May, 2019

7 Keys To Using Social Media to Kickstart Your Brand

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay After a frustrating meeting with a small business client recently who didn’t “have time” for social media, I was surprised to find evidence on the Internet that up to one quarter of small business owners are still hesitant to invest time, money, and effort into a social media strategy.

How To Create Conditions For Creative Breakthroughs


by Hal Gregersen, author of “ Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life “ Creative breakthroughs come about when courageous entrepreneurs dare to reframe the most puzzling challenges by asking different questions. By reframing questions, they dissolve barriers to thinking, like limiting prior assumptions and they channel creative energy down more productive pathways.

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How Asking Works: A Crash Course in Customer Discovery Questions

Grasshopper Herder

Interviewing strangers is a science as much as an art. Learning how questions actually work can give you fresh insight into the customer discovery process. The post How Asking Works: A Crash Course in Customer Discovery Questions appeared first on Customer Development Lean Startup Generative Market Research Interview lean startup

How to Stop Playing “Target Market Roulette”: A new addition to the Lean toolset

Steve Blank

Modern entrepreneurship began at the turn of this century with the observation that startups aren’t smaller versions of large companies – large companies at their core execute known business models, while startups search for scalable business models.

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Building Healthy Innovation Ecosystems for Your Projects

Speaker: Nick Noreña, Innovation Coach and Advisor, Kromatic

In this webinar, Nick Noreña will walk through an Innovation Ecosystem Model that he and his team at Kromatic have developed to help investors, heads of product, teachers, and executives understand how they can best support innovation in their own ecosystem. He'll also go over metrics we can use to measure the health of our ecosystems as we build more resources for innovators.

Digital Transformations: Too little, too late?

deal architect

I find Frank Scavo a great sounding board. He has a way of simplifying things and pushing back when things are buzzword-y. I have quoted him in several books. He has introduced me to case studies I have profiled in. Industry Commentary


Sharp Elbows Among Seed VCs

View from Seed

Many of us in the seed stage ecosystem have noticed a shift in the way seed rounds are coming together. Historically, seed rounds were syndicated among several different firms. Early seed funds and super-angels typically wrote $250-$500K checks, and rounds of $2–3M would be composed of 3–4 funds collaborating together along with a handful of angels. These funds would regularly share deal flow with one another and could share the work in supporting founders and helping to push the company forward.

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How To Build A Startup That Doesn’t Flop


by Bruce Cleveland, Founding Partner at Wildcat Venture Partners and author of “ Traversing the Traction Gap “ This is the first in a three-installment series that is designed to help you understand the Traction Gap Framework® – a step-by-step survival guide for startups – developed by myself and my partners at Wildcat Venture Partners, an early stage venture capital firm we founded in 2015.

My Commencement Speech?—?Life at Your Crossroads

Both Sides of the Table

My Commencement Speech?—?Life Life at Your Crossroads Photo by Justin Luebke on Unsplash Crossroads Cal Poly Pomona! What’s up!?! I’m so grateful to be up here addressing you today. Today you’re either here to graduate or support somebody graduating. A graduate is at his or her first major crossroad in life. You are faced with decisions about which road to take. That is the theme of my speech today. My 8 tips for the crossroads you will face.

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The Evolution of Entrepreneurial Education and Corporate Innovation

Steve Blank

I was interviewed by Philip Bouchard , Executive Director of TrustedPeer Entrepreneurship Advisory , about how entrepreneurship education has changed, mission-driven entrepreneurship, and what we’ve learned about corporate innovation. Worth a read. Interview highlights: How is the way that universities teach entrepreneurship evolving? Lean LaunchPad class developed for Stanford. Innovation and entrepreneurship will become the liberal arts of the 21st century.

Sapphire 2019: A curtain raiser with Nick Tzitzon

deal architect

As I prepare to drive to Orlando for the annual SAP conference I had a chance to talk to Nick Tzitzon, EVP of Marketing and Communications about what we can expect on the main stage. If you think about the. Enterprise Software (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP) Industry Commentary

Repeat Founders and the Risk of a False Positive

View from Seed

A number of blog posts recently have mentioned this, but we seem to be experiencing a rise in repeat founders starting new businesses and raising seed capital. We’re also seeing a wave of folks who were not founders, but were star players among the first 25 folks at a unicorn company also starting new companies. As a founder with that kind of experience, you are likely to find that a lot of the typical advice for startups on the internet isn’t quite applicable.

7 Problem Solving Mistakes To Avoid In Your Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Flickr by Fortune Conferences In every business, especially new ones, quick and effective problem solving is a critical skill. The problems you face are more complex and moving faster than ever before, and the consequences of a poor or incomplete solution can be costly to your business, and well as to your community, human health, and the environment. What we learn in school hasn’t kept up with the demands.

[Interview] Mark C. Perna, Founder And CEO Of TFS, Cleveland, Ohio


Mark C. Perna heads a strategic consulting firm dedicated to making a difference in education and workforce development. He is a dynamic and motivational speaker, and a recognized voice in student engagement and success. His book, “ Answering Why: Unleashing Passion, Purpose, and Performance in Younger Generations “, offers a new paradigm for parents, teachers and employers through re-envisioned education and workforce development.

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The Give First Podcast

Feld Thoughts

David Cohen and I are doing a podcast together called Give First. Readers of this blog likely know that this is the mantra of Techstars and the title of an upcoming book of mine that will be published in 2020. While I’ve been interviewed for many podcasts, I’ve never hosted one before. David and I have been massive fans of Harry Stebbing’s 20 Minute VC so we’ve modeled Give First after it.

Customer Discovery Part 2: How a Focus On Storytelling Can Solve OUR Pain Points

Grasshopper Herder

Interviewers have pain points too. Here’s how a focus on the elements of storytelling can make your discovery process rewarding and pain-free. The post Customer Discovery Part 2: How a Focus On Storytelling Can Solve OUR Pain Points appeared first on Customer Development Lean Startup Generative Market Research Interview lean startup

The Oracle Enigma

deal architect

Rimini Street recently conducted a survey of Oracle customers. Oracle and Rimini have long been in litigation, so I would read the results with a nuanced viewpoint, but it does not paint the picture of a very happy Oracle Nation. Cloud Computing, SaaS Enterprise Software (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP

Pros and Cons of Hiring a Remote Employee

View from Seed

Throughout human history, our working environments have gone through several huge shifts. From hunters and gatherers to farmers and traders, from farmers to industry factory workers, and from factory workers to the modern day office employee. Today, we are starting to see the next big shift in our type of work environments. With the click of a button, you can be face to face with someone across the globe and that’s impacting how we work with each other.

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5 Key Drivers For Creating A Board For Your Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Flickr by MDGovpics Many entrepreneurs I know are confused by definition and need for an Advisory Board versus a Board of Directors. Some view both of these as a waste of time and burden on the CEO, while other founders surround themselves with insiders and cronies in an attempt to expedite and add credibility to their own interests. I suggest a few simple considerations will clarify the alternatives. By definition, Advisory Boards are voluntary and have no fiduciary responsibility.

How To Protect Your Business In A Divorce


From the emotional point of view, many times couples never think that a time would come to consider divorce. When you have significant investments, beautiful kids and all of a sudden disagreements start popping in, marriages get shaken, and one of the partners may feel it’s time to call it quits. Research has proved that when couples are in love, have great plans for their marriage, and finances, they rarely debate on issues like divorce.

Wartime CEO

Feld Thoughts

I read Ben Horowitz’s The Hard Thing About Hard Things last weekend. This is the third time I’ve read it. It gets better each time. If you are a CEO and you haven’t read it, buy it right now and read it next weekend. There are endless gems in the book, many of them from Ben’s own experience. My favorite of all time, that stays with me through all the work I do, is his distinction between “peace time” and “war time.”

The Majesty of Elmo

Grasshopper Herder

The Kromatic team has found a delightful and innovative way to make meetings more efficient. The post The Majesty of Elmo appeared first on Lean Startup Miscellaneous Teamwork & Leadership Continuous Improvement Productivity Startup Tool teams

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"I have never been so proud to be part of this company"

deal architect

Said Hasso Plattner as we were wrapping up our annual Sapphire meeting with him. He told us he thought Bill McDermott's keynote this morning was the best he has delivered (I had walked up to Bill a few hours earlier. Enterprise Software (IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP

Friday Fun-isms: “Avoid Swiss Army Knives”

View from Seed

An inevitable question that founders face is “how is your product different?” Whether it’s asked explicitly or not, most investors that you speak to have probably seen or heard of a company that does something pretty similar to yours. So it quickly becomes necessary to articular how you plan to stand out in a world of options. More important than what you say is what you actually do, and how your prioritization manifests itself.

“Nail It Then Scale It” - The New Mantra For Startups

Startup Professionals Musings

Steve Blank via Flickr by jdlasica I see more and more entrepreneurs who seem to have everything going for them – vision, motivation, passion, even a good business plan, product, and money, and yet they can’t close customers. Maybe it’s time to look harder at the mantra of a new breed of gurus and successful entrepreneurs, including Steve Blank and Eric Ries , called “nail it then scale it” (NISI).

[Interview] Bill Treasurer, Author Of ‘Courage Goes To Work’


Tired of managing “com fear table” employees — workers who are either too comfortable or too fearful to do things differently? Meet Bill Treasurer. A workplace expert specializing in courage-building, Treasurer is on a mission to help entrepreneurs and small businesses create a more courageous workforce that delivers results.

Holograms Are Open For Business

Feld Thoughts

In February 2017 I met Shawn Frayne, one of the founders of Looking Glass Factory , a Brooklyn-based company with ambitions to make holographic interfaces a reality. Their team was scrappy and had sold an impressive variety of volumetric display kits to fuel their R&D efforts, and since our human-computer interface investment theme is one of my favorites, we led their Series A round. Last summer they launched their flagship product, a dev kit called the Looking Glass.

Managing Your Startup Board?—?A Short Presentation

Both Sides of the Table

Managing Your Startup Board?—?A A Short Presentation I was invited to do a keynote presentation at the Khosla Ventures CEO Summit this week in Sausalito. It was an amazing gathering of some of the most ambitious early-stage CEO’s looking to make a dent in fields related to healthcare, biology, AI and other transformative fields. It’s encouraging to know that there are still great VC firms like KV that are looking to make these short of big bets on shaping the future.

The Paradox of Selling Progress: a guest post by Mark Galloway

deal architect

Mark Galloway and I go back to our respective Lawson and Gartner days. I caught up with him recently - he is Co-Founder & CEO of OppSource, developers of next-gen sales engagement tools. He told me of an interesting use. Cloud Computing, SaaS Industry Commentary

The Road Less Traveled: Non-Standard Early Stage Funding Paths

View from Seed

As the seed stage that atomized and series A rounds have become larger and more traction based, the paths to series A have changed. The baseline path to series A has tends to look something like this: Raise $0?—?$500K 500K in angel or pre-seed funding -> Raise a $2–3M institutional seed -> Raise an A. This is the logical path that one would think is pretty “standard” for early stage companies.

Change Your Management Style To Meet Today’s Culture

Startup Professionals Musings

Change is hard. But these days it’s required and inevitable. Yet, in my daily role as an advisor to entrepreneurs and small business owners, struggling to boost revenues, profits, and earnings, I still see too many managers falling back on command-and-control, a focus on weaknesses, and not enough time for people. The result is lost productivity and a poorly engaged work force.

Want To Do Business With Baby Boomers? You’ll Find Them On Social Media


by Jonathan Musgrave, owner and chief digital marketer of Steep Digital Marketing. Forget those jokes about Baby Boomers and their supposed struggles grasping today’s technology. They may have grown up in a black-and-white TV, rotary-phone era, but most Baby Boomers long ago adapted to the 21st-century digital world. And that includes social media, which they took to with almost as much delight as their children and grandchildren if recent studies on the subject are any indication.

The Role of IT or an IT Consultant Provider for Business Growth


A good IT support and a robust business run hand at hand. allow us to take a glance at few major points that show an IT consultancy services and businesses to deliver results that define the success of your business. So, what role is IT consultancy for your business growth? Information Management: A business […]. The post The Role of IT or an IT Consultant Provider for Business Growth appeared first on ReadWrite.

Here’s Why Entrepreneurs Need To Make Fitness A Priority

YFS Magazine

If you’re looking for a fresh health and wellness start, or reset, why not make fitness, friends, and family more of a priority this year? Lifestyle fitness health and wellness

Bill Campbell, the trillion dollar coach

Version One Ventures

Bill Campbell has long had a legendary reputation as one of the best coaches of all time, but until now, only the people he worked with got to understand and experience the power of his approach. That’s why it is so great to see that Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg and Alan Eagle have written a book about Campbell’s leadership: Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell.

Slack S-1: Will ARPU Drive Long Term Value?

View from Seed

Slack dropped their S-1 a couple weeks ago. Even before that, we all knew that it was among the most rapidly growing SaaS companies in recent years and a product used (and loved) by millions of people. But now we have a chance to really dig in and understand Slack’s business a bit better. I have friends who are execs or shareholders of the company, but I have no stake in Slack nor intent to invest in the IPO.

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As An Entrepreneur, Are You Ready To Meet The Press?

Startup Professionals Musings

Not so long ago, training to meet the press and television reporters was a realm reserved for top business executives only. Now, even the earliest stage startup can rise to visibility or be forever lost by their first media spotlight, so it behooves us all to know the rules early. Most entrepreneurs I know admit to a poor first media interaction, and many are still waiting for the instant replay. On the social media side, the stakes are just as great.