Friday, November 30, 2007

Bootstrapping - the Third Way of Entrepreneurship

When I started the BD Tech Daily blog posts, I mentioned that bootstrapping is a third way of entrepreneurship, differentiated from the cookie-cutter/franchise and VC/funding approaches. Bootstrapping is actually an integration of these two paths. It brings together the low-cost features of the cookie-cutter, while generating the innovation of the VC. I hope this has become more clear as we have covered the 5 stages of Preideation, Ideation, Valley of Death, Growth and Rebootstrap.

This literal integration highlights the final key concept of the bootstrap process - the dance with duality. The key action of each stage - awaken, demo, sell, build, rebootstrap - is the coming together of two seemingly opposing motivations. The key ability that the bootstrapper and the organization must cultivate is holding these opposites together until they resolve - what Jim Collins has called the genius of the AND in his seminal book, Built to Last.

Each opposing motivation will seem to want to consume the other. Rather than allow this "collapse," the bootstrap holds both together until they resolve. In the VoD, the purity of the demo has to be resolved with the needs of customers. Notice how the Google founders found a way to do both. This Dance with Duality is symbolized by the yin yang symbol, particularly when seen as a flow diagram, moving around the perimeter and resolving in the center.

In the next series of posts, I will highlight bootstrappers from Bootstrap Austin who are using the various bootstrap principles in their businesses. I also look forward to answering your questions. Please drop me a line at: bdtechdaily AT aviri DOT com.

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