Exploration and discovery constitute significant activities for entrepreneurs. There are various metaphors–for example entrepreneur as researcher, entrepreneur as scientist, entrepreneur as journalist–this post uses entrepreneur as detective as a metaphor.
When someone on your team says, “Google Thinks Our Name Is a Typo” you are at a disadvantage. Even worse if it suggests a competitor as the correct spelling it makes it look like you are typosquatting. Unless you have a strong reason for doing so it’s probably not a good idea.
It’s not uncommon for a startup’s offering to evolve from service to system integration to product. Here is an explanation for the reasons and benefits.
Mark Hanzo, CTO of Hanzo Archives, was interviewed by SimpleWeb as part of a series on validating startup ideas. I found his remarks on very practical and insightful and have added some observations of my own.
Chip Conley shares how he was able to look at AirBNB’s operation with newcomer’s eye when he chose to reconceive bewilderment as curiosity.
Q: I am in the process of forming a scientific advisory board for my startup in the healthcare / facility management space and I would welcome any insights or suggestions.
There are a lot of misconceptions about finding early adopters of a new product or technology. It’s a question that comes up often in early market exploration: this post is a summary of my experience and current best thinking.
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.
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.
Painful cofounder experiences are more common than happy ones, and especially so when the parties don’t know each well to begin with and the business startup fails. Here is a real email exchange that explores some ways to minimize the risks.
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 the beginning if they don’t adjust and aim for outcomes that create a sustainable and growing business.
A startups social capital, the network of relationships that the founders have with friends, former co-workers and associates, and friends of friends represent a key resource for the team. It’s possible to activate this network to help you solve a variety of problems–e.g. finding a cofounder, finding early employees, finding contractors, finding early customers, finding investors, finding advisors–but you can normally only activate for one purpose at a time.
To make effective use of your advisory board you have to provide them written material in advance that offers context on your situation and the questions you want to explore with them.
Here are fifteen quotes that each communicate a different truth about negotiation. I have added some commentary to suggest how to apply them.
Entrepreneurs can be paralyzed by the rich set of possibilities they face. It seems almost paradoxical that when you have one choice you can start immediately, when you have two you can flip a coin, but as possibilities multiply the desire to make the best choice can paralyze you. To fully embrace your creativity you must master your dread of the unknown.
I am giving a talk on “Extracting Competitive Insights from Software Demos: Crafting and Refining Your Company’s Message Through the Analysis of a Competitor’s Demo” at the Silicon Valley Chapter of the Society for Competitive Intelligence (SCIP) Tue-May-24 at 6PM.
Trying to take on established competitors using their same business model and value proposition is called “attacking a walled city.” It’s important to understand what your customer is actually paying for and find some way to offer a different value proposition.
A common mistake technical entrepreneurs can make is to focus on what’s easy to build, and enter a market with dozens of competitors without thought to differentiation. Or to hope that by making it “free” they can make money by selling ads.
I have learned the hard way whenever I wish for smarter prospects it means I need to improve my presentation, demo, or proposal: whatever it is that I have offered them that they didn’t understand, or believe, or decide to act on.