The Stupidity of Entrepreneurs

April 21, 2015

I was hanging out tonight with a bright young man who said, “A great entrepreneur always bets on themselves.” Context: we were talking about hedging. I asked the question: what if founders could hedge themselves against other startups so that if your company failed, you still had a chance for upside? He disagreed. He felt […]

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Why You Don’t Split Your Innovation Teams By Stage

February 17, 2015

(this post originally appeared on the Neo blog) Andy Weissman of Union Square Ventures wrote a piece the other day on chaos theory and startups. His conclusion was that making decisions, and deciding how you make decisions, is of the utmost importance. There are many approaches to making decisions. My current thinking can roughly be […]

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Do Market Sizing Early, Before You Jump Into “Lean”

February 11, 2015

Powerful new ideas often start with a spark insight: “Carpooling sucks! How can we fix it?” Or “Wow, these new smartphones might allow me to disrupt the entire taxi industry in a way never before possible!” Lean is great, but before you jump ahead with customer development, experiments and MVPs, it is worth taking two […]

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Custdev – Everyone Does It. Full Stop.

February 10, 2015

I see a lot of product teams try out customer development at the beginning of their product journey. But quickly the team gets so busy shipping features and they outsource customer learning to customer support, research or usability specialists, or the sales force. Those are all valuable touch points, but custdev is not a task […]

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The Value Behind Faster Horses

February 5, 2015

David Bland has a funny, and painful, graphic called the Product Death Cycle. It clearly illustrates one of the more dangerous parts of customer development: taking customer ideas literally. The famous line attributed to Henry Ford goes, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse.” Some […]

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Lean Startup Doesn’t Need Tools

January 29, 2015

In 2012, we were testing a bunch of new business ideas for Amex and I thought, “what if we had a tool that let us capture our assumptions, our experiments, and our progress?” So over a couple weeks, we hacked something out and tried it out on a few projects. It was a complete waste […]

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Death to Clickbait

January 28, 2015

I’ve decided I’ve had it with blogger clickbait, in particular the tendency to toss a highly controversial title in front of a non-controversial post. The ones I fall for usually claim that something I believe is wrong (or “dead”). Then they proceed to explain how the idea was right after all, albeit in need of […]

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Making Innovation Unsexy

January 21, 2015

(This post was originally posted on the Neo blog) “None of my inventions came by accident. I see a worthwhile need to be met and I make trial after trial until it comes. What it boils down to is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison, 1929 Many years ago, […]

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Startups: Don’t Wait to Build Exit Relationships

January 12, 2015

Paul Graham’s latest essay warns of losing time and focus to “corporate development” staffers out there sniffing for companies to buy. I agree with him on the corp dev side. But I wouldn’t want people to think that you should ignore potential buyers until “you want to sell your company right now.” It’s a question […]

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What is good product management?

November 24, 2014

I gave this talk to the CTO School in NYC the other week. The focus was on three key topics: what is good product management, how can the head of engineering be a good partner, and how to hire good PMs. Enjoy: What is good product management from Giff Constable

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