Archive

Archive for July, 2010

The important of qualifying leads

July 28th, 2010 2 comments

Over the past year, I worked in excess of 60 hours a week, between my consulting, working full-time and the development of my prototype, and the education/organization aspects of establishing, maintaining and nurturing a startup.

I had the opportunity to learn some very valuable lessons as part of this process. One of these concerns qualifying your leads.

As soon as you have something of value to sell, whether it is a product, a service, a capability or information, you get into conversations with people in your network who want to benefit from what you are peddling. I have noticed that the ones who are the most enthusiastic about your startup’s offering are usually the ones that you want to avoid. They want to essentially spend your R&D budget on solutions that may be of use to them, without investing anything material into the process.

On the other hand, the people who are skeptical, and appear worried about whether they should work with you are the ones who have something at stake. They have a budget that they want to spend, and are weighing whether they should spend it with you, or with some other alternative.

The important thing here is that they have a budget, and that makes them the sort of customer that you want to spend your effort on.

Keep these customers, and the other guys who want to have endless meetings, and let you run with the development and expenses, and be there for the upside without shouldering any of the load, well, it may be time to discuss consultancy fees for advisory services :-)

Unlearning

July 26th, 2010 No comments

I have recently learned that the theories I held dear to me were false and misleading, in economics as well as software development.

Economics theories are based on 18th century physics, with a preponderance of linear models and tons of assumptions. We don’t do physics that way, and doing economics that way will only lead to more financial crises’ (like we have been experiencing for the past century). Physics has moved on advanced simulations and chaos based maths.

Software development is based on manufacturing theories, with inputs going in through one door, and the work being passed on from specialized function to specialized function until the patched, reworked product comes out the other door. Manufacturing has moved on, with the most successful firms employed continuous learning and root-cause analysis to ensure that quality problems never show up in the first place. Read more about this on these excellent posts by Eric Ries on the Five Whys for Startups and the Startup’s Rules for Speed.