Gerald Weinberg wrote “Weinberg on Writing: the Fieldstone Method” to share many techniques he had perfected in writing more than 40 books and 400 technical articles. The method is very applicable to the exploration of a new market to find problem-solution fit and ultimately product-market fit.
P.T. Barnum wrote “The Art of Money Getting: The Golden Rules for Making Money” in 1880 at the age of 70 when he was already an accomplished businessman, politician, philanthropist, and author–after his hugely successful 1855 autobiography “The Life of P.T. Barnum: Written By Himself.” Barnum’s 21 golden rules for making money was a codification of his rules for business. Here are key excepts from the introduction and 20 chapters.
Derek Sivers promises that his slim book “Anything You Want” offers 40 lessons for a new kind of entrepreneur that summarizes 10 years of his entrepreneurial experience in a one hour read. It’s a practical book that’s well organized and easy to read. It took me you much longer than an hour to actually absorb the lessons he offers here–I found myself thinking about it for several days after I read it–if only because he offers profound insights not quick tips. But I knew after I read the first chapter where he summarized his key lessons learned it was a book I would be recommending to other entrepreneurs.
George 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 Murray
Since it’s Sunday I selected these 13 as the more spiritual ones. Those that are more directly related to entrepreneurship will show up on the blog in the coming months.
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.
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.
This is a webinar replay that was recorded on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 with Massimo Paolini, Miles Kehoe, Dorai Thodla, and Sean Murphy discussing Barry Moltz‘s “You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business.” They share how they personally found the courage to start their businesses and their desire to make “working for yourself” mean not only a better job but building equity.
Here is my summer reading list for entrepreneurs, 2015 edition. These six books cover a range of topics: sales and marketing, skills for innovation, cultivating expertise, giving and getting advice, pursuing mastery, and mapping the value chain for a new product.
Theodore Zeldin gave a series of six lectures on conversation that were collected in slim book called “Conversation: How Talk Can Change Our Lives.” I found it offered a number of insights on what is needed for a serious conversation. And since serious conversation is one of the primary tools for early market exploration and customer development; I have curated a list of nine excerpts I think entrepreneurs will find useful.
Some quotes from “Whispers Under Ground“, “Broken Homes“, and “Foxglove Summer.” They are the third, fourth, and fifth novels in Ben Aaronovitch’s “Rivers of London” series of novels about Peter Grant, a London Police Constable and apprentice magician.
I bought these three on the strength of his first book I had the feeling that Aaronovitch succumbed to “Game of Thrones” disease–not greyscale but “literary elephantiasis”–where he is afraid to bring anything to a conclusion because his series has become so popular–and profitable.
Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch infuses magic into the police procedural. The narrator is Peter Grant, a young London Metropolitan Police Constable newly apprenticed to a wizard. It’s a strangely compelling read that I could not put down until I finished it.
The novel is deeply rooted in the day to day realities of policing modern London and offers humor and a number of twists. Because the narrator is only an apprentice magician he understands some of the hows for performing magic but little of the why so he is conducting three investigations in parallel: the first is to understand not just the surface skills needed for magic but the real mechanisms for spooky action at a distance, the second is to find a way to resolve a dispute between a number of powerful river spirits, and the third is to uncover the real culprit behind a series of assaults and murders.
Michael Fern, Edith Harbaugh, Steve Hogan, and Sean Murphy discuss the Innovator’s DNA experimenting skill.
Tristan Kromer joins Steve Hogan and Sean Murphy to discuss networking as a key skill to develop to foster innovation.
Sarah Gray, Ethan Thorman, and Mark Cook join Steve Hogan and Sean Murphy to discuss lessons learned asking questions to foster innovation.
Panel sessions Feb 22, 2012 on Innovator’s DNA Skill #1 Associating. Terry Frazier of Cognovis, Steve Hogan of Tech-Rx, and Sean Murphy of SKMurphy. Part of the Book Club For Business Impact covered lessons learned applying a number of techniques for associating from chapter 2 of the “Innovator’s DNA” by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen.
Steve Hogan and Sean Murphy walk through a five part webinar series on “The Innovator’s DNA” by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen,and Clayton Christensen. Sean thinks it’s the best book on innovation and entrepreneurship for 2011 and useful for any team that is trying to innovate. Each webinar will be in a roundtable format and include first time entrepreneurs and experienced innovators discussing lessons learned applying the five key discovery skills described in the book.
I have started to reserve Sundays to write on spirituality, charity, and a higher moral purpose to our life as entrepreneurs. I was struck by the quote that Stephenson puts in Juanita’s mouth in Snow Crash and have concluded that he is performing a similar ministry in his science fiction writing. There is a sense of wonder and meditation on “some power like grace, like the Force, or Providence, or what-have-you, that had been at work in the world today” (from Zula’s reflection on the events of Reamde)
Q: Can you please take a look at this pitch. I have created it as a promo for investors and potential users.
Selling your offering to customers and selling your business to investors requires two different presentations They have fundamentally different questions they need answered before they “buy.”
Customers want to understand how your product will meet their needs. Investors want to know how much their investment will return and why: they may want to understand your customer presentation but only if you cannot offer strong evidence of traction: revenue, signups, etc…They are always interested in what you have learned and what you plan to learn: what hypothesis you need to test using their money.
In B2B markets early business customers may be interested in your investment pitch if they believe you will need investment to be viable but that is rarely the case in a consumer market.
The major components of an elevator pitch are traction, product, team, and social proof. And investors care about traction over everything else. A story without traction is a work of fiction.
Traction is a measure of your product’s engagement with its market, a.k.a. product/market fit. In order of importance, it is demonstrated through:
- pilot customers
- non-paying users
- verified hypotheses about customer problems.
And their rates of change.
Pitching Hacks is a slim 83 page book that packs a lot of insight. Many longer books have a good 4-5 page magazine article trapped inside, this book has already been boiled to the essentials. Definitely worth $20 if you are wiling to follow at least one of the many pieces of advice in the book.