Thursday, July 31, 2008

I must be CRAZY

On July 21 I addressed the Ideation Subgroup of Bootstrap Austin, a fine group of beginning Entrepreneurs. They, and I, follow Bijoy Goswami's Bootstrapping ideas about the flow from worker bee to business Entrepreneur, in this case you start with and idea, create a Demo, and then proceed with raising some money to get on with business.

As usual I found my self 1) running overtime about 45 minutes with the help of lots of questions from the listeners, and 2) yelling a lot, no one has ever tagged me as Mr. Congeniality. Many are appalled at my choices of adverbs and adjectives when talking about such things as VCs, bit-time CEOs, and corporate careers; but I get laughs and a few lights blink on (you can see it in their eyes) so it is not in done vain.

My son pointed out to me that my primary message is always the same; Francis Bacon was wrong, knowledge is not power, it is a mental holding pattern. Knowledge plus action is power, and in the end we do pretty much everything today for power. The difference between being an entremanure and an entrepreneur is action.

So again the theme is get off your ass and do something, customers will give the final idea so you can start with almost anything close. Only your personal insecurity retards the progress (it's called the "BOX", the one you are always trying to think out of). Just take it to the customer as soon as possible, they will straighten you out.

As short story before I close this testimony. I went to a presentation review for entrepreneurs a couple of months ago. I was a mentor along with a couple of other guys and we listened to a presentation by a couple of folks with an idea that they had poured $70k and a year into for software. They were looking for half a million and wanted us to comment on the presentation. They launched off on the idea, the pitch was all laid up on PowerPoint (which is only slightly better than morphine for numbing your mind). Five minutes into it I stopped it and asked - The Question..."What did the customers say?" The CEO told me that they had not presented this to any customers yet, only friends, family, and experts (someone who used to be call "Pert").

Well, I alienated everyone in the room with my usual question (delivered in my drill Sergeant's voice) . . . "What the F*** are you doing? Without customer feedback this is all a work of fiction! You made this all up, there is no reality in this presentation, only you dreams."

How can I comment on fiction in a real world? The other two mentors went on to talk about the cute slide show and how to make it cuter, they were corporate guys used to living in a cartoon. I got up and left. I don’t live in a fictional world (I may be delusional at times but not that day). They were too polite to deal with the truth, what a waste of everyone's time.

The truthache you have to have is the customer's reaction – will he give you a check for your idea when you can get it to work and what does "work" mean???

Nothing else counts!

Barry W Thornton is technologist, who organizes, manages and explains knowledge. Copyright Barry W Thornton 2008 all rights reserved

No comments: