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Books & Articles I wrote.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Start of the Art of the Start

Crib notes from "The Art of the Start" by Guy Kawasaki.

Getting Going.Do 5 things right away:

1. MAKE MEANING by creating something that makes the world a better places or changes it for the better.

2. MAKE MANTRA and avoid long mission statements. Max. 3 words that ARE your business to YOU.

3. GET GOING and start your product or service NOW. Don't spend months writing huge business plans before you understand your product and market (which often in new markets even the experts don't predict right) - my personal favourite!

4. DEFINE A BUSINESS MODEL as you will need to make money. Figure this out early.

5. MAT is your milestones, assumptions and tasks.


Do you want to do something dramatic to the world. Something that changes it somehow?

Q. If your organization never existed, the world would be worse off because:

The Mantra is for YOU (not your customers). It should motivate you.

Your MANTRA is _____________
Do not go longer than the line available!

Get Going
Get your product out there - in prototype. Customers will accept it is a prototype (note: this was first said to me only last week by a sucessful Scottish entrepreneur who lives in the US and sells software). Do plans later. When your bigger and can afford it.

1. Think Big - why not flip your chosen area on its head. Disrupt the whole existing concept?!

2. Soulmates - get a team. At least 2 (note: this means i gotta find someone!!). Together make history.

3. Some should LOVE it. Some should HATE it. It's a good sign!

4. Design and think different. Maybe you WANT one, it may be possible or you just know there's a better way to do it. Think and Accomplish.

5. Prototype and get market feedback. If they love it and need it, they'll probably help you build it! If they love it, change it to make them love it more.

Business Model
Who has money and how do you get it from their pocket to your pocket?

BE SPECIFIC and target a specific market. If it works, you can grow.
SIMPLICITY means your business model should be a single sentence ("Selling Subscriptions").
COPY those who have been successful. Don't go inventing new models.

1. What's the monthly costs?
2. What's your gross profit per unit?
3. Divide 1 by 2
4. Can you sell that many units?

This quickly tells you what you're missing.

Add your Milestones to the following standards ones.
  1. Proof of Concept
  2. Complete design
  3. Prototype
  4. Capital
  5. Test
  6. Final Version
  7. Breakeven

What Assumptions are you making?

  1. Service performance metrics
  2. market size
  3. gross margin
  4. sales call success
  5. customer conversion rate
  6. sales cycle duration
  7. ROI for customer
  8. tech support costs
  9. payment cycle
  10. compensation
  11. parts & supply costs
  12. customer ROI

Tasks are what you have to do to BUILD the venture.

  1. advice
  2. travel (conferences and such)
  3. office space
  4. vendors
  5. accounts
  6. legal stuff
  7. insurance

Finally: be scared; share your ideas and get feedback; tell everyone you can; listen to what people tell you; get a mentor or experienced partner; cards and letterheads immediately; a web site.

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The hard work zone

I got the title from NESTA. I have never read/listened/emailed so much in my life. 4 Am yesterday 'til 11 and then 5 AM this morning and late tonight (well, there is a small matter of a football match!). I have been through all this many times since '97 and it hasn't worked out - i kept trying though and the net result is that i feel confident i have something. I don't know what the hell it is yet, but i feel i am dancing around something big. BUT, can't touch that until i have read more. I want to make sure i approach things correctly; know the right people.

The hardest part? Staying away from technology. I write code. Well, i create ideas by writing code - a move on from 5 years ago when i just wrote code that became an idea. Now I am working out how to manage the idea before i decide exactly what it will be - and it's working.

Seth Godin and Guy Kawasaki - thanks guys! I am getting it now. The good thing is that what Seth is telling me i had started to figure out - I just never knew exactly how to phrase it - he does. Guy says prototype - the last year that's all i have been doing. Get the ideas i have and see what you say - it's been interesting but even more so because as a real user of my apps (i use taghop constantly!!) i can see a bigger picture emerging. I think.

I can contrast the last few years with what i am learning now and the important thing is that i can see where i was going wrong. All i gotta do now if make sure the technology (or rather its implementation and how it is perceived) is world class - but then that's something I'm confident is within my grasp.

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Books Arrived

My books just arrived. All three and it took 3 working days with the supersaver delivery.

Cool. Now just figure out what one to start with!?

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AO2005 - The Start

This morning I have started to listen to the archive of AO2005.

There's quite alot to catch up on, but I have promised myself I will spend the next week or so just reading, listening, recording and so on so i really get where everyone is coming at with the lists of next big things.

Tony Perkins and Tom Byers over at STVP, along with Peter Hirshberg, and Michael Markman kicked off the presentation, with a key focus on blogs. Some funny stuff too - although the street interviews are perhaps the most important as we get to see what people really do think about this stuff!

It is true that blogs have gone off the scale - question is to *where*? There is really NO TIME to read all the stuff i want to - or rather there is no time to KNOW what i should be reading. I know i'm onto something, but figuring out where it's going is the exciting part (assuming i get it right!).

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