Monday, May 30, 2005

Viral marketing: Marc Rochkind and Mudbag

Everybody knows that "viral marketing" is using the internet to spread interest in your product or service by "word of mouth", but Marc Rochkind (developer of the SCCS Source Code Control System at Bell Labs back in the early 1970's) notes in a post entitled "Mudbag and Viral Marketing" that a virus actually spreads by first infecting its host, or as Marc says:
Viral marketing isn't persuading someone to use your product; it's causing them to use your product without them even being aware. That is, not winning their hearts and minds, but their bodies. Then, later, after they're a customer, you can tell them what they've bought and try to get them to use it for themselves. That's when they start to spread the virus to the next customer-in-the-making.
Marc's latest product is Mudbag, a web-based multi-user database system, supposedly coming soon (Spring 2005).

June Breakfast Networking Meeting of the 128 Innovation Capital Group: Dividing the Pie - Allocating Equity in the Start-Up

Announcing the June Breakfast Networking Meeting of the 128 Innovation Capital Group:
Topic: Dividing the Pie - Allocating Equity in the Start-Up

June 9, 2005 7:15 AM, Best Western Hotel, Totten Pond Rd., Waltham
  • Richard M. Lucash, Co-founder, Launchpad Venture Group and Partner, the law firm of Eckert Seamans
  • Peter Miller, Co-Director MIT Venture Mentoring Service

For more information, visit the 128 Innovation Capital Group web site.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

You can't behave in a calm, rational manner; you've got to be out there on the lunatic fringe

The title of this post is supposedly a quote from former GE CEO Jack Welch who, according to a post by Tom Peters, said "You can't behave in a calm, rational manner; you've got to be out there on the lunatic fringe."

I half agree, but clearly you can't be out there on the fringe all of the time (like me). The ability to "visit" the on a very regular basis is urgently important, provided that calm rationality is your "home base", as appears to be the case with both Tom Peters and Jack Welch, regardless of what they might say in public. In fact, it is precisely that solid home base of inner calm and rationality that empowers them to spend so much time out there on the lunatic fringe.

-- Jack Krupansky

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Categories of innovation

The Innovation Weblog has a post entitled "Categories of Innovation" which references a list of three categories of innovation and three types of innovative companies:

The three categories of innovation:
  1. Incremental
  2. Substantial
  3. Radical

The three types of innovative companies:

  1. Pioneer
  2. Fast Follower
  3. Opportunistic

I don't think there's any implication as to which might be "better", but an entrepreneur should be very clear about how you're positioned in these categories.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

How to become a venture capitalist

Venture capitalist Seth Levine wrote a post that gives advice to those (including me) who ask "How to become a venture capitalist."  In summary:
  • Step one: Assume you will not be able to land a job as a venture capitalist.
  • Step two: Understand the math. It’s critical to understand how VC’s make money.
  • Step three: Get close to VC’s.
  • Step four. Be smart about networking.
  • Step five: Don’t get discouraged. If you remember back to step one, you weren’t going to be successful getting a job in VC in the first place, so all the progress you are making is gravy, right?!?
This is all very comforting.
My comment was that there is an excess of supply and weak demand, so the jobs simply aren't there.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist

I enjoyed reading an article in the Sunday NY Times entitled "So You Want to Be a Venture Capitalist", in large part because I've long entertained an interest in becoming a venture capitalist, but also because it gives you a sense of a few of the "fault lines" in the venture capital sector today.
Buried in the article, near the end, is an extremely important phrase that describes the essence of venture capital: "the ability to assess whether there's a market for something."  There are many factors that go into achieving success with venture capital, but market demand is the king of the hill.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Personal productivity

One of the perennial concerns of any entrepreneur is how to remain in control of your personal productivity.  Lately, I've been doing a lot of blogging, monitoring of blogs, commenting on blogs, and simply trying to catch up on the technology of blogs.  That takes a lot of effort.  The question is whether it's worth all of that effort.  I don't have any good answers at this time, other than to simply say that I'm in "discovery mode" and seeking out all possible angles that may be worth pursuing.  I'd like to find some angles that will enable me to enhance my productivity, and in fact reduce the amount of effort I need to expend to accomplish a lot of basic work.
I'd love to hear from other entrepreneurs about this issue.  To put the question simply:  How are you managing to stay productive in the face of all the new technologies that are now in front of us?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Seth Godin: What every good marketer knows

Inspired by a scathing blow-off by the New York Times ("a new but disappointing work... Unfortunately, Mr. Godin spends most of his book reinforcing what good marketers already know."), marketing guru Seth Godin offers a long list of "What Every Good Marketer Knows". The first few items are:
  • Anticipated, personal and relevant advertising always does better than unsolicited junk.
  • Making promises and keeping them is a great way to build a brand.
  • Your best customers are worth far more than your average customers.
  • Share of wallet is easier, more profitable and ultimately more effective a measure than share of market.
  • Marketing begins before the product is created.
You'll have to read his blog post for the full list.

If only the NY Times would practice "what good marketers already know."

-- Jack Krupansky

Tom Peters Re-Imagine! presentation slides

Check out the slides for "Tom Peter's: Re-Imagine! - Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age" presentation. It's very thought-provoking.

The bottom line is that durable success comes from continuous innovation, continuously doing things that are "remarkable."

Something that resonates with one of my ongoing thoughts is "Innovation, not optimization."

Just a few of his points:

  • Dream Merchants
  • Distinct or Extinct
  • Conceptual Age: creators and empathizers
  • Talent: develop it and manage it
  • Weird people, Freaks
  • Women rule
  • R-Directed Thinking: simultaneous, metaphorical, aesthetic, contextual, synthetic
    (as contrasted with L-directed thinking: sequential, literal, functional, textual, analytic)
  • The suppression of creative genius
  • Crazy world (CW)
  • Passion, enthusiasm - The Passion Imperative
  • Start a crusade
  • Create a cause, not a business
  • A grand adventure
  • Discover your greatness
  • Lead the action faction
  • Dispense enthusiasm
  • You must be the change you wish to see in the world -- Gandhi
  • Free the lunatic within
  • You've got to be out there on the lunatic fringe -- Jack Welch

-- Jack Krupansky

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Startup Venture Toolbox

The Startup Venture Toolbox was created by David Rex with the goal of providing entrepreneurs with tools and assistance and to provide a forum for the exploration of entrepreneurial ideas and issues.  Topics covered in the toolbox include:

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Transitioning from mediocre ideas into profitable ideas

Like a lot of people, I've had quite a number of "good" ideas over the years.  The problem is that so many of those "good" ideas really turned out to be mediocre ideas rather than great ideas.  So, the question becomes how to transition from generating merely mediocre ideas to producing ideas that are truly good enough to be reasonably profitable ideas.  They don't need to be "great" ideas, but they do need to be profitable.
Something to think about.