The Start-Up Chronicles: Chapter 2. Who, Part 2

My Idea’s Unhidden Agenda, also known as, Work-For-Attribution, and how I hope it will attract community members and contributors – the Who.

Imagination: Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Leaders create things that didn’t exist before. The do this by giving the tribe a vision of something that could happen, but hasn’t (yet).

You can’t manage without knowledge. You can’t lead without imagination.

Tribes, Seth Godin

idea - who
idea - who
Trying to avoid my own Groundhog Day

As written in my Part 1, I needed to find a way build on my lessons learned and try my best to avoid repeating any errs of the past. But even more than needing a way to attract members to my new tribe, I needed to find a way to give them an environment where they could go beyond simple contributions. I needed to find a way for them to build their own opportunities, own quests and maybe even their own tribes.

The Unhidden Agenda

So a little while back, I came up with the following for my collaborators:

How to make this viral
I was also wondering how to make this a community project where we could create the engine and enable/empower other communities to use/build/extend it for purposes we haven’t yet considered, or, may simply not be in our domain of expertise.  In other words, make it “viral”.

This is what I’ve come up with so far
The core engine – to be defined later, is the center of our community.  If you’ve read Seth Godin’s Tribes then you already know that every community needs a leader.  That would be me – Steven Milstein.  And while this is not a democracy, that certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t hear & listen to the members of this tribe.  Now that may sound harsh but, please hear me out – I’m not finished yet.

Since you’re here reading this, then I’m going to guess that you like the idea, or, appeal of leading – maybe even a tribe of your own.  It may not be today, but someday in the foreseeable future.  If this is not the case, then I deeply encourage you to give this some thought.  Because what I’d like to see is each of us exploiting this opportunity to seed own tribes with this core engine.

Unhidden agendas
What I’d like is for each of us to create an entry here with our Unhidden Agenda.  Describe what it is you hope to gain by investing your time, energy, maybe money, in this venture?  (Don’t tell what you can, or, cannot invest.) You have to be honest & you have to be passionate.  Once approved/agreed upon, this Agenda will then represent your social contract to this endeavor.  Break your Agenda, break your contract – you’re out.

I’m not dead certain about this idea & am certainly open to your feedback.  But until then, I think this Unhidden Agenda Model will scale & encourage others to not only participate but contribute.  And if we truly believe in outside-in agile/scrum software development & we strive to maintain the integrity of the core engine then each of us should be able to fulfill our agenda.

For example
My (Steven’s) Unhidden Agenda will elaborate on how I’d like to be the product manager/owner of some leading edge social software product. I’ll go on to say how I want to use this endeavor to prove that I can not only be just that but, also have a touch of vision and more importantly, that I deliver.  I’d also like to boast about the community/communities I seeded and onboarded to social software.

I imagine [Retail IT Guy/Gal] ‘s entry will focus on their retail domain of expertise & how they would like to cultivate their own tribe.

For [Software Engineer Guy/Gal], I can see them seizing the opportunity to build the core engine in their own technical fashion and then sharing & expanding its APIs with the technical community of this growing social network.

Next steps
As I said earlier, this is not written in stone but I would like to find a way to make this more than three guys who live in Montreal.  If we’re all somewhat comfortable with this approach, then here’s what I see happening next:
1. Work & finalize on our agendas
2. Get to work on building a simple proof-of-concept
3. Start blogging about what we’re doing here & post your Unhidden Agenda
4. Find & contribute to your related communities
5. Seek feedback from others & maybe ask a select few join us in our Community
6. Invite some of those to publicly blog their own Unhidden Agenda in the hopes of gaining admittance to this exclusive community – exclusivity matters. (If you believe Seth Godin.)

My back of the napkin “Work-For-Attribution Agreement”

While I originally sought a lawyer’s opinion about the Idea’s monetization possibilities, I was immediately told not to proceed without securing my copyright and ownership of “said” Idea. And that’s when I had visions of Groundhog Day. To be very clear. I did not then, nor do I now, have any money. I did not then, nor do I now, have the time, nor the resources to expend on fantasies and illusions of gazillion dollar exit strategies. This is my Reality Check. (By the way, if you click on any of the links that lead to Amazon and actually buy the book, then I get something back – although I quite honestly don’t even know that that is yet, through their Associates program.)

So as of today’s date, this is the best I can offer:

Whatever work you contribute will be considered “work made for hire” and for whatever reason that may not hold up, then the agreement will be considered a “copyright assignment” from you to my company – Milstein & Associates Inc.

Sounds harsh, eh? But, it is what it is. I’ll post this digital back of the napkin version in the Idea’s community site so folks can sign up – at least in the digital sense.

Now in lieu of any payment, what I hope to do – subject to lawyer approval, is offer an Attribution for your contributions. Something like movie credits, or, if you open Adobe Reader, click on the Help, About, Credits button – for starters. Ideally, as stated in the Unhidden Agenda, I would have to provide a mechanism and venue for folks to discover and explore your contributions, maybe even for you to start your own tribe.

Up next – The Community Venue

My next post will be about the Idea’s Community site and who would be its target audience.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Start-Up Chronicles: Chapter 2. Who, Part 1

Here are some lessons learned from past experiences and how I hope to do things a little different this time when choosing Who will be members of this tribe.

A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea. For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another. A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.

Tribes need leadership. Sometimes one person leads, sometimes more. People want connection and growth and something new. They want change.

You can’t have a tribe without a leader – and you can’t be a leader without a tribe.

Tribes, Seth Godin

idea - who
idea - who
Background post

The Start-Up Chronicles: Chapter 1. An Idea, Five Ws and one H

Lessons learned

Back in Connecting the dots – Part 2, I mentioned my previous dot com experience. Looking back, here’s some of the lessons I learned;

  1. Having a great idea and the ability to code it is simply not enough. Like it or not, you need others. Others who understand things like marketing, sales, support, service, administration and more. However, you just may not need them all from Day One.
  2. Too many chiefs (partners): We had too many voices, too many opinions, too many circumstances requiring votes where majority rules and even Super Majority Rules. Oddly enough, most of these issues were valid & necessary – at some point in time. And that’s exactly my point. At some point in time, we would have to discuss these issues at length. But that time never came.
  3. The “What If This Thing Is Worth A Gazillion Dollars One Day” Scenario: A pre-condition to this scenario is that you have to deliver something that could be worth a gazillion dollars one day. We exerted too much time and energy discussing, fantasizing, negotiating, bickering and haggling over this scenario. We really should have poured that energy and passion into the pre-condition.
  4. Lawyers and accountants: You need these people. You not only need them, but you need to talk to them pretty much from the start. But talk first. Do your best to net-it-out as much as possible. If you’re lucky, you’ll know someone who’ll say something like:

    Drafting an agreement like this and getting all the parties to finalize, could cost you around $10,000 – assuming everyone agrees in principle. But even with that in place, it could be always be argued that … On the other hand, you could just write … on the back of a napkin and get everyone to sign it. Of course that could always be contested too, but at least you’ve got a signed agreement in principle and $10,000 to pay me when you at least have money coming.

And that is the final point. If you don’t have any money coming in then you would not be contesting a dirty old napkin.

How to choose “Who”

So now I needed a way to invite others to help me with my quest. But on top of all my above issues, I had one more whopper. I had no money to pay anyone. Offering equity in nothing would only condemn me to repeating my errs of the past. It would be like Groundhog Day, all over again.

Up next –The Unhidden Agenda

My next post will be about my Unhidden Agenda & how I hope it will attract community members and contributors.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Start-Up Chronicles: Chapter 1. An Idea, Five Ws and one H

The time has come to put down the books, close the blogs and simply focus on doing and not learning. Here’s my Idea’s Five Ws and one H.

What’s Your EQ (Entrepreneurial Quotient)? The intent is to test your knowledge of the subject of entrepreneurship, not to test how good an entrepreneur you are, because, there’s no way to measure that. Therefore, scoring high doesn’t mean you’re the next Steve Jobs, and scoring low doesn’t mean you’re not. This makes the EQ test as reliable as the IQ test, but it can’t hurt to have a good working knowledge of the reality of entrepreneurship.

What your score means:
17-22. Your score is high, so you can now focus on doing, not learning.

Reality Check: Guy Kawasaki.

idea
idea
Background

Arising from my three-part Connecting the dots series, here’s the first entry of my Start-up Chronicles where I’ll journal about decisions made and ones coming up; actions I’m taking and those I’m deferring.

Focus on doing, not learning

Take a look on the right sidebar under “Pivotal Reading”. I’ve read all I could read – for now. (FYI, my “idea” image was inspired by Back Of The Napkin.) So it appears the time has come and the stars are aligned to take a shot. To be quite honest my idea is not the kind of stuff that will change the world but it might just change a few things for a few people. And if I could do that, well that’s pretty good for starters.

My Five Ws (and one H)

In the interest of keeping things short and sweet, I’ll briefly blog about my Idea’s Five Ws (and one H). However, I’ll save the What entry for when there’s actually a piece of executable code for you to try for yourself.

Next up – Who

My next post will discuss the Who decision-making part of my Idea.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]