No ‘Buts’ – The Most Dreaded Word of All

Last week I started avoiding the word “but” in all my communications. It’s harder than you’d think. I’d thought I could just replace it with “and” but and that just doesn’t cut it. Sounds weird. It requires a total rewrite of every sentence you put to paper and forces you to think constructively.

No: I’d love to come, but I already made plans.
Yes: I’d love to get together with you some other time. I have plans that night.

No: I would have finished, but it was just too much work.
Yes: My bad. I’ll finish it now.

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The Taxonomy of the Lean Startup Pivot

(warning: this post may be highly theoretical / geeky)

Last week I was planning for the worst. Having gone through 51 iterations of my mockups and gathered as much as feedback as I could with our primitive alpha, I feel confident about our basic customer problem hypothesis. Still, I play a lot of chess and like to think at least five moves ahead in the five most likely futures. So I decided to make a list of my potential pivots.

(note: For those not familiar with the term, pivot is a lean startup vocab word that states in it’s simplest form: If your business model isn’t working, change something. More on this below.) Continue reading

Customer Development: Fight or Flight

Motivations are unimportant if you happened to be B.F. Skinner. But since he’s dead let’s assume you’re not him. Here’s the obvious question, why do you want to start a business?

Let’s start off topic with a ridiculously simplistic dichotomy: Fight or Flight

Those are the two basic choices we all have when faced with a conflict situation and it’s deeply ingrained in our physiology. Even when faced with something as non-threatening as public speaking, our basic instincts can take over and flood us with adrenaline. Our instincts tell us we have to fight or run away. But as in so many modern day stress or conflict situations, fighting is useless (you cannot punch out a public speaking opportunity) so we generally go for the second option: escape the situation. Continue reading