The Uncanny Valley of Email Automation

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, 4 Finding your Niche, Consulting Business, Customer Development, Sales, skmurphy

Trust is built over repeated interactions between people. If your business requires long term relationships then you have to make sure that investments in automation are not deployed in a way that undercut your ability to have real conversations. Unfortunately, some uses of email automation tools are pushing sales conversations into the “Uncanny Valley” because they strive to simulate–but miss–a genuine personalized touch.

Q: How Do I Interest People In My Product?

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

Q: We have a product for bloggers but I am having a lot of trouble getting leads. I have met bloggers from popular media companies at events, I have cold called them, e-mailed them, and e-mailed to on-line groups that I am a member of. None of this has worked. How do I interest people in my product?

I have a couple of suggestions:

Lee Kuan Yew 1923-2015

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, Silicon Valley, skmurphy

Lee Kuan Yew (16 September 1923 – 23 March 2015) governed Singapore as its first Prime Minister from 1959 to 1990. He shepherded the transformation of a small island economy into a first world technology leader.

Here are some excerpts from “The Wit and Wisdom of Lee Kuan Yew” published in 2013, a collection of quotes curated from public sources. I have added some commentary after each related to entrepreneurship.

Simon Sinek: Put People First

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

Simon Sinek earned a BA degree in cultural anthropology from Brandeis University; he attended City University in London with the intention of becoming a barrister, but left law school to go into advertising. He was interviewed in August of 2014 by John Wall on the RoninMarketeer site in connection with the launch of his second book “Leaders Eat Last.” Here are some excerpts that highlight his insights about why leaders and advertisers should put people first.

Simon Sinek: Why Leaders Eat Last

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 5 Scaling Up Stage, skmurphy, Video

I remember first learning the principle “leaders eat last” from John K. Russell, an advisor on a summer Presbyterian workcamp in Westpoint Mississippi. He had been an officer in the Army and talked about how the officers had nicer silverware and napkins but it was the same food and they ate after the enlisted men. Simon Sinek uses that principle as a point of departure–leadership as a combination of higher status and service. His description of leadership reminded of Goethe’s maxim “A man is really alive only when he delights in the good-will of others.”

Here are some of my key take-aways from this talk:

Entrepreneurs Exploit Errors in Conventional Wisdom

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

Four excerpts on how entrepreneurs exploit errors in conventional wisdom. The first two are from a Feb-8-2001 public forum that was part of BusinessWeek’s “Captains of Industry” series, where Oracle Corp. CEO Lawrence J. Ellison sat down with Editor-in-Chief Stephen B. Shepard. The last two are from Peter Thiel’s CS183 class lecture on secrets.

A Repository For Dreams

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy

I really like this 2013 passage by Patrick Brady from his “Enter the Deuce Series” that addresses his desire to make his son a repository for dreams. It offers useful insights for both parents and entrepreneurs. I cut it from  my “If you are cycling through chaos keep pedaling” post but I liked it so much I wanted to blog about it separately and expand on how to apply it as a parent and/or an entrepreneur.

If You Are Cycling Through Chaos, Keep Pedaling

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

Patrick Brady writes at “Red Kite Prayer” on cycling and related topics. His blog took a very personal turn in February of 2013 with a post entitled “Any Normal Person.” In reading the series I was reminded of a remark Irwin Federman made to MMI employees when were using four day work weeks (actually five days work for four days pay): “We trust you to do the right thing. God has given you so much more responsibility as parents how can we not trust you.

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Quotes, skmurphy

Leonard Nimoy played Spock, the science officer on the starship Enterprise in the original 1960’s television series, the first six movies in the franchise that followed, and many of the Star Trek spinoff movies and series thereafter. Nimoy infused Spock’s character with a detached rationalism that resonated with many who follow science and engineering careers, including many entrepreneurs–although he was perhaps more of a role model for CTO than CEO.

Some Unsolicited Advice From David Cain

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

David Cain wrote a thought provoking, practical, and inspiring blog post today on “67 short pieces of advice you didn’t ask for.”  He acknowledges it’s a smorgasbord of unsolicited advice where you can take what you like and leave the rest for others:

“There’s no way for such an avalanche of unsolicited advice to come off as anything but preachy. But there’s also something appealing about the scattergun approach. Trying on a few dozen ideas in a few minutes will almost always leave you with something you can take to the bank, if you don’t get hung up on what doesn’t resonate. Here are sixty-seven short pieces of advice I either follow, or probably should. Take from it whatever rings true to you, and don’t take the whole thing too seriously. ”
David Cain’s intro to  “67 short pieces of advice you didn’t ask for.

Here are seven I took away, I have preserved his original numbering and added a few comments to particularize them for entrepreneurs:

Sean Murphy Joins IEEE-CNSV Board of Directors

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy, Testimonial

I was gratified to be elected to the board of directors for the IEEE Consultants’ Network of Silicon Valley as an at-large director and chair of the marketing committee for 2015. My specific focus will be on initiatives to increase awareness of the CNSV Project Bank and to foster programs–including special interest group meetings, clinics, and workshops–that encourage and assist members to upgrade their on-line presence on the CNSV website, on LinkedIn, their consulting practice website, and other forums and sites that are appropriate for their specific skills and experience. The board has a strategic offsite planned at the end of February to finalize plans for 2015 and I will blog about programs that may also be of interest to bootstrapping entrepreneurs as they announced.

Bootstrapper Breakfast: Real Recognizes Real

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in Events, skmurphy

I had a great conversation with a first timer after today’s Bootstrapper Breakfast in Sunnyvale. He was a serious entrepreneur who had been bootstrapping for two years and he said, “Real recognizes real, this is the first entrepreneur Meetup I’ve been to where I have been able to talk about my challenges and get practical advice. Also, the other entrepreneurs weren’t just pitching, they were trying to help.”

5 Ways To Start Customer Discovery Interviews

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, 3 Early Customer Stage, Customer Development, skmurphy, Workshop

Customer discovery interviews are essential to testing key B2B product hypotheses and understanding your target customers’ needs. Broadly there are five ways that you can reach out to potential customers to have a discovery conversation. All of them assume that you have a clear picture of who your target is and a few key questions that they will be willing and able to answer that will indicate they have a problem or need your solution may address.

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