My interview with Gabriel Weinberg has inspired a number of entrepreneurs to contact us about getting our help with their early customer acquisition issues.
I thought I would outline briefly how we help them get to know us better.
We work one or more of your issues with you in a phone call that lasts up to an hour. To make the time productive for everyone we ask that you either
- Answer our “First Seven Questions” with at least one or two sentence answers
- Fill out the Startup Maturity Checklist
- Send in a copy of your latest customer facing presentation and a list of the hypotheses you are testing
- Outline your current situation and one or two challenges you would like to discuss, providing enough context to enable a focused conversation.
I have found that entrepreneurs who can’t take the time to prepare to make the conversation focused won’t get much out of the conversation so it tends to be waste of time for everyone. Of course we will answer any questions that we can about our approach and how we might be able to support your team.
We have a global practice, with about half to two-thirds of our clients in Silicon Valley at any one time. We are comfortable with skype voice/chat and wikis as a way of managing distance collaboration.
We do sign NDA’s but not for the get acquainted meeting, if we ask you a question that you feel is proprietary just ask us to re-phrase it. We will normally be asking questions that we think a prospect will have.
We work almost exclusively with bootstrappers or funded firms in turnaround and understand the need to be cost effective. We do not bill like a law firm in six minute increments and prefer fixed price models because you can budget for them against your cash flow, it also encourages you to pick up the phone or send an e-mail or text message about an issue that we can help you mitigate or manage instead of trying to play catch up three or six weeks later.
We do have some advisory relationships that are based on equity but they have been the result of a longer term association (typically at least six months). We also do revenue share arrangements but they tend to be more complex and less appropriate for early project work together.
We have a global practice but very rarely travel outside of Silicon Valley. It allows us to be highly available and support remote folks using a variety communication tools. We are up early, can stay up late, and will work on Saturdays and an occasional Sunday afternoon as the need arises.
If you would like to propose a specific project or set of issues you would assistance with we are happy to focus our initial conversation and initial project work on those. Don’t assume that there is just one more thing you need to do that will make all of the difference: it’s more than likely going to require a combination of things applied diligently for months. After we have had a chance to de-brief on our initial conversation we can also suggest a project or two that we believe will target a critical need.
CA Proposition 65 Health Warning: it’s a long damn interview; if your sleep onset latency is less than 20 you are advised to read it lying down. Efforts to offer the audio as a podcast or CD had to be abandoned when we could not obtain liability insurance for listeners who were driving or operating heaving computing machinery. If a huge wall of text triggers your tl; dr glands consider one of these five minute videos instead: