Here is a list of the most popular SKMurphy blog posts Oct-2006 through Sep-2017 based on page view counts from Google analytics data. I have broken out the Lean Startup Conference roundups for clarity.
Most Popular SKMurphy Blog Posts
From Oct-2006 Through Sep-2017
- Tips for B2B Customer Development Interviews
Practical tips for how to prepare for and conduct customer development interviews, including key questions and effective follow up techniques. Originally drafted in October 2011 this post has been updated more than a dozen times to include links to other posts on customer interviews, highlighting additional tips that I thought were most useful. (Note: Jan-30-2020 this post was superseded by “40 Tips for B2B Customer Development Interviews”).
- 21 Great Questions For Developing New Products
Taken from “Breakthrough Thinking From Inside the Box” by Kevin Coyne, Patricia Gorman Clifford, and Renee Dye in the December 2007 Harvard Business Review. You can actually skip the article if you are looking for additional insights or elaborations on these very useful questions, it’s an attack on the brainstorming process as practiced by large corporations and not relevant for startups.
- Kierkegaard on the Art of Helping Others
An excerpt from Soren Kierkegaard writing on helping others to understand. The key is to start from a deep understanding of the other person’s world view. This echoes Steven Covey’s fifth habit: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
- The Difference Between a Hypothesis and an Assumption
A hypothesis is what is being tested explicitly by an experiment. An assumption is tested implicitly. By making your assumptions as well as your hypotheses explicit you increase the clarity of your approach and the chance for learning.
- Saras Sarasvathy’s Effectual Reasoning Model for Entrepreneurs
An exploration of Saras Sarasvathy’s Effectual Reasoning Model from her 2001 paper “What Makes Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurial” This 2001 paper offers another perspective on bootstrapping entrepreneurship that is independently derived and predates “Four Steps to the Epiphany (2003)”, “Blue Ocean Strategy(2005)”, and the “Sales Learning Curve (2004).” While all four are clearly addressing different aspects of the same core paradigm that takes a scientific or hypothesis driven approach to new products and new markets, I find Sarasvathy’s offers the best perspective.
- Pretotyping Techniques for Building the Right Product
Alberto Savoia defines pretotyping as techniques to determine that you are “building the right product before you invest in building your product right.” His book “Pretotype It” (Second Edition available as a Free PDF) lists a set of seven techniques for pretotyping on pages 39-40. This post analyzes and elaborates on the techniques from the book and offers five additional ones that I think should be included.
- Quotes on Operational Excellence
I collect quotes for entrepreneurs, here is an early set that focused on operational excellence. Later I transitioned to tweeting them more or less daily publishing a set once a month
- Five Things to Remember When Selling a New Product
As you are developing–and more importantly refining your presentation in response to feedback–here are five things to remember when selling a new product.
- We Don’t Encourage Individuals to Form a Startup
Real entrepreneurs don’t need encouragement to form a startup–although they may benefit from outside perspectives on their plans–and encouraging non-entrepreneurs does them a disservice.
- If Money Doesn’t Change Hands You Cannot Call a User a Customer
An excerpt from my September interview with Gabriel Weinberg. This one focuses on why payment and testimonials are so important to differentiate users from actual customers. Parts of the full interview were included in the “Sales” chapter of Weinberg’s “Traction” book.
- Steve Blank on the Customer Development Process For Startups (2008) I was an early fan of Steve Blank’s customer development model. This post was written when “Four Steps to the Epiphany” was only available on Cafe Press and documents the early set of principles he espoused.
- Better is the Enemy of Good Enough
Perfectionists get this wrong, siding with “Better.” Entrepreneurs who prosper, for the most part, side with “Good Enough” and keep improving. Examples from Chris Crawford’s successes and failures.
- Drucker on Profit and the Purpose of a Business
A selection of quotes from Chapter 6 “What is a Business” in “Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, and Practices” by Peter Drucker address business purpose.
- Quotes on Foresight and Understanding the Future
As entrepreneurs we are concerned with anticipating the future as much as creating it. Here are sixteen quotes on foresight and understanding the future.
- 3D Printing Tradeoffs and Optimization
Optimizing the manufacture of an object requires an understanding of design options, mechanical and physical principles and 3D printing tradeoffs. A guest post by Max Murphy.
- Interview with Rajeev Madhavan, CEO of Magma Design Automation
Rajeev Madhavan has founded three companies, ultimately taking Magma Design Automation public. We cover his background and lessons learned as a successful serial entrepreneur.
- Two Speeches by CEO’s I Still Remember
One of the most compelling CEO speeches I have ever heard was by John Morgridge at Cisco in early 1994: he put us “in the box” with him for shared success. An earlier speech by Irwin Federman at MMI did the same, warning us, “I hope that you all act on this, because if you don’t, fewer of you will be listening to someone else next year at this time.”
- Three Great Books on Generating Innovative Business Ideas
Recaps “The Innovator’s DNA” by Clayton Christensen, “Customer Visits” by Edward McQuarrie , “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” by Peter Drucker.
- Peter Drucker on Why Entrepreneurs Reject Unexpected Success
Peter Drucker outlines four entrepreneurial pitfalls, starting with rejection of a new product’s success in a market that is different than was expected.
- Burn Your Boats Not Your Bridges
Burn your boats but not your bridges: commit to your startup but don’t damage relationships or block yourself from building on prior shared successes.
- Entrepreneurial Motivation
How to sustain entrepreneurial motivation: Tim O’Reilly suggests 3 guides: work what matters to you, create more value than you capture, take the long view.
- Benefits of Saas Business Model (2007)
Early insights on the benefits of a SaaS business model: higher valuations due to recurring revenue, faster sales cycles, easier trials, and hard to pirate.
- A Beta Customer is Not a Tester or a User But an Early Customer
“Beta customer” blurs beta tester, beta user, and early customer. If you are selling to businesses treat beta users as early customers not beta testers.
- Jeff Bezos on Strategic Planning (2008)
Excerpts that I found thought provoking and useful from an interview with Jeff Bezos in the October 20017 Harvard Business Review.
- Founder Story: Dave Stubenvoll of Wowza Media Systems
Francis Adanza interviews Dave Stubenvoll, a serial entrepreneur/intrapreneur who has founded or been an early employee in five successful startups. His most recent startup is Wowza Media Systems.
Lean Startup Roundups
- 2010 Startup Lessons Learned Conference Coverage Roundup
- 2011 Startup Lessons Learned Conference Coverage Roundup
- 2012 Lean Startup Conference Coverage Roundup
- 2013 Lean Startup Conference Coverage Roundup
These are all worth reading and if you are new to the SKMurphy blog these are blog posts are a good place to start reading. Starting in July 2015 and publishing somewhat irregularly the SKMurphy Newsletter also selects what we think are good posts on particular topics. See the SKMurphy Newsletter Archive for a list of those blog posts.
- Lessons Learned Blogging: 1400 posts in 8 years
- 7 Years, 1226 Blog Posts: Lessons Learned So Far
- First Major Website Upgrade in 7 years
- Entrepreneurs Still Welcome: 700 Blog Posts in Four Years
Tips For Blogging
- Good Blogging Is Good Linking
- 90 Day Plan For Blogging From Our “Getting More Customers” Workshop
- Five Reasons to Welcome Guest Authors On Your Blog
- Ten Tips for Leveraging Blogs and Wikis in Your Consulting Practice
Photo Credit Roman Drits “Box of Chocolates“