Ten Aphorisms For Entrepreneurs By James Geary

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

GearyGuideCoverJames Geary has curated one of the best collections of aphorisms that I have–and I have read dozens: “Geary’s Guide to the World’s Great Aphorists.” Geary has “Five Laws Of The Aphorism,” they are:

1. It Must Be Brief;
2. It Must Be Personal;
3. It Must Be Definitive;
4. It Must Be Philosophical;
5. It Must Have a Twist.

In addition to collecting the aphorisms of other writers he also has a collection of his own. I have selected ten and added some brief commentary about their applicability to entrepreneurship.

E-Book Summary For Lean Startup

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Books, skmurphy

Summer is almost over. If you have been putting off reading “The Lean Startup”  I have a time saving suggestion. If you have an hour and want to capture the gist I can recommend a good e-book summary for Lean Startup. If you have another hour I suggest a good summary for Four Steps.

Q: How Can I Calculate The Exit Value Of My Idea?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, skmurphy

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.

Beston Jack Abrams on Aphorisms

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

Beston Jack Abrams has self-published 7 volumes of “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist” between 2011 and 2014. These slim volumes each contain 128  aphorisms, one on the opening page and three per page for another 39 pages: are a revelation and an inspiration. Volume 7 ends with this paragraph, leading me to conclude there is more to come:

“I am 87 and in a few more years, I will probably exhaust all thoughts that are intelligible and acts that are of value hence, at that point death becomes less a tragedy than an act of good housekeeping.”
Beston Jack Abrams in “Abramisms: Lines of the Ancient Aphorist Volume 7 (2014)”

Stiff by Mary Roach

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Books, skmurphy

StiffCoverMary Roach’s Stiff offers a tour of the afterlife: she answers the question what happens to our bodies after we die. She explores funeral homes, autopsies, medical training, medical research, crash testing, body armor testing, cremation, brain death, natural decomposition, and organ transplants among other topics.

Is is meticulously researched. Roach visits all manner of medical, research, and funeral facilities in addition to quoting from medical texts ranging back more than two millennia.

Roach advocates for both organ donation and donating your body for medical research arguing that morticians and the natural process of decay will treat your cadaver no less roughly and provide no benefit to anyone else.

She brings a sense of humor and a willingness to ask the most candid questions to everyone she encounters, and does not shy away from observing every aspect of a medical procedure, test, or burial preparation process that her hosts would allow her to. Here is an example from a visit to workshop where plastic surgeons practice their techniques on disembodied cadaver heads.

Gary Smith on Bebop As a Model For Innovation

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Community of Practice, EDA, skmurphy

I cannot remember what reference led me to read “Gunfire at Sea” by Elting Morrison but I thought it captured some fundamental truths about innovation so well I bought several copies of “Men, Machines, and Modern Times” by Elting Morrison and started sharing them with friends in 2005. I had a conversation with Gary Smith about the book sometime that year and he said he had written a thesis at the Naval Academy on the subject of bebop as a model for innovation. I pestered him for several months afterward to dig it up because from his description I really wanted to read it.

Q: Should I Tap My 401K To Bootstrap?

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, Books, skmurphy

Q: Should I tap my 401K to bootstrap my startup? I had a conversation with the CEO of another firm and he and his partners did this to bootstrap. They started a C corporation and set up a corporate retirement account, the partners then rolled existing retirement accounts into the corporate plan and invested the money in the company’s stock. I did a little research and found these articles:

Good and Bad Reasons to Pivot

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

Much has been written about a startup making a pivot in direction after Eric Ries first coined the term
in a 2009 blog post “Pivot don’t Jump to a New Vision.” The word pivot has attracted almost as much wordplay as the word lean.  What follows is a short list of good and bad reasons to pivot.

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.

Larry Smith: Fail Fast, Fail Often, and Die

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, Design of Experiments, skmurphy, Video

Larry Smith is an Economics Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo who writes and lectures on Entrepreneurship, innovation, and Technology markets. What follows is part of a conversation he had with Alan Quarry in the AQ’s Blog & Grill series of interviews with entrepreneurs. His key point, that he makes in a somewhat cranky fashion, is that technology entrepreneurship is a complex undertaking that requires patience, careful analysis, and planning.

Resources for Student Entrepreneur Organizations

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, skmurphy, Tools for Startups

Andre Nieto Porras: Tree Of IdeasWith the 2016  school year getting ready to start in the next six to eight weeks at most colleges and universities I have had several conversations with student entrepreneur organizations about how I might be able to help them.

I have developed content and given talks and webinars over the last five years that may provide student entrepreneurs help to get oriented to many of the basics of customer development, innovation, and new market exploration. 

Webinar Replay: You Need to Be a Little Crazy

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, Books, skmurphy, Video

This is a webinar replay that was recorded on Wednesday, June 8, 2011 with Massimo Paolini, Miles Kehoe, Dorai Thodla, and Sean Murphy discussing Barry Moltz‘s “You Need to Be a Little Crazy: The Truth about Starting and Growing Your Business.” They share how they personally found the courage to start their businesses and their desire to make “working for yourself” mean not only a better job but building equity.

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