Author Archive

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.

The Unreasonable Entrepreneur

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

Unreasonable entrepreneur is almost redundant. By definition entrepreneurs want to change the status quo, offering better products and services as substitutes for established and successful ones. This often requires an unreasonable amount of effort and persistence, sometimes to the point of stubbornness, in the face of not only opposition but also a concentrated lack of interest. The lukewarm response initially promises adoption until we realize it was the easiest way to get us to shut up. The challenge is not to become stubborn and parochial but to continue appreciate the realities of your prospect’s situation.

George Murray’s Glimpse Offers a Wealth of Aphorisms

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Books, Quotes

GlimpseCoverGeorge Murray offers a wealth of aphorisms in “Glimpse.” 409 to be exact. You will be seeing a number of them sprinkled throughout my blog posts and “Quotes for Entrepreneurs” roundups for the next few months.

It’s a fantastic collection, and definitely worth reading if you enjoy aphorisms. James Geary reviewed Glimpse when it came out in 2011 and observed:

“The deep strangeness of the images and juxtapositions takes a while to sink in, mostly because of Murray’s deadpan delivery. Reading his aphorisms is like talking on a phone with a slight delay; you understand what’s been said a beat or so after it has been spoken. And that split-second delay, filled with thoughts and speculation, is where the wonder lies, of aphorisms in general and these aphorisms in particular. The charm of Glimpse is that so many of the aphorisms in it make you do a double take.”
James Geary in Aphorisms by George Muray

Since it’s Sunday I selected these 13 as the more spiritual ones, those more directly related to entrepreneurship will show up elsewhere on the blog in the coming weeks and months.

Newsletter: Customer Discovery Interviews

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

SKMurphy Newsletter
for October 2015

This blog post summarizes our October newsletter, you can subscribe to the monthly SKMurphy newsletter using the form at the right

Customer Interviews

Customer Discovery interviews are key to discovering whether or not a market exists for your product or service and the skills and questions you hone in the early market will continue to be refined as you scale. This month we focus on how to start them, techniques for cultivating your curiosity so that you learn as much as possible, and some suggestions for how to review and organize your findings on an ongoing basis.

Lessons Learned From 9 Years Of Blogging

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Blogging, skmurphy

I started this blog in October of 2006–3 years after incorporating SKMurphy, Inc. in August of 2003–so this month represents the start of my tenth year of blogging. In the last nine years I have published 1552 posts, which total 871,535 words of writing or the rough equivalent of a dozen novels.  What follows are some lessons learned from 9 years of blogging.

Quotes For Entrepreneurs–October 2015

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes

You can follow @skmurphy to get these quotes for entrepreneurs hot off the mojo wire or wait until they are collected in a blog post at the end of each month. Enter your E-mail address if you would like have new blog posts sent to you.

This month features a flurry of quotes from John D. Cook (@JohnDCook) gleaned from his tweet stream over the last two years. I have been a fan of his blog (“The Endeavor”)  for many years but somehow had overlooked the many platinum nuggets of insight he shared on twitter.

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.

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