Tuesday, September 6, 2011

If You Ain't First, You're Last *

I had an interesting conversation with my FedEx guy the other day.  We were talking about life, family, and goals and I let it slip that I don't want to work for other people the rest of my life.  It isn't that I don't enjoy my job or that I'm unhappy with it.  Rather it is this unbelievable sense of greatness I feel can be stifled if I don't do anything about it. 

Some people say I have a chip on my shoulder.  Some may even say I have a problem with authority at times.  I make decent money, I'm rarely bothered, and I get to go to some pretty wild events and locations as an employee of a pretty kick ass organization.  I have a gorgeous wife, 3 beautiful kids a great place to live, and plenty of toys. Even with all that I'm not truly happy simply because I have to use my talents to make some one else boatloads of money. 

I'm a dreamer.  I believe anything is possible and I tend to get agitated when I meet people that are OK with the status quo.  I believe whole heartedly that dreams should never be given up on.  That a job is a means to an end.  I won't ever become wealthy working for someone.  Heck I may not become wealthy working for myself.

This weekend I sat back and did a little bit of soul searching.  I learned two things.  First, my family is my priority.  I want them to have everything they want out of life and I won't rest until I can provide them with that.  Second, I can not be passive.  If I choose to go forth and make a name for myself then I have to get moving.  Dreaming without action is pointless.

My father has worked in a factory and maintained a part time job for close to 30 years because he wanted his boys to have everything he never had.  As a father, I too want my kids to have more than I ever had.  My wife and kids are my motivator. They are the reason I was in the office at 6:30 this morning, and the reason I'll work through lunch just to be able to wrap up everything today and make it to an event at the Lego store with them later this afternoon.

Life is short.  I can't waste it wondering "what if".  Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart.  Sometimes I think Vegas has better odds than the life of a start up founder.  But I'm OK with that.  My wife and kids are on board and they believe in me as much as I believe in my vision of the business I helped Co-found.  I'm rolling the dice on SquaQr and I think this time I may just avoid snake-eyes.

If you are seriously thinking about starting your own business then start now!  Don't let anyone prevent you from starting it.  Because, in the words of the great Ricky Bobby,  "If you ain't first, you're last"

*That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's been a long time. I shouldn't have left you...

Without a dope Blog to read too...

As the title states it's been quite a while since we updated the Startup-Post. It isn't because we don't love all four of our followers, or that we hit the lotto (though that would be pretty cool). In fact it may very well be due to the writers of this blog having kick ass lives.

Alex spent last week "down the cape" (visiting Cape Cod for you non Massachusetts folks). He split his time down there drinking cape codders and test marketing his new startup idea of a boat shoe, polo shirt, muffin and coffee truck beach service. He also spent some time up in Montreal drinking Labat Blue or whatever kind of beer is hip in the great white north. He was kind enough to send us this pic.

I on the other hand needed to face the harsh reality that comes with living in Florida. 90 plus degrees, swimming pools, and grilling on a whim is something that nobody should have to suffer through. Don't cry for me though. In the words of the great Gospel spirtual "I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it, I will survive, keep on survivin."

Ok so now that I have poorly explained our absense you may be wondering what this has to do with entrepreneurship. So I'll give you a hint.

Give up?


The difficulty a lot of entrepreneurs face after a while is the dicipline it takes to stay focussed on the task at hand. Sometimes we get side tracked. That's ok, but we need to always remember to get back on track and focus on our startup.

A baby left in the wild doesn't stand a chance to survive on it's own. It needs parents to raise it, nurture it, and help the baby develop into a productive member of society. The same is also true for our startups. No one is going to raise our babies for us. So why should we expect other people to raise our startups for us. We need to treat our endevors as our children and develop them so that they can reach their fullest potential and one day make us proud.

So please, for the love of all things that are good, don't pull a Startup-Post and become preoccupied with the epicness that comes with being a proffessor of kick-assery. Instead keep your nose to the grind stone and keep pushing forward. You will succeed only if you remain diciplined enough to make it so.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Meeting Etiquette...Lets Do This!

The way you carry yourself when meeting with a group of investors, employees, or anyone for that matter is crucial to your success. This video from entrepreneur.com does a masterful job of conveying the appropriate actions one should take prior to the beginning of the meeting.

In case you can't watch the video now...make time later today. Even if it means hiding in a stall at work to watch it on your smart phone instead of playing angry birds for 5 minutes. In fact you would still get 2 minutes and 20 seconds of Angry Birds playtime if you really need to play it that bad.

Unfortunately Entrepreneur.com's videos are proprietary so you need to actually click the link to watch it. But it is most certainly worth it. Also it is important to note that fist bumps, are not a recommended substitute for handshakes.

Monday, August 1, 2011

If it's not a hit, switch - Derek Sivers

Snagged this off my buddies Google+ page.

This video shares a bit of advice that can apply to every part of my life.

Derek Sivers has been dropping a series of tasty nuggets of advice via twitter @sivers.
You might want to hang on to this one.

He talks about the difference between blind persistence, and constantly improving and re-inventing your concept until you have a hit.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Everybody's Favorite Radio Station

Back when I was a young, handsome, naive greenhorn in the wonderful world of sales I sat in a classroom with a bunch of noobs, know-it-alls, and seasoned vets. We were all there to become some of the most well trained sales people in the consumer electronics industry. In the weeks to follow I would learn The art of the conceptual sell, how to leverage F.A.B. statements, and how to become a chameleon. Interestingly, one of the the lessons that seemed the most profound to me was so simple that I couldn't believe I never thought of it myself. It was a simple acronym that held so much weight it changed my life.

Our instructor asked us what is the one radio station everybody loves. Know-it-all's raised their hands and started spouting various call signs only to be shot down repeatedly. Seasoned vets scoffed as if it were a joke and didn't take it seriously. Noobs sat there mouths slightly agape staring at our trainer like a puberty stricken teen stares at the girl of his dreams. I sat their confused, eagerly waiting to hear the answer thinking to myself "There just can't be a singular radio station that everyone likes. "

Once I heard the answer I felt like Tom Hanks in Castaway. I was lost, confused, alienated and really wished I had Wilson to help me through that moment. WIIFM?!!? I never heard of that station. What the heck is WIIFM and why did I not know that everybody but me had this listed as their favorite?

WIIFM, as I would later learn, wasn't a real radio station. It's short for Whats In It For Me; a key ingredient in the recipe of sales. Wiifm is a motivator. It's what helps us decide if the deal in front of us is enough to satisfy the urge to purchase. As I internalized it I came to the realization that humans as a species are inherently selfish. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all when we are offered a job don't we ask ourselves will this enhance my life, career or status? What about pay and benefits? What's in it for me?

As entrepreneurs we need to take a step back and look beyond our personal Wiifms. We need figure out what everyone else is going to get out of our product or service as well. We need to realize that our business has to cater to a lot more people than ourselves. While Wiifm is a great principle we should be mindful that everybody has their own personal Wiifms as well. We should strive to understand this concept and apply it to our business.

What's in it for the investors?

What's in it for your staff?

What's in it for the community?

What's in it for your family?

I'm not implying that we need to be concerned primarily with ourselves, but to understand that there are a lot of people we deal with in business that make important decisions. It is imperative that we understand their needs, wants, and desires and help them realize what's in it for them. That is the only way to properly use the Wiifm principle. Otherwise you may as well pack it up and go home.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Perfect Landing Page - BostInnovation

My new favorite news site BostInnovation.com, is chock full of great insight into the startup world.

I found this in an article posted by Gregory Gomer.

In the following info-graphic, originally posted on FormStack.com, they clearly outline the equivalent of the Landing Page "Ten commandments". Check it out!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sell before it's too late!

Cruising Google+ I found a nugget of gold from Tom Anderson (co-founder of MySpace).

I love hearing insight from kings of the Start-up hill...

Quoted from Google+.
"With dotcom valuations rising by the minute, the question of "when to sell" is becoming more and more important. A lot of people tell me I was smart to sell MySpace to Newscorp in July 2005 (it went for $580 million), because it recently RE-sold for $35 million (Go Specific/JT!). It'd be nice for me to take credit for that decision, but it was not my decision to sell MySpace (our parent company had control and made that decision themselves). Personally I can't complain -- I made far more money than anyone would ever need, had the time of my life, and was lucky in so many ways. But the truth is that if MySpace had waited a year or two, it clearly would have gone for single figure billions. What's more, If it hadn't sold at all, we wouldn't have been forced to monetize in a way that was against our longterm interests. Think of all the value Zuck has built by staying in control for so long and for refusing to go public. Also I get the impression that he doesn't care in the slightest how the market values his work. He's on a personal mission to improve the world, and I'm glad he is. In any case, very difficult decisions ahead for VCs, entrepreneurs and stock market investors. I'm just hoping this doesn't end like 2000 again. The desire to make a buck does help fuel innovation, but it can also wipe out people's nesteggs if they get too greedy." - Tom Anderson

Comic by +Zirta Net