When I was an entrepreneur raising money I tended to make a classic mistake: trying to convey all...
On October 27, 2010 I wrote a blog post about the “57 Things I Learned Founding 3 Tech...
You’d think that given the sheer volume of material written about how to pitch your company to investors that we’d...
We decided to create a blog to keep everyone up to date about what is happening at Plum Analytics. We just had our one year anniversary and are proud to have launched our PlumX product.
If you haven’t seen the 1 minute product screencast, it’s a good way to get a sense of the main features of our product. You can watch it here:
I attended a great Coffee and Capital breakfast a week or two ago with Gloria Rabinowitz from Golden Seeds presenting.
It was an informal, yet info packed session, and it was great to hear directly from a successful angel investor on what she looks for when investing, as well as some information about the due diligence process.
However, what has struck me the most, was her closing statements. She thanked all of us for being there, being entrepreneurs, and starting businesses in Philadelphia. She then talked about how entrepreneurs “make their own luck.”
At an early stage startup, some days are euphoric and some days are a slog. Starting out each day, it’s never clear which it will be. A phone call, an email, or even an unplanned conversation can flip the day one way or the other.
With so much uncertainty, the thought of making your own luck, is inspiring. As entrepreneurs, the job is to find a way through, no matter what. In the early, cash-constrained days of a startup, the reality of decision making on what to spend money on looms large. With more to possibly block and tackle on than hours in a day, there is also an opportunity cost to every task you take on.
It’s been a little over 3 months from when we founded Plum Analytics. We’re pleased with the traction we’ve been able to achieve — product, funding, customers, revenue, and team are all cruising forward. Each day though, it takes firm resolve to remember the end goal, shoulder through the obstacles, and stay focused on the things that matter.
Last night, I was talking to a fellow entrepreneur at a networking event and they said, “Yeah, you are lucky.” I smiled, and thought “Yes, yes I am.”
Image credit / buy the shirt here.
How times have changed. I quit my corporate job in September, to get back to my entrepreneurial roots and start a new company.
This weekend, my co-founder and I cashed in some frequent flier miles for plane tickets to Dallas, TX to go to a tradeshow in our target industry. The first of our old customers that we bumped into, asked us to take him out to dinner. We laughed, told him that we’re now bootstrapping a startup, and sorry, but we can’t take ya’all out to dinner. We joked with folks that we were just alternating who slept in the front seat vs back seat of the rental car each night. It wasn’t quite that bad, but bootstrapping a startup does make you intensely aware of your burn rate.
As we handed out our new business cards with the $300 logo we crowdsourced on 99designs, we chuckled many times this weekend over how the times had changed, and changed for the better.
Eric Ries outlines defines strategy for a startup as:
“The role of strategy is to figure out what questions to ask.”
In a whirlwind 48 hours, we flew to Dallas, got the real-world input we needed on our most critical questions, and flew back home to get back to building the product on Monday.
If you are an early stage startup, I’d encourage you to think creatively about how to get out in front of the folks who can both help you formulate and answer those questions. There’s nothing better.
I saw this quote on my commute into center city Philly this morning. I whipped out my cell phone to snap a quick picture, to the sound of a blaring horn behind me. (It is Philadelphia after all.) The fuzzy, blurred picture doesn’t capture the aha moment I felt.
I decided that entrepreneurs are among the faithful.
When I look back on my career, it has been a path of building, not a path of climbing. Whether it is building technology, building a product, building a team or building a company - it is the act of creation that captures my imagination and drive.
It’s been a bit over 3 months since I left my full time job at ProQuest where I led the building of the Summon product. I still have bittersweet moments when I mourn the team and environment I helped to create. But it is that drive to build, to create, that has led me back to a pure entrepreneurial path.
We’re starting to get traction, and I have this familiar urge to yell from the mountaintops about it. But… not yet. :-)
Regardless, breaking the patterns of my old reality to the new, is starting to take hold. I smiled as the parking lot attendant and the waiter at my new fav coffee shop in center city both knew me this morning. It’s not just me, my new patterns are impacting those around me.
Little by little, it’s beginning to build.