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Monday, November 28, 2011

STARTUP IS VISION

The following is a rather unusual guest post. One of the more surreal parts of speaking publicly and putting ideas out into the ether is to watch other people run with them. I can't seem to help tuning into comment threads on blogs, news aggregators, etc. Internet people being what they are, a lot of these comments are nasty, brutish, and short. 

However, every once in a while, I come across someone who consistently corrects other people's mistakes. Someone who seems to get it. And who am I to complain if that someone happens to be a giant robot dinosaur named FAKEGRIMLOCK? As it turns out, FAKEGRIMLOCK is a writer and artist with a unique style. This guest post has been authored entirely by him, and views expressed are his own.

What follows is FAKEGRIMLOCK's perspective on the importance of vision in a startup. He understands that vision and iteration are allies, for there can be no science without vision. Only vision is worth testing. I'll let him take it from here...

STARTUP MORE THAN BRAIN, MORE THAN MONEY, MORE THAN WORK HARD.

STARTUP IS VISION.

STARTUP IS MAKE FIST OF CODE, PUT IT THROUGH THE WORLD.

VISION IS PUT FIST IN RIGHT PLACE, BREAK WORLD IN HALF.


FIRST THING DISRUPT SELF

EVERYONE GOOD AT SEE CAN'T. EVERYONE LIVE IN WORLD FULL OF IMPOSSIBLE.

EVERYTHING THAT MATTER IMPOSSIBLE UNTIL SOMEONE DO IT ANYWAY.

STOP BEING EVERYONE. STARE AT WHY NOT UNTIL IT GIVE UP AND BECOME HOW TO.

STARTUP IS DO THING EVERYONE HAVE EXCUSE NOT TO.

VISION IS STOP EXCUSES, MAKE FUTURE INSTEAD.


NOW GO BIG. THEN BIGGER

WHAT YOUR PRODUCT CHANGE?

IF ANSWER NOT "WORLD", GO HOME. WORLD HAVE ENOUGH LITTLE IDEA. GET OUT OF LINE, DO SOMETHING BIG. NO CAN HAVE VISION LOOKING AT SOMEONE'S BACK.

WHAT IF ONLY HAVE LITTLE IDEA? SMASH IDEA. THROW AWAY DETAIL. THROW AWAY FEATURE. THROW AWAY CAN'T.

INSIDE LITTLE IDEA IS BIG PROBLEM HELD DOWN BY CAN'T. SET IT FREE.

STARTUP IS SOLVE PROBLEM NO ONE ELSE WILL.

VISION IS SOLVE PROBLEM NO ONE ELSE SEE.


SET COURSE TO AWESOME

SMART STARTUP BUILD, ITERATE, FAIL FAST.

WITHOUT VISION FAIL FAST IS JUST LOTS OF FAIL.

VISION NOT HOW. VISION IS WHERE. TAKE EVERYTHING YOU DOING THAT NOT MOVE TOWARDS VISION.

STOP DOING IT.

NOW EVERYTHING MOVE IN RIGHT DIRECTION. TOWARDS WIN. EVEN FAIL.

STARTUP IS FAIL INTO BUILD IMPOSSIBLE.

VISION IS FAIL INTO WIN EVERYTHING.


TEST TODAY, NOT TOMORROW

TEST IMPORTANT. TEST TELL YOU IF BUILD THING RIGHT. TEST ABOUT DETAILS.

ONLY WAY TEST VISION IS WIN.

VISION NOT A BULLETPOINT. NOT GO IN SPREADSHEET. THERE NO ALGORITHM FOR AWESOME.

DETAILS IMPORTANT. FOR ENGINEER. BUILD TOMORROW NOT SAME AS WHAT TOMORROW TO BUILD.

STARTUP IS SEE WINDOW, START BUILDING WINGS.

VISION IS JUMP OUT WINDOW, TRUST WINGS HAPPEN BEFORE GROUND.


NOW MAKE FIST

INTERNET FULL OF WAY TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. LOTS OF STARTUPS OUT THERE MAKE THINGS BETTER THAN YOU.

ONLY YOU FULL OF SEE WHAT THING TO BUILD.

VISION IS SEE WHAT OTHERS NOT, DO WHAT OTHERS WON'T, WIN WHEN OTHERS CAN'T.

VISION LIKE STORY WITH MOUSE AND CHEESE. SOMEONE MOVE CHEESE, MOUSE FORGET CHEESE, INVENT MACHINE GUN AND EAT CAT.

BE THAT MOUSE.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

That old-time startup religion

Warning: the video below may be offensive to some readers. It contains irreverent use of religious language. Viewer discretion is advised. 


So there I was, on stage in front of a large crowd, when Jason says "Has anyone seen the movie Apostle?" That's when I knew things were about to get interesting.


I was in Los Angeles on book tour a few weeks ago. The Los Angeles Lean Startup Circle arranged a spectacular event. I was interviewed - live on stage - by Jason Calacanis for This Week in Startups. The video became Episode #199, and you'll get to watch it below.

Jason's a controversial - and always entertaining - character. He's the founder and CEO of Mahalo, as well as the This Week In network. Oh and he also plays the occasional hand of televised high-stakes poker. So I really did not know what to expect when I met him on stage. For just about an hour, we had an in-depth interview, with Jason asking the kind of questions you only get from someone who has lived through the real highs and lows of entrepreneurship. I thought things were going well.

And then things took a pretty hilarious turn. Jason decides, on the spot, that we're going to have our very own revival meeting. In a full-on southern preacher accent, he invites entrepreneurs up on stage for some "hands on healing" as they share their real stories of problems, challenges, and obstacles in their startups. And, to my great surprise, people come forward. To be honest, I thought it was going to be a disaster, but I was wrong. The rest you have to watch for yourself.


Eric Ries of Lean Startup - TWiST #199




(The "Praise Jesus" starts at about 56 minutes in. Don't say I didn't warn you.)


I wanted to share this video with you, and not just because it is extremely entertaining. At the end of the session, I can tell that something is starting to bother Jason. We've been talking all along about pivots, vanity metrics, and validated learning. And I can see it start to dawn on him that, like the founders we've been "healing" all night, he has some questions about Mahalo that he wants answered.

And so we have a conversation, live on stage, about whether and how Mahalo should pivot from their current business (educational web videos) to a place where they're having unexpected success (paid iPad instructional video apps). A few days later, I noticed this in my newsfeed: Mahalo Lays Off 25 Percent for Shift to Apps From Video. And a few days after that, Mahalo got in touch to ask if I'd come into their studio to record a video instructional app based on The Lean Startup. After all that, how could I say no?

So if you'd like to see the next chapter in this story, you're cordially invited to a video shoot, which will take place next Monday, November 21, at Mahalo World HQ in Los Angeles. I'll be lecturing, we'll take questions from the audience, and - if anyone has the courage to come on stage - we'll even do some "hands-on healing" case studies with real entrepreneurs. Want to come? Sign up here.

See you Monday.
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