All posts filed under: business

When to speak up

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business / life

“Rooting for your team to fail is as bad as it sounds. Even if you said early and often that this path was a stupid one, that this destination makes no sense–if you’re on the plane, if you’re in the meeting, if you decided to play the game–then once the journey starts, your job is to get us there, safe and sound.” I’m 100% guilty of this. I will bitch and moan like there’s no […]

Why I’ve gone off VC

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business

When starting a new “startup”, the most likely course of action is MVP, VC, Exit, Profit! For NewsTrapper we were thinking of going down the YCombinator/TechStars route, but at the last minute decided to try bootstrapping it ourselves. The main reason is that I think there are a lot of valuable lessons to learn trying to go through the whole process of bootstrapping with very little budget, but another factor is that recently I’ve been […]

Do what matters most

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business

Something that I find a real struggle is staying focused on developing features that actually matter to the end user. Working on NewsTrapper it’s extremely easy to continually work on the more technical Solr/NLP side of things, after all that’s the real heart of the system and where all the challenging work is. The trouble is, improving that part of the system isn’t what’s holding us back from being able to launch. The point of […]

Don’t spend money to start your business

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business

You’ve got a new business, you need to get it off the ground, what do you do? Do you spend money on advertising, marketing, sales? No! It’s easy to sit and think you’re doomed because you don’t have a budget. But that is not how small businesses get off the ground. The only expenditure you need to make is one that is paid for in blood, sweat and tears. There are countless examples of businesses […]

If you’re not shipping, you’re sinking

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business

Shipping is not easy. Shipping might actually be the hardest part of creating anything. When the moment comes to ship your head is filled with questions and doubts (Thanks Lizard Brain). “What if I’ve made mistakes?” “What if I’ve missed something?” “What if there are bugs?” “What if no one likes what I’ve done?” “Oh if I could just get this extra feature in.” This fear makes shipping hard and as a consequence we push […]

Boring work is important work

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business

Whether your starting a new project, company, job etc, you all too easily get caught up in the initial whirlwind of getting things off the ground. It’s exciting creating that new empty git repository, making your first few initial commits and hobbling together the start of what you imagine to be the next startup success story. Then a few weeks in that excitement fades and you’re faced with an ever-increasing mountain of tedious and boring […]

Why I’m Doing It All Wrong

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business

The only thing that I’ve ever done right in my life is to doggedly pursue the things that I’m interested in. To the detriment of everything else. No matter what anyone else says. Pursuing my interests regardless of what anyone says has worked well for me. I’m naturally interested in business. I’m naturally interested in coding and design. I’m naturally interested in writing. And so my goal is this: to be able to do those […]

Successful people are successful

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business / life

…always optimise for personal growth, for building your “success pool” that you can leverage to go from smaller successes to bigger successes. Steer away from choices that reduce this personal asset. Excellent article on what it take to be successful. When we were working on our startups, we always shoot for the stars. Every bet was an all or nothing one, where revenue and profits were problems for the future. A lot of those decisions […]

The Lean Startup

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books / business

I finally finished reading The Lean Startup. The main gist is that we need to be creating fast feedback looks for products/changes we make, so that we can quickly see what is and isn’t working. It’s a good extension of what to do once you have you minimum-viable product up and running, as it’s easy to fall into the trap of just adding features, without actually adding any value. I especially liked the parts on […]

Iceberg features

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business

Iceberg features are where on the surface they seem small and simple while backed by a huge un-seeable chunks of functionality and processes. Like their real counterpart they come in many different shapes and sizes. From the “Oh, just add an extra field to this form”, which in-fact impacts the business logic, to “Just copy this feature on site X”, without taking into consideration the processes that go on behind the scenes. I’m sure we’ve […]

Monkeys in a cage

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business

Five monkeys are caged together and there are some bananas hanging from the top of the cage. Some scientists attach an automated device for sensing if the bananas are moved; once a monkey tries to get any, an electric shock travels through the cage so that all monkeys get shocked. In the beginning, a single monkey climbs up to the bananas, touches them and every monkey gets shocked. So he doesn’t try anymore, but the […]

Working on the edges

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business

Imagine your business is a lovely big garden. You tend to the flowers, water the plants, and place your seeds carefully in the hope that a few months down the line they’ll blossom into a beautiful array of colours. But you don’t mow the lawn. As time goes by, your lawn gets overgrown and filled with weeds, eventually swallowing up all the hard work you put into your flower beds. Would you do this? Of […]

The details of technology

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business

I dreamt last night that a load of “business” people had been suddenly injected into our company. I got into an argument over the difference between two different hosts, stating that they are the same while someone else jumped in stating that they are totally different while citing various technical reasons, that really made no difference to the delivery of the project. A while back I turned down working on an idea some acquaintances had because I […]

Copy your idols as they were, not as they are

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business / life

Most dreams are driven by our desire to be like our idols. We all want to achieve what they have, whether that’s to be as successful/famous/rich/fit/etc as they are. So to do that, we naturally look at what they do and imitate that. If that’s what you’re doing, STOP! Imitating them as they are right now, is not going to get you to where you need to get to. To achieve the same, you need […]