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. 

IVALA Joins Forces With VIN

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3D Model, Acquisition, Clients in the News, skmurphy

I am delighted that Taimur Alavi and the team at IVALA are joining forces with  VIN the Veterinary Information Network. They have bootstrapped a significant amount of progress and I think VIN will provide the resources to accelerate not only the development of innovative applications and their reputation for excellence will encourage the spread of IVALA’s technology into veterinary practice.

More details from today’s announcement:

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.

Key Questions to Answer Before Adding A Feature to Niche Software

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in checklist, skmurphy

A niche software supplier provides expertise and functionality that individual firms in an industry would find more expensive to develop on their own. Managing the feature content and evolution of the feature set requires that a reasonable fraction (for example at least 30-40%) of the customer base needs the feature so that they feel they are getting their money’s worth out of a monthly or annual software subscription. Here is a checklist that one of our customers, DataCare, uses to evaluate new feature requests.

Choosing the Right Targets and Metrics

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in 3 Early Customer Stage, 5 Scaling Up Stage, Design of Experiments, skmurphy

The targets that founders set for a startup, and the metrics they choose to measure their progress toward these targets, are key decisions in the definition of the business. The wrong targets–in particular selecting only targets that are easily achievable–will not only postpone difficult choices that will bring clarity but may doom a team from the beginning if they don’t adjust and aim for outcomes that create a sustainable and growing business.

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.

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