s an accurate assessment for many early stage bootstrappers–and possibly unemployable–again, strictly speaking, it’s often an accurate assessment.

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