Some quick answers to common questions about how to protect your intellectual property (IP) and when to incorporate.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start negotiating a complex business relationship: for example a software license, SaaS subscription, or a reseller or OEM relationship. Entire books are written on negotiation, I am trying to highlight some questions that can get overlooked.
One of the balancing acts of entrepreneurship is when to keep control and when to delegate. Our November/December 2016 newsletter explores the challenges of creative and effective delegation.
Elena Krasnoperova has been a regular attendee at the Silicon Valley Bootstrappers Breakfasts® for more than three years and I was delighted when she accepted my invitation to be a featured attendee and talk about her entrepreneurial journey. She plans to share some heuristics for learning faster than your competition and immediately applying your knowledge in ways that further improve your startup’s performance. Elena’s briefing will build on her experiences getting two PhD’s (the first is in Psychology from Stanford and was earned several years ago; she jokes that the second is much more recent: it’s in Entrepreneurship from the School of Hard Knocks), working as an executive at several high technology firms, and bootstrapping two startups in the “family tech” space: SimplyCircle and Calroo,
Elena Krasnoperova on “Learning Hacks for Bootstrappers”
Bootstrappers don’t have the financial resources or staff to established or venture-backed firms. A solo entrepreneur or a small founding team has no choice but to be generalists, a “Jack–or Jane–of All Trades.” Bootstrappers must learn quickly–at least enough to be dangerous–and immediately apply it to challenges facing their startup.
In this briefing, Elena Kransoperova will discuss “learning hacks” for bootstrappers. She will suggest ways to make time for learning when there is always something urgent you need to do. She will introduce her AAA (Acquire, Absorb, Apply) learning framework and offer learning hacks for each stage. She gave me a brief preview of coming attractions:
- Why is it important to be constantly learning – why it matters for your company, and for you personally
- The different learning styles – what’s yours? (as you know, I have a Stanford Ph.D. in Psychology, so I know a bit about this :-)
- My personal AAA framework for learning
- Acquire – how to acquire new knowledge / skills
- Absorb – how to internalize / process new knowledge / skills
- Apply – how to apply what you learn to your company
- “Gotchas” to avoid as you become a lean, mean learning machine
Elena Krasnoperova is a former executive at eBay, PayPal, Zong and oDesk, the founder of two bootstrapped companies in the “family tech” space: SimplyCircle and Calroo, and a Limited Partner at 500 Startups. She started her career at the Boston Consulting Group after earning a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. Elena is a lifelong learner of all things business and entrepreneurship and is passionate about helping parents be better parents. SimplyCircle.com is an online parent communication portal that helps schools, classrooms, and PTAs increase family engagement. Calroo is a new mobile app for busy families that combines a shared family calendar, to-do list, and messaging.
When, Where, and How to Register
- When: 7:30-9AM Friday, December 2, 2016
- Where: Hobees Restaurant, 4224 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
- Cost: $5 in advance / $10 at the door (Attendees order off regular menu are given separate checks)
- Register: https://www.meetup.com/Bootstrappers-Breakfast-SV/events/235030357/ (Limited seating, please register in advance.)
Update Fri-Dec-2: Elena Gave a Great Briefing
We had a lively conversation this morning and Elena graciously agreed to let us post her handout on the Bootstrapper Breakfast blog; see “Elena Krasnoperova’s Seven Learning Hacks for Bootstrappers.”
Related Blog Posts
- eMOBUS Acquisition: How Bootstrappers Close Deals
- Alastair Hood: Lessons Learned Bootstrapping Verdafero
- Ilya Semin on “Bootstrapping DataNyze to $1M/ARR”
- How to Keep Cash Flow Positive Fri-Mar-27 at Mtn View BB
- Matt Oscamou of Frontier Bites on the value of the Bootstrapper Breakfast
- Geva Solomonovich of Fraud Sciences at Fri-Nov-4 BB
Sean Murphy will moderate a panel of three experienced startup attorneys on November 29 for a Silicon Valley Cofounder Academy event at Hacker Dojo on “Cofounder Legal Challenges and Solutions.”
For Thanksgiving 2016 we hosted the Bootstrapper Potluck for the third year in a row, it’s becoming a tradition we really enjoy.
A thank you on Veterans Day 2016 to all of the men and women in our armed forces who made the United States possible, in particular this Silicon Valley oasis of invention and innovation I get to call home. Some quotes to meditate on follow.
You can follow @skmurphy to get these quotes for entrepreneurs hot off the mojo wire or wait until they are collected in a blog post at the end of each month. Enter your E-mail address if you would like have new blog posts sent to you.
Ken Iverson wrote “Plain Talk” 1997 to document the management and innovation principles that led Nucor from bankruptcy to the number three position in the steel industry in the United States. Since the publication of the book Nucor has become the number one player.
I take a fair amount of inspiration from dreams, which I believe are a way for the mind to reprocess memories into new configurations, the same way that a mixmaster can beat eggs or potatoes into a smooth consistency. I think dreams are a way of reprocessing experiences and distilling additional insights and learning.
Offering expert consulting means developing a specialization and focus that enable you to execute with distinction. The phrases “finding the niche for your product” and “product market fit” are essentially equivalent. A key definition of a market is that members reference each other’s buy decisions and therefore building up a set of references lowers your next prospect’s perception of the risks in your product or service (not just will it work or will you do what you say you can do but are you going to offer them significant value.
A review of some remarks by Vinod Khosla on “Silicon Valley Vision” in 2012 and the value of youth from the Nasscom conference in November 2011. I contrast that with an earlier article by Jim Collins on “Built to Flip.”
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 pivoting based on new information and asked for business plans. The question is how to have enough of a plan to proceed that includes what experiments you will run to refine your understanding of the product and the market.
I had strong memory this morning of riding my bike down a hill on the street in front of our house. The air was skin warm and after the heat of the summer was a delightful caress, going downhill I did not have to pedal and it was like flying. It’s hard to recapture the freedom of a child biking on a empty road at the end of summer. I am not sure what triggered this childhood memory but it got me to thinking about growing up in St. Louis.
Kinetic River Corp. has been awarded contract from the National Cancer Institute for a modular flow cytometer that will be used to test novel laser sources for applicability to flow cytometry. It will also serve as a test bed for new detectors, electronics and other technologies critical to the future of flow cytometry.
The Cofounder Academy is offering an innovative event at the Hacker Dojo on Mon-Oct-17 for cofounders to explore your fit with potential startups.
This is a republished version of a blog post I did originally on July-21-2008 on the FunMurphys.com blog. It’s a meditation on fighting terrorism and creating a common enemy to foster collaboration. Architect of fear has a dual meaning: both the terrorist (e.g. the Joker in the movie “The Dark Knight”) and the scientists in the Outer Limits episode “the Architects of Fear” who try and create a scare crow to stop the nations of Earth from going to war, possibly accidentally.
The customer determines the details that matter in assessing the quality of your product. Here is a true story where this was brought home to me.