The Feedback Machine: How do you discover what people really want?

  This essay is written as part of the Startup Edition project – check out the other essays here. How do you discover what people really want? People are not effective at self-reporting, or letting you know what they will do with your product when you’re not there to help them. Often, customers will tell…

Two of the Dumbest Business Mistakes I’ve Ever Made

//Read about more mistakes in the newest Startup Edition “Do not fear mistakes. There are none.” -Miles Davis. We all make mistakes. I’ve made a few mistakes in my time. I’m not talking about the garden-variety mistakes you might make in the course of the day. I’m talking about product development whoppers, or the kind…

Makers need to make in the real world.

Makers need to make in the real world Get out of the (electronic) building Last evening, as the Pacific Northwest sunshine (yes, we do have that here in the Spring and Summer and Fall) was blazing, I was weeding my garden. There were no electronic devices in force. Although I did share this picture when…

What tools and skills do you value in your startup?

This post is a contribution to Startup Edition. Tools are a Commodity We could talk all day about the tools we use. Agile is Best! Pomodoro is Best! Pen and Paper is Best! Getting everyone in a room is Best! (You get the idea.) Because everything in a startup changes ALL THE TIME, it’s also important…

Why Startups are like the Kobayashi Maru

In the movie Star Trek II (and in the more recent reboot), then-Starfleet Academy cadet James T. Kirk relates the story of the training exercise to try to save the Kobayashi Maru as a key learning experience for his transformation into a leader. The goal of the exercise is to see how people react in…