You’re facing two term sheets and have boiled them down to the most relevant facts, listed below. Which do you choose? Deal 1 $1mm total$500k now, plus commitment to help close $500k more from other angelsRoughly 33% dilution for full round ($2mm pre-money) Highly experienced, top-tier angelsVision for B2B, sales-driven technologyRequires team … [Read more...] about Two Investment Deals Are on The Table. Which Do You Sign?
The language we use for startup stages (discovery, validation, customer creation, company building) is abstract. The lines are blurry. And if jumping ahead of yourself is the #1 cause of startup death, that’s a problem. So here’s another way of thinking about the stages of a startup in visual terms using the business model canvas. It’s based around three … [Read more...] about A New (Old?) Model for Understanding The Stages of a Startup
I used to blog out of guilt. Every now and then, my investors would sternly suggest I blog more. I’d grumpily obey and then point to the flat traffic graph as clear evidence of blogging’s fruitlessness. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy of fail. I’ve written previously about my first month of serious blogging in terms of performance & initial thoughts. A couple months … [Read more...] about Blogging for Your Business Is Worth It Even if You Get no Traffic
Good people end up giving bad startup advice in two ways. First, it happens when the advice is given irrespective of which stage of the startup lifecycle the company is in. Second, it happens when opinions are given about whether the whole idea is “good” or “bad”. Experts can often provide excellent insight about the practicality of a specific element of the business … [Read more...] about Getting and Giving Good Startup Advice
You have a profitable bootstrapped business with good, linear growth. You’re on track to take over your niche and should be able to hold it, but it’s hard to imagine how you’ll make the leap into the mainstream on your current trajectory. On a bit of a whim, you talked to a major bank and they want to license a white-labelled copy of your whole system. The deal they’re … [Read more...] about Making Decisions
When you start learning to cook, you compulsively follow the recipe. You stress over timing and ingredient ratios and whether the carrots are truly and properly chopped or just somewhat sliced. Over time, you learn where the wiggle room is. A lot of recipes simplify into: Mix it all together and cook on hot-ish with some oil until squishy and then add some cheese. Most … [Read more...] about Cooking Up a Startup
I began doing something properly stupid the other day. I decided I needed to do a survey. You know, to get to know you guys better. So I came up with all sorts of interesting questions. What a dummy! That’s like saying: Today I really want to use a belt sander. Now let’s go find something to sand. I ended up writing some zingers like “What country are you from?” … [Read more...] about Don’t Pick Your Tools Before You Know The Job
Whenever your brain makes a “that’s interesting” noise, alarm bells should be going off. It doesn’t matter whether you’re reading or talking to someone or even sitting alone. “That’s interesting” is the announcement of a sprouting idea, and when you do the polite thing by continuing to listen to the person in front of you, or the auto-pilot thing by continuing to read the … [Read more...] about Are You Still Losing Your Ideas? Cut That Out Right Now.
The approach I follow is a combination of customer discovery and effectuation, constrained by lifestyle goals (and making heavy use of the business model canvas). Begin with constraints Which parts of the business model do you care about? This takes a little bit of soul searching. Start with a business model canvas and fill in the boxes for which you have strong … [Read more...] about 4 Steps to Coming Up With A Great Business Idea
You want to start a company restoring ancient stained glass windows to their former glory. You live in a country rife with cathedrals and have spent a lifetime appreciating these translucent masterpieces, but you don’t have any deep technical knowledge of their restoration. How do you get started? Why is it that most people can intuitively approach this situation … [Read more...] about Abstraction Makes us Stupid at Business