Saturday, February 26, 2005

Pursuit of Passionate Purpose

Any entrepreneurial venture is difficult at best. What gets you through all of the tough times is having a singular vision of what you're trying to achieve and then pursuing it with great passion.

Theresa M. Szczurek, one of the founders of Radish Communications, has written a book entitled Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life that is billed as "a practical guide for producing extraordinary results and reaping the real rewards of life by caring passionately about what we desire and then pursuing it with true determination."

I attended a talk by the author at the Boulder Book Store out in Boulder, Colorado, and yes, the author really does come across as being quite passionate about this stuff, but there is also a reasonable amount of down-to-earthness to it (she started out as an engineer). She offers a lot of specific and practical strategies and many illuminating anecdotes contributed by a number of successful entrepreneurs that she interviewed.

In any case, the real point is that you find something that you're passionate about and pursue it passionately, and once you've achieved your goal, your vision, and have satisfied your passion, move on and find a new vision to be passionate about.

Friday, February 25, 2005

106 Miles - Silicon Valley networking group for entrepreneurial engineers

I've just run across an informal group called 106 Miles, which has the following charter:
106 Miles is a networking group for entrepreneurial engineers in Silicon Valley. The plan is to get together once a month in a casual atmosphere, have a couple beers and a slice, and ask questions of an invited guest who has good stories to tell about starting a tech company. It's basically a geek kegger with a slightly more directed chat in the middle. See our blog for more info.
Sounds interesting.

Thought leadership

I just ran across this term yesterday: thought leadership.

The precise definition of the term is not clear, but it seems to mean staking out a domain of expertise or "intellectual capital" for yourself and promoting it to others to the extent that you are seen as a "thought leader" for that domain.

The big benefit is that you start getting a lot of word-of-mouth attention, which is always better and more effective than any amount of expensive marketing promotion programs.

Here's a short article on the concept.

Marketing on a shoestring budget

There's an interesting article on entitled "Marketing on a Shoestring" and subtitled "Don't have much money for a big-budget marketing campaign? You can still put your homebased business on the map." More than just being some low-budget tips, it covers some essential strategic advice that should be taken no matter what your budget.

I'm a big fan of doing things on a shoestring budget, and this article is a good starting point.

Years ago I wrote an article in Midnight Engineering magazine entitled "Product Promotion on a Shoestring; Low-cost Marketing Ideas for the Software Entrepreneur."

Monday, February 21, 2005

No sense being pessimistic... it wouldn't work anyway

I know that's a very silly quote, but somehow it seems extremely appropriate for entrepreneurial ventures. Every direction we turn we find endless reasons for being pessimistic, if not cynical. If you really are an entrepreneur, somhow you manage to get past all of the mines in the minefield. Humor is a key aspect of our survival. But, it's also very true that pessimism simply doesn't work for entrepreneurs.

The 128 Innovation Capital Group

There used to be a group called the 128 Venture Capital Group that held monthly breakfast meetings in the Route 128 area (Waltham) west of Boston where entrepreneurs, investors (both venture capital and angel investors), and service providers would get together to discuss mutual interests, as in trying to raise money for a new venture. That group closed shop in December 2004, but has been succeeded by a new group called The 128 Innovation Capital Group. Their charter is simply:
The mission of the 128 Innovation Capital Group is to foster an environment where Innovation flourishes. We accomplish this by providing a forum where Innovative Entrepreneurs can meet Investors, Talented and Experienced Managers and Service Providers who will enable their organizations to become successful enterprises.
I haven't attended any of the meetings of the new group, but I did attend a meeting of the previous group and numerous discussions with its founder. They can be both interesting and fun, and that's even if you don't come away funding. It's a great place to network and build up your list of contacts.

The web site for the new group is

So, if you are in the Boston 128 area check out their meetings or their site or talk with their new Executive Director, Annette Reynolds. She can be reach via email at

Sunday, February 20, 2005

LinkedIn networking: great or a waste of time?

LinkedIn is a web site that facilitates the organization, growth, and exploitation of your network of professional contacts. As their web site puts it:
LinkedIn is a networking tool that helps you discover inside connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners. Through LinkedIn, you can accelerate your business effectiveness and career success by leveraging the network you already have. LinkedIn makes it easy to receive and seek out opportunities through your extended network while protecting your privacy, your inbox and your existing professional relationships.

Let us know about your perception of LinkedIn and any successes (or failures) you may have had. Either comment here on the blog, or via email.

And, you can feel free to use our email address (Jack Krupansky, to invite us into your own LinkedIn network.

Submit your web site to the Open Directory Project

One easy and free way to get at least one increment of improvement in your web presence is to submit your web site to the Open Directory Project. Their goal is do offer the most complete directory of the web, and to keep it both open and free. Google re-publishes and indexes the open directory, so getting into this directory should give you a higher Google ranking.

Just visit, drill down through the directory hierarchy to where you think your site belongs, and submit your site.

For example, this site can be found by clicking the Business category, then click the Small_Business category, and finally the Startup category. [If you din't find us there yet, it's because our submission is still in progress.]

How useful is an Advisory Panel?

Quite some time ago I had a blog dialog with Bill French on the topic of the advisory panels.

The basic concept is that you get a bunch of "domain experts" together on occasion to give you feedback related to your venture. They might be technical experts, markeing gurus, or "merely" good businessmen.

Anybody have any experiences with advisory panels, technical advisory boards, or similar concepts?

Let us know, either here on the blog, or via email.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Buzz Factor

Buzz is everything.

If you don't have "buzz", you've got nothing.

Word of mouth is cheap and effective. It helps people get excited about your products or services. Excitement equals exposure. And that's what marketing is for.

Traditional marketing is great for scaling up your business, but buzz gives you a bigger base to scale from.

One theory is that blogging and blog "feed" syndication are one of the best ways of raising your "buzz factor". But of course this assumes you've spent the effort assuring that your product or service really does have some special appeal that will meet the needs of a significant base of potential users.

Spend less time agonizing over specific "important" features of your product or service and focus on enhancing its buzz factor.

Let's hear about your thoughts on "buzz", either here in the blog, or via email.

Entrepreneurial Connections (EntConnect) Conference

The annual Entrepreneurial Connections (EntConnect) conference is coming up on March 17-20, 2005 out in Denver.

This is a great chance to meet like-minded entrepreneurial engineers.

Check out the official EntConnect conference web site.

Or check out info about past conferences at our web site.

Entrepreneurial Engineering

This site is designed to be a grathering place for Entrepreneurial Engineers, people with technical backgrounds or interests who are interested in turning their great ideas into money-making products and services.

The site is an outgrowth of the interest in the original Midnight Engineering magazine and the ME-Ski and ENTCON conferences. Whether you are a freelance consultant, have a one-person technology business, actually have people working for you, or are simply a classic "Midnight Engineer" toiling away in your 'spare' time on "the next big thing", you're probably the kind of person we're catering to.

Additional material can be found at our main web site,

Drop us an email if you have any questions.

Disclaimer: This site is not associated with Midnight Engineering magazine or its publisher.

"Midnight Engineering" is a trademark of William E. Gates, publisher of the magazine.