Monday, September 19, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
Festivals like these are really important and leverage Austin's unique communities by brining them together. It reminds me of an earlier post (and discussion within Bootstrap Austin) about how innovation emerges from the borders between distinct fields. The Digitial Convergence Initiative Conference coming up next week is yet another effort along similar lines. Bootstrap Austin is playing its role in this unfolding process through the Bootstrap Ambassador Program.
I'd like to see more of these boundary-spanning initiatives. The innovation that emerges will astound us. Of course, many experiments that come from them will fail, but that is also an intrinsic part of the process.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Jack touched on many issues relevant to Bootstrap Entrepreneurs.
1. Leverage the Maven/Evangelist Power of 2 in your founding team. Jack has consistently complemented his "Mr. Inside"/Maven capabilities with a "Mr. Outside"/Evangelist. While working with someone different than yourself poses a unique set of challenges, it also creates a powerful creative friction and natural separation of roles.
2. Demo, Sell, Build. If you can, do not expend scarce resources you do not have to build the product up front. It's likely you will build the wrong thing anyway. Instead, go with a demo and find a customer who will pay you for it. You will receive invaluable feedback from your customer Once you have the contracts and payment secured, then design and build it.
3. If you have real competitors, you have not scoped your niche down enough. "Competition" does not exist in the classical sense for bootstrappers. In all reality, we don't compete with any of the significant companies in our space. In LSO's case, the "competition" was FedEx/UPS. Jack used a naval analogy to illustrate the point. These companies are like battleships and it's simply not worth their time and effort to re-point their big guns to blow your tiny canoe out of the water. Whatever you do, do not attract attention to your canoe and keep out of the Battleship's way! If you do, it will result in total annihilation. Think Netscape and Microsoft.
4. Manage the transition between the Valley of Death phase and Growth phase. All the rules change as the venture exits the VoD. The founder must change his focus and tactics. New issues will take precedence, such as people management. Often, the people that were critical in the VoD become liabilities in Growth and must be managed carefully or even let go. Founders can be the biggest obstacle. They have to get out of the details and focus on larger issues. Most importantly, start developing leadership capability in the company. Jack's points on leadership echoed those of Neal Kocurek, founder of Radian and the first Bootstrap Austin speaker.
These points were just a few of the nuggets Jack offered to the group.
Thanks for the insights!
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Bootstrap is thrilled to announce the creation of the Bootstrap Ambassador Program. Through this program, Bootstrap will interface with delegates and leadership from other organized communities throughout
I am personally excited to be involved with this initiative. I look forward to stretching the proverbial legs of Bootstrap to showcase our dynamic membership and to get them invovled with the
For a complete listing of organizations targeted to participate in our Ambassador's program, please check out the this link: www.bootstrapaustin.org/blog