a 17th century business with customers

Lean startup methods are all about customer discovery, gathering information to create a product that fulfills the needs you identify in this process, and then actually landing that first customer.  That’s when the fun begins, and it’s not all rosy.  Here are ten considerations that come into play at that milestone in the life of your startup:

knitting machine

July 14, 2014:  My agenda for July and August is pretty daunting, for which I am grateful, but that’s causing me to reflect on my personal workflow.  As you may have read in earlier posts, I’ve interjected a Google Chromebook into my otherwise pure Apple environment, but I’m also the tech support person for a Windows 8 touchscreen Sony that resides with me.  I actually rather like Windows 8, ONLY if used in the context of a touch screen, but I don’t think I’ll blend it into my personal IT infrastructure.  I accomplish my mission just by keeping its user’s cursing to a minimum.

Start of 1965 Dutch Grand Prix

The mission of the day for me is revising our ticketing company’s financial model based on the great reception we’re having in a new and rather novel distribution channel.  It’s very easy to make a series of seemingly prudent building-block assumptions that in the end multiply into a big number.  We’re not expecting to overtake Stubhub before the end of this year, and we’ve been careful to do a sanity check in what we know to be a very large market but also one with intense competition.  In six months, after a full College Football season, we’ll have proved or disproved most of these baseli

Stanley Steameer at American Legion July 4 parade

July 2, 2013:  The noted 1984 book The Naked Public Square by Lutheran pastor Richard John Neuhaus spoke to the absence of religious speech in the discourse on public policy.  As we approach this July 4, it’s time to make a similar observation about the relative absence of our technology industry in political affairs.  Sure the major companies have discovered the fine art of lobbying in recent years and have grown in scale to the point that they can’t help but touch and be touched by public events.  But, by and large, in my entire career the tech sector has played a disprop

Golf rules from a Florida course

June 28, 2013:  Twice in the last couple of weeks I have seen a well-done pitch by a student company addressing the rather high percentage of online shopping carts that are abandoned before a purchase is concluded.  That particular solution calls on your social networks to nudge you back to that unfilled order.

My theory is that most shopping carts are abandoned because the user is simply trying to figure out what the final cost will be and what are the various optional extras. Here’s a case in point:

Cradle to Grave by James Baillie

June 24, 2013:  A post by John Saddington was brought to my attention via a Tweet from @johnson_cook at ATV in Atlanta.  I met Saddington through Buckhead Church some years ago; he’s a GA Tech graduate with two Masters degrees from Dallas Seminary and an excellent writer.  This particular post is on Stages of Man – from Foundation through Consolidation in a career.

Charming school in Dunedin, NZ

June 18, 2013:  In a world of so many fine accelerators for startups, the support resources for what I will call “scaling entrepreneurs” are less abundant.  CEO’s who are running fast-growing $1M+ companies that are clearly on a trajectory toward an eventual exit with investor returns are sometimes wondering why all the love and attention is given to startups barely out of the womb.  I’ve heard that comment on more than one occasion recently.

B2?
US Navy image of sailor as consumer

June 12, 2013:  In the startup world one hears a lot of discussion about B2B versus B2C concepts.  Allow me please to expand those categories and opine on their relative appeal to entrepreneurs and investors.

Apollo 17 liftoff

June 10, 2013:  My two most recent posts have been about evaluating jobs from an employee perspective and about hiring that hard-to-find tech talent from an employer’s viewpoint.  Staying in that general topic area, today the focus is risk.  Startup entrepreneurs are generally pretty familiar with the notion of “de-risking” each aspect of the lean canvas.  However, once their companies have reached lift-off and have begun to hire beyond the original founding group, a whole new set of internal risks can come into play.  Most of those can be avoided if one is aware of them. 

BCS Championship trophy 2008 UF

June 4, 2013:  This post is the flip side of the previous post talking about finding a job from the engineer’s viewpoint.  Knowing that he or she may be working from that playbook, how do you recruit that person to your team?

Again, that engineer has very high odds of finding a job where the work is interesting, skills are a good match, and the colleagues are likeable.  That’s a given.   Here, though, is my list of five advantages you can offer as the prospective employer:

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