Startup Owner's Manual

Book Recommendation: The Startup Owner’s Manual

By | Book, Insight, Review | No Comments

If you’re starting a business then read/use this book. I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface, but I know there is a wealth of knowledge in here.

The book covers two main topics 1. Customer Discovery and 2. Customer Validation.

Customer Discovery is all about setting up hypotheses and testing them with your customers. Your original ‘billion dollar’ business idea will almost never be what customers actually want/need so you need to get out there and test, test, test. This will tell you how.

Customer Validation follows the success in finding something that people will buy. Now, how are you going to sell it? This will tell you how.

Here’s a link to buy the book from Amazon. Author’s Note: I don’t get a cut or payment in any way for recommending, but if you can tell me how I can then please do.

Side Note: Despite my recommendation do not substitute this book for people. The best resources at your disposal are those who have gone through it before. Seek out a mentor(s) and start learning from them.


Phone Photography at Concerts

By | Insight, Photography | No Comments

This past weekend we headed up to Troy, OH for the Gentlemen of the Road concert series featuring Mumford & Sons. Amazing venue, great branding, excellent food and the music was fantastic. Now that I’ve almost run out of positive adjectives and I wasn’t really planning on writing too much about the concert, I’ll move along.

I really want to talk about amateur phone photography/videography at concerts.

I’ve been thinking about this for some time. I go to concerts and usually see at least 50% of the people there with their screens glaring in my face, flashes going off and videos being recorded. I’ve read a lot about artists asking concertgoers to put their phones away, in some cases having the crowds police the scene and in the most extreme cases, outright banning them.

Some thoughts:

Reasons to NOT take pictures

  • Do you really need to post that picture right now? Why not wait until after the concert when you’re at home, by yourself and you’ve still got a smile on your face because you actually watched a whole concert.
  • It’s usually dark. Your pictures will most likely be grainy, your flash will probably go off ruining the whole shot and motion blur.
  • You’re annoying those around you. That screen is super bright.
  • You paid for the show, yet you’re watching it on your phone’s screen.
  • No to video. Your phone microphone is terrible. Video is cool, but not if the sound is bad. Will you really watch that 5 min song ever again after you just watched it through your 3.2″ screen?

Reasons to TAKE pictures

  • Photos can capture those amazing moments in life that can seldom be described with words.
  • You blog about concerts.
  • You have a terrible visual memory like me and it helps you remember things in your life.

What about pocket cameras and DSLRs?

This one isn’t far off from phones. No flash; ever. If you are a professional then get a press pass and you probably don’t need to read this. Those professionals who aren’t very professional (you know who you are), please stop acting like this is your studio.

One rule that continues to baffle me (and I’ll probably write about later) is banning DSLRs, but not other types of equipment.

My take on proper concert photography etiquette

Enjoy the concert and forget about the phone. Enjoy the music, enjoy the venue, enjoy the people. If you must, take one or two pictures (with the flash off) and then put it back in your pocket or smash it. The world can wait. If you post, then do it when you’re back home and bored.

Do you know yourself?

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Last year was a time in my life where I took the leap and left my corporate job behind in pursuit of something different, something new.  It’s not novel in the grand scheme of things, but it sure was novel in my life.  I had a taste in 2007 when I took a leave of absence to spend some time volunteering in Africa, but there was always the job waiting for me when I got back.  This time was different because there was no known future, no clear path; not exactly something I strive for in my existence.

I headed to Nairobi, Kenya to spend 3 months with 88mph to help startups.  Did I know anything about the startup world?  Not really.  I had some skills and I had some experience, but fundamentally I was for lack of a better phrase, winging it.  Turns out it’s exactly the sort of work I was looking for.

Not to get too far down that road, but this leads me to my point.  I had discovered that I never knew who I really was until I took off the blinders of my daily job.  Looked beyond the expected and the clarity.  I went off the deep end and it felt great.

When I returned home I met with a family friend whom I wish I had met years earlier.  He asked me a series of questions to help me discover more about who I am and had me complete an exercise of answering those questions for him.  Here they are:

1. What am I doing at the moment?

2. Why do I like doing what I’m doing at the moment?

3. What would I really love to do?

4. What are my greatest strengths?

Turns out I wasn’t really answering them for him.  I answered them for me and I’m hoping to use them to continue to make the right decisions as I walk this alternative path in my life.