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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Ideation - DEMO

The awakened bootstrapper is now in the Ideation stage. The singular goal of this stage is to create a Demo of the product or service to be offered - not a business plan, funding or patents as is often recommended. The key task at hand is to create a first version using available resources.

A common false myth is that of singular entrepreneurs. Rather that go it alone, bootstrap founders find complementary opposites and this is a key task of Ideation. In Apple, a Maven, Steve Wozniak, paired with an Evangelist, Steve Jobs. The dynamic tension accentuates each founder's strength and diminishes their weaknesses. Rather than perpetually tinkering, the Maven's talents are focused by the Evangelist's need to show something to a customer. Without Mavens, Evangelists would have nothing to evangelize.

Here's a 5 min Youtube video from the Bootstrap Bootcamp explaining all the bootstrap stages.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Preideation - AWAKEN

Bootstrap companies are the offspring of their founders. Just as with a child, the founders' DNA and parenting ultimately results in a totally unique entity. PreIdeation is the first stage during which the founder develops their passions and talents. There is rarely any contemplation of a company or even a notion of a particular product during this time. Preideation begins with the founders' birth, childhood and beyond and culminates when they awaken to the possibility of taking an entrepreneurial journey. In terms of the Hero's Journey, this is the Call to Adventure.

The key task for the founder-to-be is to develop and deepen their passions and talents. "Passions" refer to external interests. Steve Wozniak tinkered with electronics well before inventing the Apple Computer, creating a number of devices, including a Blue Box to make free long distance calls. He demonstrated the early first version of what would later become the first Apple computer at a gathering of electronics geeks at the Homebrew Computer Club. Bill Gates discovered a passion for computers in middle school and dedicated many hours writing code and becoming conversant in programming languages. Microsoft would later start life as a BASIC language supplier for the nascent personal computing industry.

"Talents" refers to innate capabilities. Maven, Relater and Evangelist are terms I use to describe three very different energies in founders. In bootstraps Mavens are the product innovators, while Evangelists find the customers. While there is a pervasive myth about solo entrepreneurs, it is most often a complementary team that starts ventures. Discovering and deepening one's talents and realizing the need for a partner are essential activities in the Preideation stage.

Here's a 5 min YouTube video from the Bootstrap Bootcamp explaining all the bootstrap stages.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bootstrap member company Greenling in PC Mag

Greenling has recently been featured in PCMag as a top-10 innovator using tech in smart ways to run their business. Congrats!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Bootstrap Your Startup

Kevin and Bijoy led a panel discussion at the 2007 SXSW Interactive. The podcast is live on the SXSW site.


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