Michael Ellsberg: Four Reasons Why Passive Income Is a Destructive Fantasy

I make a distinction between wanting to move beyond running a services business where you bill by the hour to either selling results or selling a product and entrepreneurs attracted to the passive income fantasies of the "Four Hour Work Week." When an entrepreneur tells me that the "Four Hour [...]

By | 2014-12-15T12:52:59+00:00 July 30th, 2014|1 Idea Stage, 2 Open for Business Stage, skmurphy|1 Comment

Ten Mistakes Early Stage Bootstrappers Often Make

In the last eight years  I have moderated several hundred Bootstrappers Breakfasts. After doing a hundred or so and working with many clients who were bootstrapping I came up with a checklist for common mistakes bootstrappers and bootstrapping teams make in their first year or so. […]

Startup Stages: Survive, Explore, Focus, Refine, Grow

Survive first. Explore second. Build third. Survive: It’s good to fail small and fail fast. But also make sure to survive the failure. It’s no good to fail if you can’t get up again. Explore: True exploration feels like zero progress. Everyone around you will tell you to focus. To stop [...]

Brad Pierce: Preserve Context in Writing to Manage Interruptions

Manage interruptions by writing down enough context to continue later: organized notes must detail status and next steps. Brad Pierce:  Preserve  Context in Writing to Manage Interruptions On longer time scales, when you must drop something for a while, it’s important, before doing so, to leave behind enough context for [...]

By | 2014-09-17T20:18:18+00:00 July 24th, 2014|Rules of Thumb, skmurphy|2 Comments

Tools for Buzzword Compliant Business Models

A collection of humorous tools that generate buzzword compliant business models. Web Economy Bullshit Generators First there was Dack Ragus' (@dack) "Web Economy Bullshit Generator." He started with sketches ("Kinda like Da Vinci's sketchbook, except for bullshit"): "I made this massive list of potential bullshit terms while sitting on Miami Beach [...]

By | 2017-12-06T23:22:42+00:00 July 23rd, 2014|1 Idea Stage, skmurphy, Tools for Startups|0 Comments

Tristan Kromer: You Can Tell a Good Advisor by Their Questions

Three interesting answers from Tristan Kromer's interview with the folks at Startup Commons Startup Commons: What's the best way to get started? Tristan Kromer:  Find someone you really want to help. Someone in pain. That's your vision. Helping someone and solving a real problem. Find team members with complementary skill sets [...]

By | 2015-01-14T21:27:25+00:00 July 21st, 2014|Customer Development, Lean Startup, skmurphy|4 Comments

Q: We Already Have a Prototype, Can We Still Do Customer Development?

Product-market fit is not a ratchet: competitive response, new entrants, changes in technology and customer preference require ongoing customer development. You will need to continue to do customer development–and customer discovery for that matter–even after you have a first prototype, an MVP, early customers, and an established niche. Markets and [...]

John Gardner: Leaders Detect and Act on the Weak Signals of the Future

Some excerpts with commentary from "On Leadership"  by John W. Gardner.  Gardner outlines how leaders detect and act on weak signals of the future by looking beyond the horizon and planing for renewal. There is such a thing as the "visible future." The seedlings of [future] life are sprouting all around us [...]

By | 2016-07-23T14:18:37+00:00 July 18th, 2014|1 Idea Stage, 5 Scaling Up Stage, checklist, skmurphy|5 Comments

Founder Story: Steve DiBartolomeo of Artwork Conversion Software

Steve DiBartolomeo is co-founder of Artwork Conversion Software, Inc., an EDA software firm headquartered  in Santa Cruz CA with a development office in Manhattan Beach, CA. Founded in 1989, the company develops CAD translation programs, CAD viewers, plotting software and IC packaging software.  Artwork has over 5000 customers worldwide including [...]

By | 2015-01-14T22:22:25+00:00 July 16th, 2014|EDA, First Office, Founder Story, skmurphy|0 Comments

Discovery Kanban Allows Firms to Balance Delivery and Discovery

I believe that Patrick Steyaert's Discovery Kanban offers a critical perspective on how large organizations can foster the proliferation of lean innovation methods beyond isolated spike efforts or innovation colonies. I think Patrick Steyaert has come up with an approach that builds on what we have learned from customer development and [...]

By | 2014-10-06T13:56:29+00:00 July 14th, 2014|5 Scaling Up Stage, Design of Experiments, Video|2 Comments

A Simple Checklist for Introducing a Collaboration Application

We work with several teams who have launched or are launching an application that makes a team or group more productive.  Here are a couple of suggestions for things to consider. Be compatible with the status quo if at all possible Collaboration or workflow applications that require at least two [...]