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Showing posts from September, 2019

Where Innovation Happens

As I get closer to a go/no-go decision on a project, I've been thinking about the difference about my vision for the project and the supportive innovations to enable the core innovations The vision combines (in unequal parts) product, core innovation as I imagine it, the application of that core innovation, design, marketing,  developer ecosystem, and business development. The core innovation enables everything else, but it's the application of the innovation that makes it meaningful, useful, and in this case, fun. This week we're testing initial approaches to the implementation for our specific application, and that's where we'll develop the enabling innovations, which is basically where the rubber meets the road. The difference is that the enabling innovation happens at the source of real problems only encountered in the making of something, and in a project like this just getting the essence of it right isn't enough; it also has to be safe, the compone

Projects vs. Startups

Yesterday I spent some time thinking about the difference between my successful starts and my projects, which I'll call R&D that never makes it to market. The start is the most fun, and it can also be the hardest part, and it's certainly the most important: figure out the market, the opportunity, develop vision, design the product, figure out the sourcing if it's a physical product, figure out best methods and user interface if it's a software product (and both if it's both hardware and software), refine the product, find early customers, test, refine, improve, iterate all of that while you also develop the brand, the marketing language, figure out the best sales approach, sales system, sales language, customer support, etc. During that time you're setting up internal systems of communication, accounting, legal, HR, etc, but mostly you wing it until you have more than a few people. And, of course, you have to figure out how to pay the bills. You can

How Cities Can Avoid Ransom: Pull the Plug

About ten years ago a shipment of flowers from Latin America to the Miami Airport was found to have a dangerous insect not native to the US; it could have had (and maybe has) disastrous impact on the US flower industry were it to survive further north. It must be an impossible job to try to keep bugs and viruses that don't belong here out of the US; imagine how many carriers of viruses just boarded a plan somewhere else. Hold that thought. This Internet Thing Is Gonna Be Big I remember trying to convince a customer back in the 90's (before ChiliSoft) that this Internet thing was gonna be big, and the dozen ways it would make them faster, stronger, better than their competition--or whatever the pitch was back then. More efficient, less money. Tastes great, less filling. It took some time, but eventually most businesses adopted the Internet in some way--for browsing, email, external services like booking travel, and ultimately apps. Businesses and governments were sold


It's been more than a year since the last loaf of bread left The Lancaster Food Company bakery. The half life of grief might be about six months, but the final final move-out wasn't until February of this year; the main was November 30th of last year. So I'm crossing a threshold about now, looking forward more, but still examining what went wrong, what went right. It's a lot less painful when I remember three things: we did a lot of good for some people, I did everything I could, as did my partner, and people weren't buying enough what we were selling fast enough. The regrets pop up now and again, but less frequently, and I'm learning to just welcome them in, serve them tea, then send them on their ways. One regret is foundational: we didn't ask ourselves what the best possible product line would be. I did question bread because of the reliance on plastic, but that's not the right business model question, but this is: If we're going to make fo