Archive for September, 2011

Showing People They Matter

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

In a community that I’m apart of, I mentioned to one of the members of the community (we’ll call him Steve) that I’d sent a text to another member of the community (we’ll call him Dave). There wasn’t much to it. I basically just sent a text to Dave that said, “Are you coming tonight?” However, I was completely shocked by Steve’s reply to me saying I’d sent a text to Dave.

Steve asked me, “Dave is such an attention whore that he came out after you gave him some attention?”

I must admit that I was complete blown away by this comment and still am today. As I thought about it, I realized that Steve was right about Dave enjoying attention. However, that wasn’t the intention of my text at all. I just wanted this person to attend and so I sent the text to encourage their attendance. I’ll admit that I don’t even understand the thinking that someone wouldn’t do something as simple as sending a text because they didn’t want to give someone attention.

This idea really came together when I saw a TedXDesMoines video where Angela Maiers talks about the idea of showing people that “You Matter.” Watch even just the first 5 minutes to get the idea:

As I thought about my experience with Steve and Dave above, I realized that all my simple text did for Dave was say, “You Matter.” Plus, Steve wants to know he matters almost as much as Dave, but Dave is just more vocal about it. However, I wonder how many people avoid showing other people around them that they matter all because of some idea that they’re feeding someone’s need for attention. It makes me sick to think about.

Let’s be honest. We all have a need to know “You Matter.” Who doesn’t like to feel appreciate for something or wanted? We all do.

I think Angela Maiers is on to something with “You Matter.” There’s a real power to showing people that they matter to you. Time to look for more ways to show this quality in more aspects of my life. Even if it’s something as simple as a text message.

A Steve Jobs Approach to Product Development

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Today I was reading a post from one of my favorite VC bloggers, Brad Feld, in which he included a really inspiring video (embedded below). In this video Steve Jobs is responding a pretty caustic question from the audience. Turns out that the question doesn’t really matter, but Steve Jobs offers a fascinating insight into the idea of developing with the customer in mind first as opposed to seeing how a technology can benefit the customer.

I love ideas like this that provide a new lens for looking at a business. I am quite sure that as I talk about ideas for businesses with people I’m now going to regularly ask them about the customer experience they want to achieve. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure a number of the responses to that question will go something like, “Umm…Yeah…Ummm…That’s a good question. I just really love this simple technology that’s able to do XYZ function.” Helping them understand the customer focused approach will be a challenge.

I hope others hold me accountable for it too.

Premature Scaling and Killing Your Startup

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

I was reading some random blog link I got on Twitter that had the great title of “Premature Scaling Kills Startups – The Startup Genome.” At first I thought it was going to be a post about the Human Genome. I guess my recent post about the Human Genome and EMR might have influenced that thought. Turns out, the post was talking about the “genomic data” of a startup company. Something I actually love more than the Human Genome.

You should go read the whole post, but his list of bullet points at the end hit me:

  • The team size of startups that scale prematurely is 3 times bigger than the consistent startups at the same stage
  • 74% of high growth Internet startups fail due to premature scaling
  • Startups that scale properly grow about 20 times faster than startups that scale prematurely
  • 93% of startups that scale prematurely never break the $100k revenue per month threshold

He also provided 2 summary items which help you get the most out of the bullet points above. I’d describe them simply as:

  • Scale Consistently
  • Constrain Your Scaling As Long As Possible

Great advice!