Pivoting for Profit

Just build a _____ profitable business!

David Heinemeier Hansson, This Week in Startups #46 (1:10:45)

My Lessons Learned - Make a Profit
My Lessons Learned - Make a Profit

Reflection

In the spirit of Agile, here’s my retrospective on when we realized the primary objective is to build a business & not to get funded.

Inflating Our Own Bubble

TechCrunch50 2009

Back in June 2009, I read about the TechCrunch50 2009 contest & while we barely had any running code, submitted an entry. My collaborators thought it was a bit of a stretch, but we all agreed it’s nice to set goals. So while trying to get a grip on what was required of us, I immersed myself in TechCrunch stuff. From what I understood, there was a common theme emerging – get funded & get out. And making it to the semi-finals only encouraged me.

I Think Our Bubble Has a Leak

Signed Copy of Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check
Signed Copy of Guy Kawasaki's Reality Check

We thought we had something that was so paradigm shifting, yet so simplistically obvious at the same time, that we’d have no trouble bringing on a CEO to help us reach Jason’s Promised Land. But it wasn’t happening like that. And as time passed, we realized that if we wanted to see our dream change the world then we couldn’t wait on someone else to make it happen.

Paradigm Shifting

That primed us for This Week in Startups #46 with David Heinemeier Hansson | ThisWeekIn.  Fast forward to 1:10:45 and there you have it.  It was paradigm shifting, yet so simplistically obvious. Just build a profitable business and the problem will be solved. Read his and Jason Fried’s Rework and you’ll get it too!

Trolling for Customer Development

The other day I was perusing Twitter when I saw Ben Yoskovitz’s

BeanSprout – a dating website for Business Development Partnerships: http://bit.ly/ivLRyf

A few tweets later, I was signed up and working with one of BeanSprout‘s founders – Artie Patel. I told him “Ideally, we’d like to hook up with someone like Localeze“. To which Artie responded; “They’re a customer of ours. Let’s see what we can do to help.”

Lessons To Learn

I’m actually planning on meeting Artie next week when they present at International Startup Festival – Montreal, Canada, July 13-15th 2011 where I’ll be volunteering for my Starving Startup ticket. Stay tuned for more details about how another startup delivered an awesome experience & whether it can help us learn to build a ______ profitable business.

(Thanks to Greg Meyer for tuning me into  experiences that @delivertheawsome.)

Related Links

Go out there and make some money!

Dan MartellTo Raise, Or Not To Raise | @MapleButter

Meet Greg Meyer: A Maven & a Mensch

I learned this when reading Guy Kawasaki’s Reality Check:

Leo Rosten, the Yiddish maven and author of The Joys of Yiddishdefines mensch this way:

Someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being “a real mensch” is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.

Read more: How to Change the World: How to Be a Mensch

Prize Ribbon
Prize Ribbon

Background

While trolling Twitter for #custdev, I came across You don’t need a business plan yet: 7 ideas for Customer Development « Information Maven: Greg Meyer. I read it, liked it and retweeted it. Shortly after words, I got a thanks mention from @grmeyer. Soon enough, one tweet led to another and then Greg asked for an interview.

Maven

The first thing Greg asked was “What can I do to help you?” – which surprised me because I thought Greg wanted to talk about my Nordie experience he posted on Deliver The Awesome.  Not so. Greg explained he likes being an Information Maven – “a trusted expert in a particular field, who seeks to pass knowledge on to others” – as described in his About.

Within moments, Greg was describing and offering to connect me with four, or, five contacts whom most likely share AnotherSocialEconomy’s Where Demand Comes to Meet Supply vision.  And while it’s always nice to get feedback and introductions from someone who “gets it”, it’s even more of a delight when they come through.

Mensch

Usually, someone coming through with an introduction takes the form of an email with contact info.  But not from the guy who runs a site called on Deliver The Awesome. Within a very short time, Greg sent out emails like:

[contact-name], meet Steven Milstein. Steven is a Montreal entrepreneur. You should know Steven because he’s working on a way to match up qualified buyers with qualified sellers for speciifc commerce / e-commerce needs.  Find out more at http://ReverseTheSearch.co.

Steven, meet [contact-name]. [contact-name] is [title / role]. You should know [contact-name because he’s a good guy and has lots of experience thinking about bringing concepts to market. Find out more at [useful link].

I hope this introduction proves useful!

Regards,
Greg

Networking User Stories

Now that’s an introduction! They remind me of User Stories that take the form of:

As a <type of user>, I want <some goal> so that <some reason>.

Not only were the introductions short & sweet but each were custom wordsmithed, hoping to capture how this introduction may be helpful to it’s recipients.

Mensch-wannabe

To all my friends out there, please follow @grmeyer and @DeliverAwesome, visit and offer up your own service, or, retail experience that made you feel great. You can also follow @GregAtGist, the product marketing guy for Gist – a wild product that melds all your contacts social streams in your own Dashboard, or, my fave, email Inbox.

Update

I’ve been practicing my @grmeyer inspired Networking User Stories whenever the opportunity arises & have to report, if nothing else, it is gratifying.  I’m not good at following-up, maybe because, I know people are inundated with others trying to connect & I don’t want to put anyone in the uncomfortable position of feeling they have to explain their actions, or, lack thereof to me.

But  based on all these networking experiences and months of various styles of breakfast meetings & coffee meetings,  even this post by James Altucher – The 9 Skills Needed to Become a Super Connector Altucher Confidential, I’m really pleased to say that we’re taking apart our startup’s lego blocks & reassembling them to service the needs of power networkers. Once relaunched, we’ll be “taking the mundane out of making it rain” by facilitating half of the skills James mentioned.