Art of the Start

I attended Art of the Start conference yesterday, much of which was taken from the book you see […]

I attended Art of the Start conference yesterday, much of which was taken from the book you see here. It was a fun day, although I had to wonder what was motivating Garage to hold the conference. Certainly not money, the conference is peanuts compared to their usual money making exploits. I suspect maybe trying to reduce headaches from bad pitches… or perhaps it was one of their constant themes, pay back the world for your good fortune. Anyhow, good stuff, and the book is highly regarded!
My notes from the first session follow.

art of starting

  1. Make Meaning
    it’s hard, so you aren’t going to do it just for the money. Do you want to
    • make the world a better place?
    • increase the quality of life
    • right a wrong
    • prevent the end of something good?
  2. Make a mantra: mission statements are long, painful and essentially useless because they have to please everybody. if you need one use the dilbert mission statement generator. otherwise a simple three word mantra is better– it can be recalled by everyone from the receptionist to the board.
    examples: Wendy’s “healthy fast food”, Fedex “peace of mind”
  3. Get going
    • think different, real different. 25% different is not enough to make a start up worth it.
    • polarize people. making everybody happy makes bad stuff.
    • find soul mates. Being an entrepreneur is lonely. you need someone to lean on, keep you sane, question your point of view.
      there are typers and prototypers. The typers like work, powerpoint, excel.. the prototypers like compilers, notepad… be a prototyper.
  4. Define a business Model
    • be specific
    • keep it simple (prefers tech revolution, but not business model revolution)
    • copy somebody.
    • ask women’s opinion. I’m not sure how I feel about this, but he says men have a flaw in their DNA< if you say to a man, we're going to kill Microsoft or kill oracle, the man roars "yes" but a woman will ask how and why, and what else... less urge to kill ofr the pleasure of it.
  5. Weave a MAT (milestones, assumptions, tasks)
    a milestone is something big, you’d call your spuse about, like “we finished the design” or “we shipped”. Assumptions are all the guesses “sales calls per day” “customer ROI” “tiem to set up” and tasks are all the little things you do to get to milestones and test assumotions “rent an office” “hire a programmer”
  6. Niche Thyself

  7. Follow the 10/20/30 rule
    • 10 slides
      the slides are: title, problem, solution, BizModel, Underlying magic, market&sales, Competition, team, projection, status & tiemline.
    • 20 minutes
    • 30 point font.
  8. Have Infected People
    many VC’s say it’s all proven team, proven team, proven team sometiems unproved can be the better risk.
    • ignore the irrelevent (how does being a VP at microsoft make you ready to deal with a tiny team and shoestring budget?)
    • hire better than yoruself
    • apply the shopping center test
      this is if you saw the canidate at the shopping center, woudl you
      a) rush over to talk them into coming to the company
      b) shrug and think, well, it’s a small place, if we run into each other, so be it or
      c) get in your car and go to a different shopping center.
      only hire the person if the answer is a. He later says this is the same test for choosing a VC.
  9. Lower the barrier to adoption
    yes, true believers, he’s talking good old UCD
    • flatten learning curve (make it EASY to use)
    • don’t ask people to do something you wouldn’t (if your nuclear powered mousetrap requires driving two states over to be rid of the radioactive corpse, it’s a bad idea if even if it’s the best mousekiller ever)
    • embrace your evangelists (example, mac users who sell macs all the time)
  10. Be a Mensch (a honest, gentle, trusted good person)

    • help people who cannot help you back.
    • Do the right thing the right way
    • pay back society

recently found: transcript of Guy’s talk

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