Month: October 2011

Quotes For Entrepreneurs–October 2011

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A Professional Always Specializes

I watched the Grey Fox recently as was struck by two pieces of dialog.   Richard Farnsworth plays Bill Miner, “the Grey Fox” a train robber and “gentleman bandit.” When asked by another ex-convict to take up robbing banks instead of robbing trains he answers: Bill Miner: “A professional always specializes.” I first heard this …

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Planning for 2012: We Are Interested In Your Insights and Suggestions

We are starting our planning process for 2012 even as we scramble to finish everything still on the cooker for 2011.  We have meetings scheduled with our partners to help us assess what we have learned from 2011 and arrive at a working consensus for 2011-13. I welcome any suggestions for: How to improve this …

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Founder Story: Eric Deal, Cyclic Design

This originally appeared in EETimes on-line as “Eric Deal bounces back from a startup shutdown to establish Cyclic Design” on Dec-20-2010. I met Eric Deal, president of Cyclic Design, through the IEEE Consulting Network of Silicon Valley and was impressed by his energy and enthusiasm in bouncing back from one failed startup to begin a …

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Dave Stubenvoll Guest for “Origin & Evolution of New Business” Oct-26-2011

Our “Book Club For Business Impact” promises actionable insights for entrepreneurs and change agents, drawn from the panelist’s experience and informed by the book’s content. Dave Stubenvoll, CEO of Wowza Media, joins the discussion of Amar Bhide‘s “Origin and Evolution of New Business” this Wednesday October 26 at Noon PDT.  Click  http://skmbhide111026.eventbrite.com/?discount=WowzaMedia to attend at …

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Founder Story: Ghislain Kaiser, Docea Power

This interview originally ran Nov-4-2010 at “Docea Power Successfully Bootstraps As a New EDA Player.” I had a chance to catch up with Ghislain Kaiser, CEO of Docea Power, a promising new startup based in France. Their product, Aceplorer, has been gaining increasing acceptance in the power and thermal management space. Ghislain was kind enough …

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Business Model Representations

In a blog post last October entitled “Entrepreneurship as a Science – The Business Model/Customer Development Stack” Steve Blank suggested Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur defined a business model as how an organization creates, delivers, and captures value. More importantly they showed how any company’s business model could be defined in 9 boxes. It’s an …

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What Happens When The “Come As You Are Party” is Over

“Nobody makes a video game about the quartermaster division, but armies win and lose on logistics and supply, and politics and diplomacy, and the work people do on the homefront.” Mike O’Malley in “History-ness and Video Games“ The first stage of a bootstrapped startup is a “come as you are” party. The founders are living …

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Expiration Dates: Deadlines and Commitments

Bootstrappers need to make commitments and meet deadlines to achieve their cash flow objectives. Deadlines and commitments are inextricably linked. Be explicit up front about how long offer is good or how long a customer needs to wait for delivery. Get them to be explicit on payment terms.

notebook to Organizing Your Experiment Log

Tips for B2B Customer Development Interviews

This post on customer development interviews is one of my most popular. If you would like help preparing for customer development interviews or reviewing results from recent interviews please sign up for a no cost no obligation office hours session and I will be happy to help you rehearse or de-brief. Here are my lessons learned from taking …

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Malcolm Gladwell Suggests Appreciative Inquiry Into Inner-City Schools

From a Time Magazine December 2009 interview with Malcolm Gladwell I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that in inner-city schools, the thing they do best is sports. They do really, really well in sports. It’s not correct to say these schools are dysfunctional; they’re highly functional in certain areas. So I’ve always wondered about …

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Appreciative Inquiry Mind Set Essential to Customer Discovery

Appreciative Inquiry is a mind set that is essential in customer discovery. It encourages you to look for what’s working in an potential customer’s organization and “work with the grain of the wood.” It enables you to build on demonstrated strengths and accomplishments in framing your solution to a critical business problem.

Customer Development Conversations With Busy Prospects

Question from an entrepreneur in the midst of customer discovery for a new product. Q: We are preparing to launch our first product in a few months. Next week there is a conference sponsored by a professional society that represents one of our potential target markets.  We have already done about a dozen customer discovery …

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Learning From Netflix: Lenny Greenberg’s Response

Lenny Greenberg, Founder and CTO of Assistyx, e-mailed me a long and thoughtful response to my “Learning from Netflix” post. In fact it was is good that I am publishing it with his permission. There are a lot of lessons we can learn from this: It was smart for Netflix to look at their streaming …

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It’s the Picture on the Box that Sells the LEGO Set

A common  complaint an entrepreneur voices when they first try to explain why a prospect should pay for their product: “It’s difficult expressing the value proposition in just a few words because there are so many different ways to use it.” Many an entrepreneur with a new product Here are some things to try to …

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Selling to a Business Requires Conversations that Build Trust

I am always interested in having a conversation with a prospect. If you are hoping to infer needs from seeing them press a menu button with an icon or one or two words on it I think that’s a poor substitute for a conversation. I know that people cannot always predict what they need or …

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Learning From Netflix’s 2011 Pricing Strategy Mistakes

“Never mistake a clear view for a short distance.” Paul Saffo “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Roy Amara Netflix increased prices by 60% for streaming media and DVD combinations and threatened to split their website into two halves–DVD and …

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