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.
Texas Hold’Em offers some useful models for technology startups: pick the right table (competitors) and understand how your cards best combine with common cards (the status quo and adjacent possible)
Timothy Gallwey’s “Inner Game of Tennis” came out in 1974 and sparked a revolution in coaching and how athletes should approach improving their performance. There are several lessons that entrepreneurs can use in improving their personal performance and coaching others.
PATCA had a thought provoking dinner meeting tonight on “Time Management: An Hour Saved is an Hour to Earn Revenue.” Here is my recap.
Someone recently sent an E-mail began “At the risk of sounding like an infomercial…” to a list several thousand subscribers that I am a member of and I was moved to write down a list of phrases to think twice before saying (or writing).
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.
Christmas afternoon finds me reading “Courtesy.” It’s an essay by Ian MacLaren (pen name for Scottish author and theologian John Watson) that offers a recipe for keeping the spirit of Christmas alive in daily life. Here are some excerpts I found useful, the last finds me still clearly in the “before picture.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Joseph Mancuso‘s “How to Start, Finance, and Manage Your Own Small Business” contains an “Entrepreneur’s Quiz” a self-assessment for entrepreneurs. His explanation for the reasons behind some of the questions includes the following nuggets:
It’s easy to mis-assess who your real competition is. We worry the most about competition that cares deeply.
“You’re competing against people in a state of flow, people who are truly committed, people who care deeply about the outcome.”
Seth Godin in “Texting While Working“
The sad reality is that a business cannot be fun, educational, and profitable all at once. Pick boring or grinding over losing money. Christopher Morley observed, “There are three ingredients in the good life: learning, earning and yearning,” but you don’t have to get all three from your business. Without earning you don’t have a business.
- Honor what is valuable about the past and what is working now.
- Assess the current situation and system.
- Ascertain who is trusted and who people turn to for advice, and weave them into your network.
- Guide the change. Consider where global principles apply, and what can evolve locally.
- 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.
Press Release Leads to Local Coverage. Covers why, how and how often to help you “bring on the leads.”
What follows is the entry for August 15, 1851 by Henri Frederic Amiel in his Journal where he explores how to be ready, how to focus on the essential and how to fulfill your purpose. I have added some details on my own shortcomings: procrastination, disorganization, and a rock-paper-scissors approach to picking the next task to finish.
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.