Doctors conduct postmortems to figure why people died. They do this to solve a crime, prevent the death of others, and satisfy curiosity. However, once somebody dies, it’s too late to help him. […]
In the early days of starting up, the ability to scale is overrated. “Scale,” in case you haven’t heard the term, refers to the concept that there are processes in place that are fast, cheap, and repeatable because there will soon be millions of customers who generate billions of dollars of revenue. […]
Once upon a time there were two engineering PhDs who were clueless about how to start a company. All they knew how to do was code. They were so desperate for money and adult supervision that when an experienced businessperson showed interest and offered to help raise money, they, in their own words, “followed him [...]
Some aspiring entrepreneurs are already working for a big company. Like external entrepreneurs, they dream of creating innovative products. They, too, must prototype, position, pitch, bootstrap, recruit, fund, partner, sell, and support. The purpose of this minichapter is to explain how to do all this when you’re employed by a large business. […]
Forget “I think, therefore I am.” For entrepreneurs, the operative phrase is, “I pitch, therefore I am.” Pitching isn’t only for raising money—it’s for reaching agreement, and agreement can yield many good outcomes including sales, partnerships, and new hires. Here are the key elements of a great pitch. […]
I am evangelizing the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a pitch should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. This rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc. […]
There is a myth that successful companies begin with grandiose ambitions. The implication is that entrepreneurs should start with megalomaniac goals in order to succeed. To the contrary, my observation is that great companies began by wondering about simple things, and this leads to asking simple questions that beget companies: […]
When I was a venture capitalist, I noticed that entrepreneurs whose primary goal was to make money usually failed. This is because this kind of entrepreneur attracts other people who want to make money, and then when the company doesn’t pay out big bucks immediately (and no startup does), these folks look for greener pastures. [...]
A good business model forces you to answer two simple questions: “Who has your money in their pockets?” And “How are you going to get it into your pocket?” These questions may lack subtlety, but making money isn’t a subtle process. More elegantly stated, the first question involves identifying your customer and the need that [...]
Interesting story of how Alicia Shaffer sells $1 million of fashion items via her Etsy shop. It’s fantastic that Etsy has created a market like this–democratizing commerce and crafts! http://www.fastcodesign.com/3042352/how-one-knitter-makes-almost-1-million-a-year-on-etsy There is some controversy about whether her products are handcrafted “enough,” but there are marketing lessons to learn from her success, nonetheless!
People love the notion of the sole innovator, but this notion is wrong. Successful companies are usually started, and become successful, with the contributions of at least two people. Yin and yang, maker and seller, dreamer and pragmatist — call it what you will. After the fact, people may recognize one founder as the innovator, [...]
This is the third post in my Microsoft partnership, and it’s all about numbers. The topic is crafting your financial forecast to include in your pitch. Bill Reichert, my partner at Garage Technology Ventures, created an Excel model and wrote this blog post. There’s a lesson in this too: Get the best person for the [...]
Here is the second post in my series about planning, pitching, and launching a new business venture. In partnership with Microsoft and Office Web Apps, I’ve created a Word document that outlines a good business plan. It’s saved to here. Feel free to download it and use it as inspiration. And if you’re working with [...]
Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts I’ll be doing as part of a partnership with Microsoft and Office Web Apps. Over the next two weeks, I’ll cover everything a budding entrepreneur needs to turn an idea into an enchanting investment opportunity—from the perfect pitch to a killer business plan to financial [...]
Over in the American Express Open Forum I posted an interview with Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith about the “7 Deadly Sins of Business Storytelling.” It will help you optimize the impact of storytelling in your marketing.
Information wants to be free, and I just freed some. I got the rights back for my first book, The Macintosh Way, and I’ve made it available for free here. Hope that you find it useful.
Many entrepreneurs believe that they key to success is adequate (or more) capital. I think they’re wrong—too much money is worse than too little. It’s because spending expands to the level of money that you’ve raised. I explain the hazards of too much money for the American Express Open Forum.
If you’re confused by the U. S. Immigration process, I recently posted an explanation of it at the American Express Open Forum blog. Robert C. Meltzer, CEO of VISANOW, provided the information. His company is in the business of helping people obtain visas, so he should know. (Disclosure: Garage is an investor in VISANOW.) Learn [...]
Want to be the next Bill Gates? My buddy, Maryelene Delbourg-Delphis, explains why you should “Look at Your Company as a Small Business” in order to reach your goal. Check it out to learn why saplings are saplings, not little big trees. Learn more about startups.
Rosabeth Moss Kanter explains how innovation can involve short bursts and baby steps to success. Most people believe only “breakthroughs” count. Really, innovation is a process, not a big event.