Archive for November, 2006

Even More On The ‘C’ Word: The Difference Between Start-Ups and Big Business (or, Partly Why I Joined a Week Old Company Upon Graduation)

Nov 28 2006 Published by under Startup Strategy

Andy Monfried on Value Creation in a Start-up:

“Desire to create and share new ideas in a open environment that breeds and welcomes thoughts and ideas. This is what a startup company is all about. Sharing, laughing and coming up with new thoughts, ways of solving problems, and communication.”

“Many companies and their leaders stray from what made them great originally – (which is understandable as they grow and scale) but what is 110 % unacceptable, is to allow – EGO, AND POLITICS — to crush creativity, and innovation completely…”

If you’ve ever been part of a small company then you know that compromise – driven by things like ego and politics – is not only unacceptable, it’s unsustainable… the company simply won’t exist with it present.

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More On The ‘C’ Word And Careers (or, The Velocity of Gravity and Shift Keys)

Nov 27 2006 Published by under Startup Strategy

Compromising on certain decisions creates short-term “wins”. Wins in the sense that everyone is happy. Unforunately, in the long-run, short-term happiness is rarely a celebrated metric*. That’s why I found myself liking J Allard after reading this article in Business Week.

Compromising would have been an easier route here:

“…Allard insisted that the new Xbox video game console be developed without using Windows. In one meeting, Gates berated him for suggesting that the operating system wasn’t up to snuff. But Allard argued that it wasn’t specialized enough to handle video gaming. Gates eventually relented, in a decision that is widely seen today as a key to the console’s success.”

Gates was a bit miffed at the decision in the short-term, but is surely enjoying the long-run results from the X-Box.

“Never afraid to speak his mind, Allard started pushing buttons way back in 1994, when, as an eager 25-year-old programmer only three years on Microsoft’s payroll, he penned a sea-changing memo titled “Windows: The Next Killer Application on the Internet,” which found its way to Gates. The note, now part of Microsoft lore, helped awaken Gates to the potential and threat of the Web. “I’m a pain-in-the-ass change agent,” Allard says.”

How can I not like someone like this: “I love that gravity is unforgiving,” he says. He even blazes through e-mail, jotting down notes all in lower case: “shift key slows you down,” he writes.

[* for some reason the following exchange entered my imagination “Tom, revenue is down 30 % this fiscal year due to decision Z”. Tom: “Yes, but everyone sure was smiling after that meeting!”]

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Showers, Choice, and the ‘C’ Word (or, Compromise and its Destructive Potential to Early (all?) Careers)

Nov 24 2006 Published by under General,Startup Strategy

There’s a life lesson at the intersection of these two must read posts that extends well beyond product development.

From Joel, Choices = Headaches

From Andy, The Lowest Common Showerhead

They’re long, but well worth the read. Make sure you chew on the point of intersection.

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What We Can Learn From T-Shirts (or, T-Shirts and Changing Value Chains)

Nov 20 2006 Published by under Startup Strategy

Lately I’ve been spending my time thinking about value chains (read: lately I’ve been boring friends by repeatedly steering conversations to deep dives on how value chains are changing).

As an industry is forced to evolve by externalities (i.e. digital disruption across traditional media value chains (the source of my distraction the past few weeks)) there’s tremendous opportunity in figuring out the new value chain and fitting into it.

Here’s something we can learn from t-shirts.

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Quick Reads (Disruption)

Nov 14 2006 Published by under Startup Strategy

Busy. busy. busy. Here’s some interesting articles on Disruption to tide you over.

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