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Showing posts from December, 2012

End of Year Hustle

Are you working today?

Your customers might be--depends on the industry of course. I am--lots to crank through so I"ve been at it since 7. It's going to be a long day, and then there's this apparently some party tonight but I'm probably going to miss it.

Trade contractors are working today, so Joe over at Current is hitting the phones and email, setting up demos and meetings locally, working on establishing the base of customers. And he's reaching them--it was a good idea to not take today off, because Current's prospects haven't either.

Like tax changes have created a last-minute crunch to either sell stock, sell companies, or pay dividends. Today is the last day a company can declare and pay dividends for shareholders to get this year's 15% tax rate. So a bunch of lawyers and execs are toiling away today, too.

Some companies that pay dividends have chosen not to accelerate their dividends dates, which I could understand if they were scheduled for lat…

Discovery

I have a bunch of favorite West Wing episodes, but this one comes to mind--Season 3, Episode 16: Dead Irish Poets.

Sam's former professor is dying and comes to DC to advocate for the superconducting supercollider. A key Senator is blocking the funding of the super-conducting super-collider.

Just before the dialog below, Sam and the Senator have a rough conversation and the Senator walks out, but Sam calls him back, apologizing and appealing to him.

Senator: "If we could only describe what benefit it has--no one's been able to do that"

Professor: "That's because great achievement has no roadmap. But the Xray's pretty good. So is penicillin, but neither were discovered with a practical objective in mind. And when the electron was discovered in 1897 it was useless. Now we have an entire world run by electronics. Haydn and Mozart never studied the classics. They couldn't--they invented them. "

Sam: "It's discovery."
Professor: "…

Checking it Twice

Busy day, crammed full of action. Make that list, set delivery times and dates, knock it out. Map it out--from intended goal back to this moment. Set the path, make that list, get it done. Say it again, this time with feeling.

Have a great day.

Punt to Fred: Following Through

Fred has a great post on following through with your promises. The context is important to note as well--a ton of startups raised seed rounds from angels over the past 18 months. Some of them have or will raise a follow-on round from the angels; fewer will raise a formal venture round. 

And a lot will shut down because they didn't focus on revenue. Talked about it, thought about it, mapped out assumptions, but didn't hustle for customers. 

Last year I made a long (-winded) list of predictions for 2012. I'll revisit those on Monday, but I'll point out the ones that were obvious--and relevant to Fred's post: 
The angel funding boom will subside as investors start to experience what happens when seed-stage funding runs out and founding teams scramble for bridges to nowhere. This will create opportunities for early-stage venture funds, which will have had a lot of their homework done for them in the seed rounds and inevitable thinning of the herds. There will continue to …

Seinfeld & Startups

The New York Times covered Jerry Seinfeld in yesterday's Sunday Times magazine. If you run a startup, please go read it here http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/magazine/jerry-seinfeld-intends-to-die-standing-up.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.

You might think you're an artist, but you need to be a craftsman, constantly refining your work.

This piece reminded me of the importance of practice, the importance of obsessing on the small details. Some people describe me as not detail oriented, but that's only some details. There's nobody involved with Mission Research who knows the deal terms and Articles like I do, or the cap table, or the market.

That's not a boast, it's an admission. I obsess over certain things, and research like hell. Too much in some cases. I miss other details that matter, but knowing that I'm more aware of it.

Communication is one; managing communications is an important practice, and when I'm on top of it I obsess about every word, the t…

Sustainability Before Greatness

A study was featured on Techcrunch about the number of seed-funded startups that won't get additional funding. It's very real, and something you should be considering as you build your businesshttp://techcrunch.com/2012/12/19/study-more-than-1000-seed-funded-startups-are-destined-to-be-orphaned-at-the-series-a-stage/ We're building businesses. Investment is one source of capital, but the best source is from customers. We should all be mapping out what it takes to get to sustainable revenue given minimum number of employees/costs/etc. Don't assume you'll be able to continue raising capital--or any at all.  So what's your plan to get to sustainability?

The Dial Tone of Ops

Startups begin with hope and vision of success. That's great and important.

But when it's time to really rock--you're ready to launch (or you think so), you're mapping out strategy, and you're ready for revenue. It's time to go from zero to one, the hardest part of building your company.
What will your dial tone of operations be?

(if you already have ops established, please take this survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/T3VKY39 thanks)
If you're young enough, you might not even know what dial tone means. So let's go to the wayback machine and see. 
In the grand Olden Days, there were these things called phones--land lines, as we call them now. When you pick up the phone, you hear this dial tone. It's always there.

If it isn't there, your phones are down in all likelihood. When you hear that tone, you know the phone works. 
As a company, you need a dial tone of operations: that reliable, steady, stable, expected performance of all of your operatio…

Startup Lancaster Featured Company: Delivery Crowd

Yesterday I posted about Current Estimating/Proposal software. Joe is one of Startup Lancaster's members; the group only allows founders of startup tech product companies.

(We did invite Yale Eastman to join us once, who founded Thermacore in the 1970, which is local and makes thermal management stuff for the tech industry, like the coating on certain processors to handle the heat).

To get back into daily blogging, I'm going to feature startups that are members of Startup Lancaster. In the case of DeliveryCrowd, it started when Fran and Ryan met and shot the shit at one of our meetups and they came up with idea. Something like that anyway.

Last night, DeliveryCrowd did a test run of its crowd-sourced delivery service. Founders Fran and Ryan served as crowdies--independent drivers who handle deliveries for restaurants without delivery service.


Drivers set their own prices, schedule, and driving zone, and customers pick an available driver if more than one are available.

They ha…