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Showing posts from November, 2012

Saving the Stream

I wasn't close with Doug, who died this week from colon cancer. It was already 4th stage at the time they discovered it, and the typical "kill or be killed" chemo approach didn't work. By summer he was looking pretty skeletal. My brother's partner, Carol, is Doug's older sister, and I know her a lot better. Great woman, deeply caring. It was tough to see her go through the same process my brother, family and I did when Dad died in 96, wasting away until he was gone. But my point isn't about death and dying, though it's on my mind. Doug's a Facebook friend and is well-loved in this community. I've been reading through the wall posts, and many are touching. Some are awkward; it's always tough to know what to say. But it occurred to me that these posts are disappearing into the ether along with his being, and it seems a shame. I'm certain there has to be a service for that, and if there isn't, it's time for that. Facebook i

Execution: Getting to Revenue

A non-linear brain dump on getting to revenue. What is the basic transaction that generates revenue Who is the seller. If it's you, great. You can work on you. If it's somebody else, you have to recruit them and help them be better sellers, like eBay does.  Who is the buyer? Do you understand the buyer? She's not a customer until she buys, and buying is a process in most cases, not an impulse. You're not selling impulse crap at the cash register.  Develop a customer profile--what does the perfect customer look like? What do they do? Why is your product relevant to them? Can you save them time, money, pain, hassle? Don't sell enhancements--sell pain relief.  How do you find your customers? What is your value proposition? Why should we care? Why should we part with our money on your behalf?  How do they find you? They've never heard of you. They hear from your marketing, a friend, voices in their head--somewhere--that there's this product that can hel

Startup Over-Confidence of Network Effects

Network effects have been on my mind lately--a lot--and since Fred referenced the term yesterday I made a few comments and did some core research to validate/invalidate my assumptions and gut. I  feel there's lack of understanding about the dynamics and efficacy of network effects. Typically we refer to Metcalfe's law and talk about a pure environment , where every node that's added to the network is universally and always available.  When we apply this to human networks, the environment is not so pure and not reliable. We need to consider  half-life, diminishing returns, dead stops, time limits of each human node, etc. When applied to web-connected devices (nodes), flow is largely unimpeded, with messages/signals reaching the intended destination, and the response is highly likely (even taking into account the rare device failure, like a switch going down, or your wifi router, etc).  But networks of people have limits because people have limits like time, a

Rediscovering Dad

One of my biggest influences in life was my Dad, who died on this day in 1996. We started Versicom together with my co-founder, who, quite tastefully, quit the day before Dad died of esophageal cancer saying something about my Mother that you can learn about in the book. It was an ugly thing that ended up with the police escorting him out of the building, and me finally going home to see Dad on his last full day. For the past 16 years, I've never really properly grieved, opting for suppression and other methods of denial and comfort. I'm pretty sure his last words to me were "go get 'em Char". At least that's what I choose to remember, because he said it often, encouraging me frequently. I needed it. As part of that, I also never visited his gravesite. I think about it every year, and for some reason I just didn't want to show up, partly because I don't believe he's really there, and partly because it would lead to more self reflection than I w