How do you answer someone who asks “Should I be an entrepreneur?”
This post applies the moral of James Thurber‘s “The Fairly Intelligent Fly” that there is “no safety in numbers, or in anything else” to entrepreneurship.
When Cyberspace everts into the real world enabling communication and connection for non-computing related applications we call it IoT (the Internet of Things).
Fundamental questions allow you to explore new perspectives that can unlock new opportunities. Entrepreneurs can be unwilling to ask them–even of themselves–because a label that is commonly applied: stupid questions.
Dorothea Brande wrote “Becoming a Writer” in 1934. The book remains in print today, offering valuable tips for both writers and entrepreneurs.
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.”
Entrepreneurs need to invent their future: this requires a cycle of discovery, invention, growth, and renewal.
It’s important to understand who your customer is and what their critical business needs are. Helping customers is only possible once you have identified who you are truly serving (who will pay you) and which of their needs or problems you can help them address.
Painful cofounder experiences are more common than happy ones, and especially so when the parties don’t know each well to begin with and the business startup fails. Here is a real email exchange that explores some ways to minimize the risks.
Some thoughts on the half-fast entrepreneur with half-vast experience. Any resemblance to the author or the reader is purely coincidental.
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.
I have been working on my adjustments at the half for 2016 and thinking about lost arts and roads no longer taken. As much as we focus on the creation and adoption of new methods and new technologies it can be useful to consider capabilities different societies have abandoned.
Fred Brooks wrote “No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering” in 1987, 12 years after his “Mythical Man Month.” Both offer realistic perspectives on programming in particular and knowledge work in general.
In 2006 Eben Moglen gave the keynote address at the Plone Conference 2006 that traced the evolution of economies from steel to software to collaboration. Here are some key excerpts with commentary.
Getting better at customer discovery conversations requires preparation, practice, note taking, and follow-up. It can also be tremendously helpful if you can arrange for a partner who can observe, contribute, take notes, and de-brief with you. Even if you are a solo entrepreneur “trade interviews” with another entrepreneur: agree to help them with one of their interviews if they will help you with one of yours. Here is a recent exchange I had during an office hours edited for clarity.
One of the most common questions I hear in conversations with entrepreneurs at a Bootstrapper Breakfasts, in Office Hours calls, or with clients–and not infrequently from myself when comparing notes with peers–is, “Am I making a fool of myself?” Here are some questions you can use to clarify your situation when you are starting to feel like a fool.
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.
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.
It’s OK to solve your own problem first, to be the first customer. This at a minimum gets the idea out of your head and reduced to practice where it can be tested. The trick is to use this basic product to spark further discussions about the problem you solved, no your solution.