One of the startup blogs that I follow is written by Sean Murphy, who does sales and business development consulting for startups. A recent post he wrote contained a great passage in response to an article by Morgan Housel titled “I’m Just Now Realizing How Stupid We Are”.
Sean Murphy highlights one of Housel’s lessons learned:
I’ve learned that people’s expectations grow faster than their wealth. The country is richer than it’s ever been. I don’t think it’s as happy as it’s ever been.
and relates it to a startup:
Too many entrepreneurs think that wealth will solve their problems or make up for other shortcomings. I have watched a lot of people get wealthy, very few were improved by it. If they were unhappy or held back by bad habits wealth enabled them to engage in worse behavior and only pointed out the need for personal transformation.
It got me thinking as to why people become entrepreneurs.
I’m not going to claim to be an expert on lean startup methodology. However, I’ve seen a lot of misconceptions about what a lean startup is and how to run one.
I recently saw a post that summarized some of the most important concepts around the lean startup. It was put together by Jeff Bussgang, a general partner at the VC firm Flybridge Capital, for a panel on product-market fit and customer acquisition. It’s a presentation/panel I would have loved to have seen in person. I’m sure there was a lot more substance to the talk than what comes through in the slides.
One of the most overlooked factors of a championship sports team is chemistry. People like to focus on the superstar’s performance, but they neglect to acknowledge that winning a championship is a team effort. A great case in point is last year’s NBA champs, the San Antonio Spurs. They had a solid nucleus of players in Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli, but they didn’t have the star power of the Miami Heat and their big three of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. By playing as a team, the Spurs were able to win, and win convincingly in five games.
Like a championship sports team, team chemistry in a startup is vitally important. It’s just as important as my previous startup lesson on team diversity, if not more so.
There are very few startups that can be run by a single person. While a company may have one founder, it normally takes a team of people for the company to succeed. People need to develop the product or service, someone needs to do the sales and business development, and someone needs to handle all the minutia required to keep a company operational.
Since many different skills and disciplines are required to run a business, team diversity is very important in a startup. By diversity, I’m referring to different types of knowledge and skillsets. People talk about diversity all of the time, but here are some of the more important aspects of diversity that I’ve found in my ten years running a startup software company.
Running a software development business, I am always looking for ways that we can improve. We use agile development concepts to manage our projects, but I felt like we weren’t getting the most out of the agile methodology. In an attempt to get better , I decided to pick-up a book on user stories. It’s one of the basic philosophies of agile development that makes it different from other development methodologies such as classic waterfall and requirements method.
My quest to read one book turned into reading three. In this post, I’m going to do a brief review of each book, and at the end, I’ll share what I learned about user stories and the agile development methodology by reading all three books.
One of my blogging goals for this year is to start a new category about business, startup and bootstrapping lessons I’ve learned while running my own business over the past ten years. I realize that there are many sites out there that cover business and startups. I’m sure I’ll repeat some lessons learned, but I may also share a few new ones. In short, I’m doing it to share my experience and as a way to collect all of the things I’ve learned in one place.
For the first entry, I want to review “The Men Who Built America“, an 8-epsiode mini-series that was on The History Channel recently. It is the story of the first American capitalists who built businesses in the aftermath of the Civil War. It chronicles the rise of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, oil magnate John Rockefeller, steel mogul Andrew Carnegie, financier J.P. Morgan, inventor Thomas Edison, and auto pioneer Henry Ford.