lean startup

What I Learned From Running Startups Unplugged

This was the first time I truly used Customer Development to build something. Generated revenue (a little, anyway) almost immediately Got me talking to new people immediately Led me to abandon my initial thoughts about running this course Also, I was asked to speak at an event next week. I’m going to try to condense part […]

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Mentoring at StartupWeekend… and Then Teaching There

I had a great time mentoring at NYC’s recent StartupWeekend. This was the first StartupWeekend I ever attended, but it made me think that the teams I saw would have looked very different a couple years ago when I was getting started. First, there was a good mix of people: developers, UX, design, marketing, business […]

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Columbia student pitch practice

Today is the last day of Startups Unplugged – The Columbia Edition. It’s pitch practice time. For those of you involved, be prepared, because your audience will be tough. But also think about how you can learn most from this experience. Sure, there are tons of pitch events around town. But there aren’t that many […]

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Some things that will help you learn how to improve your startup

Some things that will help you learn how to improve your startup

Recently, a couple people in the Startups Unplugged class asked me to take a more formal descriptive approach and talk about the general principles that help you learn how to improve your startup. I’m including some personal experiences from when I was building my startup Chatfe (these are mostly examples of things that didn’t go […]

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You can’t sing about that yet

I remember seeing an older singer, whose life was a drama worthy of a movie, tell a younger singer struggling with a song “you’re not old enough to sing that yet.” Think about this… Have you tried to build something and seen it go nowhere? Been delighted when people tell you your idea is cool? […]

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How to be worth your 0%

I was contacted to be a mentor for a graduating student who wanted to work at a startup, something I was happy to do. But the first question he asked me when we met was “What percentage equity should I get? Because I don’t want to get screwed.” I almost ended the meeting right then. […]

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The questions you ask determine the answers you get

I recently participated in a brainstorming group to help a friend generate ideas for her startup. First of all, it was a lot of fun. My friend had the session led by a creative brainstorming trainer, organized it very well and I think got a lot out of it. I’m looking forward to seeing what […]

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No bubble in methodology

Remember what happened after the dotcom bubble? People ran away from anything startup related. B2B and B2C became Back to Banking and Back to Consulting. Companies that survived removed the “.com” that they had added to their official business names. But did we learn anything from passing through that bubble? Maybe we learned how not […]

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My four favorite arguments for why customer development is stupid

Every once in a while someone tells me that they’re intentionally not doing any customer development. Here’s a list of the reasons I’ve gotten for this. – “This is so cool, how could anyone not want this?” Actual words a startup said to me about their product. Even when they identified a niche that would […]

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