13 Tips For Getting Up Early and Arriving Early

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

I like getting up early and arriving early. But I find the hours late at night can unlock a lot of creativity so I often get up late unless I schedule something early. I also like working up to the last possible moment–what is it about the last few minutes before you have to leave that are so productive–that I arrive late. Starting from myself as someone with good intentions but poor follow through here are some observations and suggestions for getting up early and arriving early. 

Working in Silence

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

I can be very productive with a certain amount of background noise, I find it easier to write if there is music playing or I am in a moderately noisy coffee house where there are many low conversations going on in the background. But when I really need to think hard about something–typically a problem or a challenge I am facing–and give it all of my concentration and focus, then working in silence is best. 

Managing Change in an Organization: An Incomplete Resource List

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Customer Development, Design of Experiments, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

Some models I like for change management in organizations. Startup entrepreneurs frequently have to navigate the challenges managing change as a part of the sales process. Intrapreneurs should find this list useful as well. I welcome any suggestions for additions, refinements, or improvements.

Five Tips For Activating Your Network of Relationships

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

A startups social capital, the network of relationships that the founders have with friends, former co-workers and associates, and friends of friends represent a key resource for the team. It’s possible to activate this network to help you solve a variety of problems–e.g. finding a cofounder, finding early employees, finding contractors, finding early customers, finding investors, finding advisors–but you can normally only activate for one purpose at a time.

Hard Drive: Seven Practices I Used to Launch a Successful Startup

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

This article explores the specific experiences of an entrepreneur (who uses the pseudonym “Hard Drive,” a nickname he earned early in his career for his tenacity and decisiveness) and lessons learned bootstrapping a high-tech software as a service business in the social media space. His sustained efforts enabled him to raise $40,000 in angel funding, pull together a team of part-time contributors working for equity, establish three pilot customers and present to 11 venture capital firms. All of this was accomplished while the founder and CEO held regular, full-time employment at a Fortune 500 high tech firm.

Am I Making A Fool Of Myself?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, checklist, Rules of Thumb, skmurphy

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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