Dealing with MVP Bloat

Building the minimum viable product (MVP) is a core aspect of every startup’s journey, but most founders struggle knowing how to define what constitutes “minimum” functionality for their MVP. Entrepreneurs tend to over build their MVP, resulting in painful delays launching the product, which sometimes results in fatal downstream business problems. Founders can maximize their […]

Mental Health Matters

In December 2018, Lyft’s co-founder and President John Zimmer broke new ground by speaking publicly about his struggle with depression. CNN’s Laurie Segall published an interview with Zimmer where he spoke about the challenges of competing against Uber, a company that raised 10 times the capital raised by Lyft. Though they provide similar services, press […]

Beware of the Rat Race

In the early 1990s, a report circulated that listed Beirut, Belfast, and Hong Kong as the three most stressful cities in the world. Beirut, Lebanon, and Belfast, Northern Ireland were easily explained because, at the time, they were marred by urban battlefields, victims of political conflict and civil unrest. The third city, Hong Kong, surprised […]

Keys to the Term Sheet

Early-stage founders spend a large portion of their time raising capital to fuel their startup’s continued growth. Receiving a term sheet from an investor represents a key milestone in the fundraising journey. First-time founders often scramble at the last minute to educate themselves on the concepts and terms found in a typical term sheet. There […]

How to Grow Your Startup

Every startup aspires to grow. But too many founders lack a structured, methodical way to plan their growth beyond hunting for the next hire to address the most significant current pain point. Too often, founders settle for a cobbled-together hiring plan based a high-level guess on what roles might be needed two to four quarters […]

Getting to Minimum Viable Product

Every venture capitalist, board member and startup advisor counsels the entrepreneur to focus on building their minimum viable product (MVP). Successful startups do a great job of executing on their MVP buildout. Once their MVP is established, adding prioritized functionality transforms the product from acceptable, to good, to great. Drilling Deeper Everyone understands the concept […]

How Photographic Storytelling Drives Sales

We’ve all heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sadly, I rarely see business users take advantage of this simple truth, particularly in the sales process. The best performing sales teams excel at understanding the customer’s pain, demonstrating how their product soothes this pain, and differentiating their solution against the competition. […]

Motorcycles vs. Jumbo Jets

I’m a speed junkie. When I was young, I used to watch A. J. Foyt battle Richard Petty in NASCAR. Since I didn’t own a fast car, the best I could do was take my bicycle off road and imagine I was a motocross racer. As I’ve aged, I’ve migrated from NASCAR to Rally racing […]

The Art of War

Every startup targeting a large market opportunity will face competition. When competitors are present, every sales opportunity becomes a battle. Founders must prepare their war strategy in order to be well-positioned for victory when the time for hand-to-hand combat arrives. Sadly, I’ve seen countless companies fail to prepare their teams to compete, resulting in weak […]

What’s in a Name?

Shakespeare famously spoke through Juliet, asking “What’s in a name? … a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” That’s true, as long as you know you are truly holding a blossoming rose (and not a seedling or a plant that has yet to flower). Many startups bring on promising talent to run […]