Bootstrapping A Profitable Company

VentureBeat has a post about how to bootstrap a profitable internet company.

  • Start with something you love.
  • Spread the word and get others involved.
  • Get to minimum viable product (MVP) and dollar one fast.
  • Revenue has to be greater than expenses.
  • Optimize efficiency first.
  • Get lots of good advice.
  • Have a lot of fun.
Posted on 16 Sep 2012.  

Stop Reading Startup Advice

Deena Varshavskaya (CEO of there comes a time to stop reading startup advice and to seize control of your destiny.

I’m guilty of this. I read obsessively about startups and entreprenuership. Reading that volume of content can be valuable, but it can also be a hinderance on progressing on your goals.

She theorizes that these blogs were created from experiences (from mishaps) rather than reading blog posts.

Deena then outlines 3 negative impacts:

  • Reading/research clutters up your digital workspace
  • You’ll put yourself into the box of doing things the “right” way
  • The time spent reading or researching is the time spent not doing

Okay.. so now stop reading and start creating. :)

You might be surprised about how much you can achieve today without distractions.

Posted on 20 Mar 2012.  

Validating A Project Idea

Rob Fitzpatrick explains how he’s currently validating a project idea.

Starting to code (the build-it-and-they-will-come attitude) severely puts you in the crosshairs of raging bull that is failure.

So the article asks “How do you validate interest before the product is built?”

  • Is this a real problem that lots of people have and do they care about solving it?
  • Does my imagined value proposition (of overcoming blogger’s block) fit & solve their problem?

The ideal is to identify assumptions in your idea and then proceed to finding the fastest/cheapest way to answer them, before building the product.

Posted on 18 Feb 2012.  

Think Big Things

I concur with Brendan Baker as he talks about how the tech startup market seems to be growing with ever incremental and derivative products.

He challenges us to be bold and ambitious.

This resonates deeply with me. I’m always on the lookout for wild crazy visionary types and my mind easily wanders when I hear shopping carts, ipad educational books, shopping comparison engines.. yadda.. yadda.. yadaa

Yesterday I went to a founders dating meetup (biz <-> tech people) and nothing grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and said ‘join me now you idiot!’. Of course I probably have romanticized/high expectations, rose coloured glasses.

Actually there was one guy that started to talk about space colonies and such, which immediately got my eyebrow raised, but on deeper investigations all I got was a lot of arm waving and I wasn’t enthralled that they were truly serious in their post worldly pursuits. Pity.

A lot of biz people I spoke to didn’t give me a sense that they were that passionate about their projects. Although almost everyone used the same Steve Jobs (now cliched) quote of ‘lets make a dent in the universe’ (please not again).

Some were interested in merely just getting funding (with whatever product), which is at odds with my preference for early revenue generating bootstrap opportunities.

Anyone want to reach for the stars?

Posted on 10 Feb 2012.  

Biz Founders Looking For Tech Founders

Great article from Andrew Chen about how biz people should evaluate their own position when looking for a tech founder and why it can be so hard.

The nerd perspective is, they don’t need you
Much of the reason why it’s insanely hard to find a really good technical cofounder is that the best ones really don’t need you. Or at least they don’t think they need you.

Engineers have huge leverage as they usually do most of the product development. If they believe they can get a handle on the business side of things: sales/marketing, it can be hard to convince them to get onboard your idea.

If you do persuade them, think equity stakes you’re offering. If they are doing all this work, a miserable 1% is not going to cut it.

Remember this: They are not the code monkey. You are the biz monkey.

So if you’re a code monkey, what can you bring to the table?

  • selling stuff and making money
  • getting partnerships and marketing/distribution of the product
  • funding the company
  • scalable marketing/monetization strategy (ad arb / viral / freemium / etc.)
  • team recruiting, particularly of other engineers and disciplines (not other MBAs please)

New MBAs and quite a few seasoned business folks (who’ve been isolated in non accountable corporations) can’t really deliver on these, which is why tech founders really can’t see what you bring to the table.

The article concludes that an approach is to make yourself more attractive by developing some skills, even so far as learning to code.

Good luck!

Posted on 03 Feb 2012.