Some More Rules For Entrepreneurs!

March 18, 2011

Here are ten rules for entrepreneurs from Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn:

  1. Seek To Create Disruptive Change. Is this massive and different? Example: Skype
  2. Aim Big. It’s the same amount of blood, sweat and tears to build a small company to flip as a big one to change the world.
  3. Build A Network to Amplify Your Company. Your network is a store of distributed intelligence that can enable you. It’s important at the board and investor level and the rank and file.
  4. Plan for Both Good and Bad Luck. Opportunity will cross your path and you’ll have to pivot to reach it. Plan Bs are intuitively easier to plan for.
  5. Maintain Flexible Persistence. Know when to be persistent, when to be flexible and when to be a combination of both.
  6. Launch Early Enough To Be Embarrassed By Your Creation. You’ll probably be wrong about most of of your thesis, and you might as well get the feedback. Perfection is a myth. Get it into the mix. Don’t undervalue the importance of time.
  7. Aim High But Don’t Drink Your Own Kool-Aid. Find friends who will tell you when your baby is ugly.
  8. A Great Idea for a Product is Important. But a great idea for product distribution is more important.
  9. Pay Attention to Your Culture. Worry about getting hiring right from the very beginning.
  10. These Rules are Not Laws of Nature. You can break them.

Rule 4 is an interesting one – I’ve written about incorporating luck in a proactive way previously – see here, here and here.

Picture credit: Peter Arkle


Blogging Tips and Tricks

March 17, 2011

Interesting list of tips and hints on blogging by Tim Bray, who works for Google and has been blogging since 2003.

The list is (details on original post):

  1. Blogging is Healthy
  2. Freshness Matters
  3. Write For Yourself
  4. Spellcheck
  5. Self-Hosting
  6. Two Minds Are Better Than One
  7. Get Yer Ha-Ha’s Out
  8. Be Intense
  9. Cache
  10. You Don’t Speak for Yourself
  11. Predictable Controversy
  12. Competitive Controversy
  13. Math is Hard
  14. Tagging and So On
  15. Lighten Up
  16. Long or Short
  17. Very Short Form
  18. You Can’t Unpublish
  19. You Can’t be Anonymous
  20. When You Screw Up
  22. Trolls

It may be handy to compare with some other lists of insights eg here.

‘Just Do It’ Inspired Product Launch And Lessons Learned

March 9, 2011

Really interesting and motivating post on ‘just do it’ in the context of a recent and profitable ‘mini’ product launch. It starts with giving the impressive stats from the first 60 days:

Total time spent creating the minimally viable product: less than 3 hours

Total startup cost: $47.50 ($5 hosting, $7.50 domain, and $35 wordpress theme)

First paying customer within 10 minutes of launch

copies sold in the first 60 days: 1491

Page views on the original blog post: 40,894

Unique visitors to Keynotopia: 19,235

Link backs/mentions: 769

Total product returns: 2

Total variations/tests on the landing page: 29

Made it to Google’s first results page in less than 2 weeks for the following search terms: iPad prototyping, iPhone prototyping, Android prototyping, Keynote prototyping, Keynote wireframes, …

I’ve never sold any products in my life (except my old laptops on eBay and CraigsList).

Here are the lessons learned up to now (details in the original post):

  1. Sell your byproducts
  2. Kill the “Coming Soon” page, start a conversation instead and provide value before the product is ready
  3. Focus on benefits instead of features
  4. Give away a valuable freebie
  5. Create a list, and start talking with customers
  6. Create embeddable media
  7. Never stop testing
  8. Don’t be afraid to charge for your product, charging for your product is a good excuse for customers to talk to you

There’s a nice insight: “It shifted my perspective from a service-oriented mindset (getting paid for my time) to a value-oriented mindset (getting paid over and over for a value that I used my time to create).”

If this topic interests you, there are quite a few posts on this blog on different lessons learned/learnt in startups and innovation practices eg here.

A Demo Of Wireless Electricity

March 1, 2011

I’ve just come across this engaging talk by Eric Giler (CEO of MIT-inspired WiTricity ) at TED Global in 2009 where he demonstrates using wireless electricity to power up a TV and Google, Apple and Nokia mobile phones.

The idea is so appealing! There’s a basic overview of their approach here and also see the image below (click to enlarge).

A previous post on this subject is one of the most popular I’ve written, indicating a strong interest in the subject!