Theresa and I attended the JPK Group Product Intelligence and Experience Summit in San Francisco, March 15-16, 2017. I gave a talk on “Extracting Insights from A Competitor’s Software Demo.” Here is my de-brief from the event.
We are mixing it up in 2017 with our email newsletter: we are going back to a monthly publication schedule but will dedicate one issue a quarter to a roundup of events and activities we have planned for the coming months and some key milestones our clients have achieved.
Let’s face it, finding customers can be quite a challenge. In this interactive workshop, we will cover a variety of proven marketing techniques for growing your business: attendees will select one or two that fit their style and develop a plan to implement them in their business in the next 90 days.
Elena Krasnoperova has been a regular attendee at the Silicon Valley Bootstrappers Breakfasts® for more than three years and I was delighted when she accepted my invitation to be a featured attendee and talk about her entrepreneurial journey. She plans to share some heuristics for learning faster than your competition and immediately applying your knowledge in ways that further improve your startup’s performance. Elena’s briefing will build on her experiences getting two PhD’s (the first is in Psychology from Stanford and was earned several years ago; she jokes that the second is much more recent: it’s in Entrepreneurship from the School of Hard Knocks), working as an executive at several high technology firms, and bootstrapping two startups in the “family tech” space: SimplyCircle and Calroo,
Elena Krasnoperova on “Learning Hacks for Bootstrappers”
Bootstrappers don’t have the financial resources or staff to established or venture-backed firms. A solo entrepreneur or a small founding team has no choice but to be generalists, a “Jack–or Jane–of All Trades.” Bootstrappers must learn quickly–at least enough to be dangerous–and immediately apply it to challenges facing their startup.
In this briefing, Elena Kransoperova will discuss “learning hacks” for bootstrappers. She will suggest ways to make time for learning when there is always something urgent you need to do. She will introduce her AAA (Acquire, Absorb, Apply) learning framework and offer learning hacks for each stage. She gave me a brief preview of coming attractions:
- Why is it important to be constantly learning – why it matters for your company, and for you personally
- The different learning styles – what’s yours? (as you know, I have a Stanford Ph.D. in Psychology, so I know a bit about this :-)
- My personal AAA framework for learning
- Acquire – how to acquire new knowledge / skills
- Absorb – how to internalize / process new knowledge / skills
- Apply – how to apply what you learn to your company
- “Gotchas” to avoid as you become a lean, mean learning machine
Elena Krasnoperova is a former executive at eBay, PayPal, Zong and oDesk, the founder of two bootstrapped companies in the “family tech” space: SimplyCircle and Calroo, and a Limited Partner at 500 Startups. She started her career at the Boston Consulting Group after earning a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. Elena is a lifelong learner of all things business and entrepreneurship and is passionate about helping parents be better parents. SimplyCircle.com is an online parent communication portal that helps schools, classrooms, and PTAs increase family engagement. Calroo is a new mobile app for busy families that combines a shared family calendar, to-do list, and messaging.
When, Where, and How to Register
- When: 7:30-9AM Friday, December 2, 2016
- Where: Hobees Restaurant, 4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
- Cost: $5 in advance / $10 at the door (Attendees order off regular menu are given separate checks)
- Register: https://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-SV/events/235030357/ (Limited seating, please register in advance.)
Update Fri-Dec-2: Elena Gave a Great Briefing
We had a lively conversation this morning and Elena graciously agreed to let us post her handout on the Bootstrapper Breakfast blog; see “Elena Krasnoperova’s Seven Learning Hacks for Bootstrappers.”
Related Blog Posts
- eMOBUS Acquisition: How Bootstrappers Close Deals
- Alastair Hood: Lessons Learned Bootstrapping Verdafero
- Ilya Semin on “Bootstrapping DataNyze to $1M/ARR”
- How to Keep Cash Flow Positive Fri-Mar-27 at Mtn View BB
- Matt Oscamou of Frontier Bites on the value of the Bootstrapper Breakfast
- Geva Solomonovich of Fraud Sciences at Fri-Nov-4 BB
Sean Murphy will moderate a panel of three experienced startup attorneys on November 29 for a Silicon Valley Cofounder Academy event at Hacker Dojo on “Cofounder Legal Challenges and Solutions.”
The Cofounder Academy is offering an innovative event at the Hacker Dojo on Mon-Oct-17 for cofounders to explore your fit with potential startups.
A panel of four entrepreneurs will address the practical considerations for evaluating and joining a startup as a co-founder or early employee at a Wednesday, August 17 event at the Silicon Valley Cofounder Academy.
PATCA had a thought provoking dinner meeting tonight on “Time Management: An Hour Saved is an Hour to Earn Revenue.” Here is my recap.
If you missed The Nitty Gritty of Setting Up Customer Discovery Meetings by David Telleen-Lawton at The Lean Startup Conference 2015, he shared the down and dirty details of setting up meetings for Customer Discovery. Having set hundreds of B2B and B2C discovery meetings over the years, Telleen-Lawton tells how to reach out and set these meetings.
This weekend I attended the Bay Area Maker Faire 2015. New this year was a Startup Pavilion with about 20 companies selling their products and looking for early adopters. Through out the show, I also found many startups looking for support for their kickstarter campaigns.
I will be giving a evening workshop May 14 at PATCA on marketing professional services online. This is an interactive session for professional consultants.
Attending the Great Demo Workshop 2015? The two day workshop is held at Domain Hotel which several past attendees have stayed at and enjoyed.
Domain Hotel 1085 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087 (408) 247-0800 – special discount rate for “Great Demo Group”
However the hotel does normally sell out. So here are a couple of our favorites hotels that are nearby listed in increasing distance from the from the workshop:
Best Western Santa Clara
4341 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95051 (408) 244-3366
Corporate Inn – Sunnyvale
805 E El Camino Real Sunnyvale, CA 94087
10741 North Wolfe Road, Cupertino, CA 95014 -(408) 777-8787
4241 Moorpark Ave San Jose, CA 95129
5415 Stevens Creek Boulevard, Santa Clara, CA 95050 (408) 446-9636
10050 S. De Anza Blvd. Cupertino, CA 95014 (408) 253-8900
I can still remember Steve Hogan’s first visit to a Bootstrapper Breakfast at Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View in early 2011. A recent transplant from Boston he had worked as an executive in technology startups and as a turnaround specialist for more than two decades. He had an infectious warmth that made you feel comfortable immediately and is stories contained the kinds of insights about what can go wrong that you only gain by being “in the room” as things are going sideways.
I had a great conversation with a first timer after today’s Bootstrapper Breakfast in Sunnyvale. He was a serious entrepreneur who had been bootstrapping for two years and he said, “Real recognizes real, this is the first entrepreneur Meetup I’ve been to where I have been able to talk about my challenges and get practical advice. Also, the other entrepreneurs weren’t just pitching, they were trying to help.”
Are you struggling with how to do B2B customer interviews?
Join us Thu-Jan-29-2015 in Sunnyvale for From Customer Interviews to Enterprise Sales Workshop
We did something different for Thanksgiving 2014: we held a Bootstrapper’s Potluck and hosted a dinner for a dozen people or so with our family. It was a chance for my sons to meet some real entrepreneurs and give folks who were new to the area or far from family a nice Thanksgiving. We supplied the turkey and some sides and folks brought many flavors of pie, miso soup, raw vegetables, wine, hors d’oeuvres, jambalaya, sausage and cheddar fondue, and rice. There was enough left over that everyone was able to leave with one or two meals (or a pie) for the weekend, such is the miracle of a potluck.
The following is a guest post by Max Murphy, a mechanical engineering student who is interested in the implications of 3D printing or positive manufacturing for mechanical design, its synergies with animation, and potential for fostering new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Max is an intern at DreamWorks and returns to his sophomore year in college this fall.
3D Printing: Past, Present, and Future
I attended a great talk by Chris Yonge on “3D Printing: Past, Present, and Future” on Monday August 18 at Sandbox Suites in Sunnyvale that was sponsored by the Silicon Valley Startup: Idea to IPO group. It was a fantastic presentation that communicated a practical understanding of several different types of 3D printing processes with videos that highlighted the theory of operation for each type of printer. Chris also offered a list of useful open source tools for mechanical design, animation, and 3D printing that is available at http://www.studiocruz.com/downloads/studio-cruz-open-source-guide-20130115.pdf
Here is Chris’ bio from the talk (links added):
Chris Yonge is qualified as an architect and a product designer who founded StudioCruz. He has been involved in 3D design and production for twenty years. He holds a number of published patents, the latest being for VariCruz a mechanically-linked continuously variable gear, and uses 3D printing in metal and plastics as part of the development process. Chris is a lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz School of Engineering.
Unfortunately a recording was not made of the talk but here are two others he has done that are quite good.
3D Printing Is Fostering Four Quiet Revolutions
Yonge outlines “four quiet revolutions” that 3D printing or positive manufacturing will likely bring about:
- How we make: Machine shop equipment was traditionally subtractive: grinding, cutting, drilling based on linear or rotary motion.
- How we design: Three-dimensional printing is enabling us to go from a three-dimensional model in my mind to recording it and communicating and editing it on a computer and then making it.
- How we communicate: One of the oldest cave drawings known condenses three dimensions plus time (and related emotions) into a flat two dimensional drawing. Our ability to communicate was unchanged for 149 centuries until motion pictures added time, 3D computer models allowed for a third dimension, and now we can make what we visualize with 3D printing.
- How we finance: Open source recipes are going unlock a tremendous amount of creativity. Kickstarter models will enable many new products and companies to be launched via crowdsourcing.
Animation & 3D Printing Add New Dimensions to Creativity
A video with synchronized slides of one his Santa Cruz Engineering lectures is available at
Chris Yonge has a YouTube Channel with more than 50 videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/chrisyonge/videos
Related Blog Posts
- Paul Spaan Offers 3D Printing Show and Tell at Fri-May-24 Bootstrapper Breakfast
- Audio from Paul Spaan’s Briefing on 3D Printing
- 3D Printing, a quick guide to how to get started
- Pictures From Inside 3D Printing Conference
Ilya Semin, founder of Datanyze, joins us at the Palo Alto Bootstrapper Breakfast 7:30am on Fri-Sep-5-2014 at Hobees in Palo Alto. Ilya will share what he learned bootstrapping Datanyze to $1M+ ARR and 9 employees. DataNyze provides competitive intelligence for Web analytics, Widgets, CDN, DNS, and related firms. It can answer questions like “Who are my competitor’s biggest customers?” and “Which customers are evaluating one of my competitors?”
Where: Hobees, 4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA
When: 7:30am to 9am Friday, September 5, 2014
Cost: is $5 in advance and $10 at the door plus the cost of your breakfast, tax, and tip.
Limited Seating please register in advance.
More On Ilya Semin and DataNyze
- August 26, 2014 John Koetsier in VentureBeat: “Google of Sales and Marketing Raises $2M”
Knowing who uses your competitors’ products can be a huge competitive advantage. Knowing when potential customers start a trial of your competitor’s product could be a lifesaver. Datanyze trawls the web for scraps and pieces of code that reveal what software-as-a-service products companies are using on their website, announced today that it has raised a $2 million seed round from investors such as IDG Ventures, Google Ventures, and Mark Cuban. And that it’s been growing at the astonishing rate of 25 percent per month all this year.
- January 20, 2014 John Koetsier profiles Datanyze for VentureBeat in “This Startup Tells You When Companies Try Your Competitor’s Software”
A tiny San Mateo startup that has taken no angel money, no venture capital, and no outside funding of any kind is growing at the torrid rate of 25 percent per month and luring away key employees from hot growing companies like KISSmetrics.
- Ilya Semin on the Value of the Great Demo Workshop
I gave a briefing to the San Bruno Rotary on Thought Leadership on Aug-6-2014. Here is the audio for the core of the talk (I have cut the introduction and about ten minutes of Q&A)
Or download from http://traffic.libsyn.com/skmurphy/ThoughtLeadership140806c.mp3
Here is my handout from the talk.