The Fat Lady Cometh – Shutting Down startupSQUARE

On Dec 1st, startupSQUARE.com will thank it’s very generous alpha users and the support we’ve received from peers and mentors alike before closing our doors and shutting down. Why?

We’ve demonstrated that there is significant demand for this type of service, we have 46% product / market fit based on Sean Ellis’ suggested measurement method, and we have users so enthusiastic about the idea that they just send us money. Still we’re shutting it down. Continue reading

Lean Deck Clinic November

It’s November! Gregarious and I are putting together the next Lean Deck Clinic on November 11th. So if you’re in San Francisco and you’re looking to get candid feedback on your pitch from potential investors, sign up now.
This time around, we’re going to focus on the learning and we’re keeping the headcount to 18 companies. There’ll be two VCs and Angels per round table and presenters in the final round will be asked to summarize their lessons learned from the workshop for everyone’s benefit. Continue reading

Startup Weekend Lesson Learned #2 – Customer Development

Ok…this is less of a lessons learned and more of an outright challenge.

At the last Startup Weekend (#swmobile) the team I joined was called KissMobs. As far as I’m aware, we are the only Startup Weekend team ever to finish the weekend cash flow positive. It could be there are others, I don’t have the stats and I’ll let Franck correct me on this one. We also didn’t pay ourselves any salaries and my dividend totaled enough for a cup of coffee. A bad cup of coffee.

Still, I think every team coming out of Startup Weekend should have this as a goal: A SALE

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Startup Weekend Lesson Learned #1 – The Pitch

Startup WeekendThis last week was crazy, mostly because I spent all last weekend coding, marketing, pitching, and navigating the intense and creative atmosphere of Startup Weekend SF (#swmobile). If you haven’t been to Startup Weekend, you should because it’s the best place to get a quick feel of what it takes to run a startup and one of the best places to find a co-founder for your next business.(aside from startupSQUARE of course!) Continue reading

Update: How to Make Your Investor Pitch Lean

Getting lean is becoming essential to all aspects of running a business and pitching is no exception. Here’s a quick update on our original post to the Lean Deck Clinic on Monday August the 2nd. The event is sold out for participants, but you might be able to score a ticket to the final round of presentations if you’re fast. (There were three left as of this post.) Continue reading

How to Make Your Investor Pitch Lean

Have you ever needed feedback on your investor pitch? Are you in the San Francisco Bay Area?
If you answered yes to both, we’re helping to promote the Lean Deck Clinic being put on by The Lean Coffee Meetup and hosted at the new San Francisco startup incubator Kicklabs. It’s a chance to present your pitch in front of a room of peers, 3 VCs and 3 angel investors like:

Parkour for Startups: Conserve Momentum

Admittedly, I look like a giraffe. (A handsome giraffe damnit!) So it was inevitable that the universe would take advantage of my gangliness by conspiring to put me into a Parkour class. (Hint: I got a Groupon.)

For those not familiar with it, Parkour is “extreme urban running” as imagined by a crazy Frenchman named David Belle. It’s that thing they do at the beginning of Casino Royale and in those old Nike comercials. Here’s a video if you still don’t know: Continue reading

$3.95? We’re Rich! First Revenue During Alpha Testing

On Friday, I received this welcome email:

Subject: Sale – Entrepreneurs Guide to CustDev- ID:5777670 Entrepreneur’s Guide to CustDev eBook

You have earned an affiliate fee of 3.95 USD for the sale (ID:5777670-686=
2856) of Entrepreneur’s Guide to CustDev eBook on Thu May 27 2010 23:52:3=
9 MST.

Sincerely,
Entrepreneurs Guide to CustDev

startupSQUARE, having not yet progressed to beta testing, now has revenue! Granted, a very small amount of revenue. Why?

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Customer Development with Network Effects

How does customer development differ with regards to products which require a network effect to be useful? Short answer: No one knows.

Companies offering services such as Skype, eBay, Facebook, and others have cannot really test their value proposition without having a critical mass of users. A telephone with only one person on it is pretty useless. Yet these are some of the most lucrative inventions ever. So how do you apply the principles of customer development to these situations?

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Top Takeaway – Startup Lessons Learned

On April 23rd I was able to go to the Startup Lessons Learned Conference and had my world rocked. I thought I was lean, I could be leaner. I thought I had a minimum viable product, I could have built less. Although Steve Blank, Eric Ries, Dave McClure, David Weekly etc. etc. all have written and spoken prolifically about their methods and thoughts, there is a powerful feeling to being the the same room as a thousand other people drinking the same kool-aid.

Sponsorship Helps

First off, I should mention that I wouldn’t of been able to go at all without the sponsorship of the Microsoft Bizspark program. Usually I’m not one to thank MS except sarcastically for bricking my hard drive, but there’s no way a bootstrapped company like ours could have gone. So special thanks to Adrian Perez, Joel Franusic, and Bizspark! Continue reading