The challenge of a hedging model

A couple days ago, I wrote about entrepreneurship and some level of partial hedging. Actually solving that challenge is, of course, enormously difficult. So much so, that I think it might only really be doable when companies are just starting out, and the equity is worthless. I can see it working in a startup studio… Continue reading

The Stupidity of Entrepreneurs

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… Continue reading

Why You Don’t Split Your Innovation Teams By Stage

(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… Continue reading

Custdev – Everyone Does It. Full Stop.

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… Continue reading

The Value Behind Faster Horses

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… Continue reading

Lean Startup Doesn’t Need Tools

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… Continue reading

Death to Clickbait

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… Continue reading

Making Innovation Unsexy

(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,… Continue reading

Startups: Don’t Wait to Build Exit Relationships

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… Continue reading