Design of Experiments

Entrepreneurs Cannot Rely on a Cookbook or a Manual

Entrepreneurs starting their first business often hunt for a cookbook of recipes to make sense of a journey that is alternating between bewilderment and frustration. But startups fight for existence in a competitive and evolving environment, where changes in the technical or social substrates can invalidate their strategy or enable competitors without warning.

Making Business Decisions in Uncertain Times

Business leaders today are faced with business challenges and a level of uncertainty that is unprecedented in recent memory. Established approaches and well-tried options no longer work, forcing us to make business decisions in uncertain times. This article collects some useful tips for making better business decisions that I have learned over the last 40 …

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Something Ventured: Make Money and Change the World for the Better

One documentary worth watching to get some context on the history of entrepreneurship and venture capital is “Something Ventured.” It’s a series of interviews with venture capitalists talking about their investments and their risk mitigation strategies in the 1950’s through 1970’s. It’s clear that they paid a lot of attention to “minimum viable products” and …

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Choosing the Right Targets and Metrics

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 …

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When You Are No Longer The Smartest Person In The Room

You may have been the smartest person in the room for a long time, but getting into a room with a customer changes that because a key knowledge domain of interest is the customer’s situation and needs. Here are some suggestions for how to keep learning instead of acting like the smartest person in the …

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Primary Research Tools: Q&A With Jen Berkley Jackson

I recently did an in depth interview with Jen Berkley Jackson of The Insight Advantage on primary research tools. Jen works with companies to help them make sure that they understand their customers better than any competitor or potential competitor. Her firm performs primary research for clients, using a variety of tools to gather information …

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Larry Smith: Fail Fast, Fail Often, and Die

Larry Smith is an Economics Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo who writes and lectures on Entrepreneurship, innovation, and Technology markets. What follows is part of a conversation he had with Alan Quarry in the AQ’s Blog & Grill series of interviews with entrepreneurs. His key point, that he makes in a somewhat cranky fashion, is that technology …

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Nature, Technology and Magic

What seems natural, artificial, or supernatural is a function of familiarity. Nature is the background or context for innovation. The challenge is that we live in a world and culture formed by millennia of innovation so that some incredibly advanced technologies seem natural. The difference between technology and magic is not that one works more …

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Founder Story: Edith Harbaugh of LaunchDarkly

I got to know Edith Harbaugh (@edith_h) when she was moderating the Lean Startup Circle Group and published two guest blog posts by her: “It’s Your Execution, Not Your Idea” and “Managing Email Conversations With Customers.” I also invited her to take part in a webinar on Innovator’s DNA: Experimenting Skill. During the roundtable conversation …

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