Friday, April 10, 2015

Startupville: Would you tell a single dad he needs a mom for his kid?

If you would, I've got news for you, he already knows, and what you said was futile.

Just as the single father already knows his child would benefit from a Mom and telling him won't help, it's not helpful to tell a founder he needs a partner.

Like a single father, a Solopreneur knows the benefits of a partner are huge, but is wary of settling on the wrong partner.

Having a partner who wouldn't cherish their baby through thick and thin, is far worse then going through the same think and thin alone.

Startupville: The three founders - Hustlers, Hackers and Hookers

To run a startup you need three personas represented by your founders:Hustlers, Hackers and Hookers.

The hustler is the founder who can breaks down doors, she unlocks segments, captures funding, she's makes sure the startup engine never stalls for lack of leads or funding.

The hacker is the founder who builds it. She is a McGyver and can build anything quickly. When there's a technical problem she can get it duct taped and bubbled gummed back up in giffy to keep the technical side of the business running.

The hooker is the least known of the founder personas, but possibly the most valuable. His job is to love the customers. He listens to the customers emphatically and deeply understands what customer need,  even when the customer can't describe it.  This founder figures what should be built within the constrains of the business model and technology.

Often startups don't have dedicated people for each of these roles, but the personas need to covered by the founders to achieve success.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bluetooth headsets in 2015

Long story short.  Finding an in-ear blue tooth headset in 2015 was hard.  I tried the plantronics M55, plantronics M165 and they both had poor sound quality and poor noise cancellation. 

I now have the jarbra stealth, and so far it works. Comfortable, good sound quality and solid noise cancellation.   

I don't know if there are better headsets (I was getting sick of trying to find them), but this one works as well as I'd expect. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cool Tools: View azure blob storage as a filesystem (Azure Explorer)

Azure blob storage is essentially a file system metaphor.   Azure explorer lets you interact with your storage account as if it was a drive on your local machine.  I use it all the time when I'm working with Azure storage.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Startupville: What's it like running a startup?

Running a startup is hard. Soul crushingly hard.  I suspect if you haven't done it before, you can't understand it, but I'll try to explain it with an analogy:

Imagine you decide to row across the Atlantic  alone. You don't get a GPS, you don't get a map, you don't even get a compass, all you can do is navigate by the stars.    Oh yeah, you do get a one way radio you can't turn off.

At first, as you leave your home filled with confidence. You know you're a strong rower,  you think you know where you're going, and you  you feel great!

But then it gets dark and cloudy,  you can't see the stars, you have no idea where you are, you have no idea if you're going in a circle or heading back to where yous started, and you're tired, rowing is hard work.  You become filled with fear and doubt.  Even if you wanted to go back to a place you thought was safe, you don't know how to get back. And did I mention rowing is hard work, and you've been rowing a long time, and you're tired, very very tired.

While you are it in your boat alone, in the dark, anxious, exhausted and demoralized, you still have the radio, the radio you can't turn off.   The radio is a stream of people give advice like:  "You're going the wrong way", "Turn Back", "Go Left, "Go Right",  "Turn around", "You're crazy to think this will work", "This is dumb", "you're doing it wrong".

But sometimes , the clouds lift, and you see the stars, and you realize you are making progress, you realize you are a stronger rower then you where when you left shore, and you fill with hope. You recharge your mental batteries  you remember why are on this journey,  and most of all you remember you can actually make it!

Happy rowing!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Startupville: Why is no one referring my project?

TL;DR - Your customers don't provide referrals because it's a risk to their credibility. Remove the credibility risk, and your referrals will follow.

As an entrepreneur I imagined  my user count would grow by leaps and bounds as soon as my happy customers started providing referrals. However, when it came time to start providing referrals, my customers kept saying they would, but didn't follow through.

At first, I assumed my customers weren't providing referrals because they were lazy.  Thus I spent a bunch of time nagging my customers. Guess what? No referrals.

Then I assumed the problem was that my customers had no idea what to say for the referral.  So I spent a bunch of time creating a referral message my customers could use. Guess what? Still no referrals.

Then I got wise and asked one of my favorite customers why he wouldn't refer me -  and he told me the answer. "Igor, I won't refer you because when I refer you it's my credibility on the line".

So there it is, the three reasons your customers aren't referring you are:

  1. The work of doing the referral
  2. The message to give to the person to be referred
  3. The risk to credibility to person providing the referral.

And in case you're confused, the order to tackle these problems is C, B, A. Future posts will talk about how to minimize credibility risk


Cool Tools: World Time Buddy

Disclaimer:  I know the CEO, I know this sounds like spam, but it's still awesome.

Keeping multiple time zones strait is a pain.  Missing a meeting because you came 3 hours too late is worse.  World Time Buddy makes it easy to keep track of time zones. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Surface Pro 3: Reasonable priced charging

I love my surface pro 3, but one thing that really irks me is the 80$ chargers.  I just bought a 25$ charger off Amazon and it works like a champ - now you can get another charger for you bag at a reasonable price!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Soft Skills: Your three selves

A week ago, I was at a gala, and I ate a few chocolate truffles because they made me happy. I suspect it was wonderful, but honestly I don't remember if that was the case. Even worse, as I try to button up my pants and the pants are too tight, I'm feeling quite unhappy about eating the truffles.

In the above paragraph there were three "I"'s or "selves" being referenced. The present experiencing self, the future remembering self, and the future experiencing self. To concisely refer to these three selves we'll call them the experiencing self, the remembering self, and the future self.

As you think of three different selves there are two big questions. First, when you thinking about the costs and benefits of an action, think through the cost and benefits for the different selves. Second, decide which of the three selves you want to optimize for.

 With luck your present self enjoys this post, your future self remembers enjoying the post, and this prompts your future self to re-read and enjoy the post again.