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10 Ways Startups Can Say No

Nice quote from Warren Buffet from John from Beacon Maker. “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say “no” to almost everything.” More startups die from doing too much than from lack of opportunity.   Think about this when; You’re thinking about new features. Either remove another feature or SAY NO. You’re thinking about new customers/markets. Either stop focusing on your current customers/markets or SAY NO. When someone asks you to be white label. Either say yes and only be a white label, or SAY NO. When a deal looks like ‘once in a lifetime’. Either sell them the same way you sell to everyone else, without derailing your roadmap, and without changing your focus, or SAY NO. When an investor says that you should change your focus to something you don’t know about or care about. Think very very carefully and even then probably SAY NO. When a customer says they will pay you for a feature you don’t think all customers need. SAY NO, or at least “not right now”. When a new platform comes out and people ask you to support it. Unless your existing platform is not nailed completely, SAY NO. When you get invited to more than two events per week, […]

Focus + Ambition = Flearn

One of the hardest things to do as an entrepreneur is to hold both laser focus and huge ambition in their heads, hearts and hands at the same time. It’s not just a challenge, it’s actually an important part of making it a success. I found a great video by legendary radio broadcaster Ira Glass about his lessons around living with the gap between your current ability and your ambition. A comment he makes which is absolutely true for entrepreneurs is that you must complete a volume of work to get the full lesson and close the gap between your focus and your ambition. You can’t just whiteboard it, business plan it, forecast it. You have to do it. You have to put a proposition in front of a customer, get them to say yes, try to deliver the value of your ambition and then evaluate whether you did. Then you can learn a tiny slither of the wisdom you need to bridge the gap. Then you can go and test again. This flearning at it’s best. Yes there will be a gap. There has to be. Stop quoting Steve Jobs about insanely great every time. Yes he got there some times, but he never go there first time. Even […]

Commoncraft of Twitter: Beauty

I just saw the Commoncraft video of Twitter in plain English as shown below. It’s beautiful in so many ways. Firstly, it’s just a pleasure to watch. It’s fun and light and easy. Secondly, it tells the story to the point and with a lovely light layer of interestingness (Van Halen Rawks!). Thirdly, Twitter was able to be told like a skit with plain English and little cartoons. This says so much about your application. If you can’t get someone interested in it in 30 seconds and understanding it in 2 minutes, then go back, cut it in half and try again. Please reread this last point. Tragically, that last point is something I know is true but know is hard. And it gets harder as you go along. Without further ado, here is the Beauty;