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 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.

Scaling Up To a High Reliability Organization

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

Esther Derby’s Six Rules for Change

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

Esther Derby (@estherderby) presented “Six Rules for Change” at LeanWX NYC 2015 “The Design of Purposeful Work”

  1. Congruence.
  2. Honor what is valuable about the past and what is working now.
  3. Assess the current situation and system.
  4. Ascertain who is trusted and who people turn to for advice, and weave them into your network.
  5. Guide the change. Consider where global principles apply, and what can evolve locally.
  6. Design experiments in collaboration with people who are involved in the change.

These same rules are essential to making a complex sale. What follows are my notes on her talk.

3d Printing IP Issues

Written by Max Murphy. Posted in 3D Model, Legal Issues, Rules of Thumb

One good way to make predictions about the future of a new technology is to examine the paths that similar technologies have taken historically and use them to draw likely trajectories. As Mark Twain observed, “History may not repeat itself but it does rhyme.” New technologies solve existing problems in in new ways, obsoleting existing solutions for the same needs. Despite some of the sensationalism a closer examination of intellectual property challenges faced by earlier technologies shows that they rhyme with 3D printing IP issues. These challenges offer a roadmap for the likely evolution of 3D printing–and related technologies like 3D scanning and 3D modeling.

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