Eng491 technology entrepreneurship
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ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship. Fall 2011 – Fall 2012 Emre Oto. Building a Lean, Scalable Startup. www.eng491bu.org Follow on Twitter: @eng491. ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship Week # 12 « Key Lessons Top 18». Week 12 Executive Summary of ENG491.

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ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

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Eng491 technology entrepreneurship

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Fall 2011 – Fall 2012

Emre Oto

Building a Lean,

Scalable Startup

www.eng491bu.org

Follow on Twitter: @eng491


Week 12 executive summary of eng491

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Week 12Executive Summary of ENG491

  • Technology entrepreneurship is a hard, human science that follows the scientific method

  • Today’s class: Final words of wisdom for aspiring entrepreneurs


Idea 1 planning is guessing

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #1Planning is guessing

  • Refertoyourbusinessplans as businessguesses, yourfinancialplans as financialguesses, etc.

  • Plansletthepastdrivethefuture

  • Theyinhibitourabilitytoimprovise

  • Youhavethemostinformationwhenyouaredoingsomething

  • Makedecisions not far in advance but rightbeforeyou do something


Idea 2 growing vs expanding

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #2GrowingvsExpanding

  • Prematurescaling is theprimarycause of deathforstartups

  • Allcompanieshave a “right size”

  • Growslowandseewhatfeelsright

  • Small does not haveto be a steppingstone, it can be a destinationitself


Idea 3 start making something

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #3Start makingsomething

  • Stop contemplating, build a Minimum Viable Product, and start testing

  • Buildsomethingthat “makes a dent in theuniverse”, andsomethingthatyouwouldneedyourself

  • Ideasarecheapandplentiful, whatcounts is how youexecute == Validated Learning

  • No time is noexcuse, manageyour time, start now


Idea 4 outside money is plan z

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #4Outsidemoney is Plan Z

  • Youneedupfrontinvestmentonlyifyouarebuilding a factoryor a restaurant

  • Today’sbusinessesaremostly IT based service economy

    • Youmayneedlessthanyouthink

    • Gettobasics, start buildingthe MVP, anditerate

  • Take on as littleoutsidecash as possible


Idea 4 outside money is plan z1

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #4Outsidemoney is Plan Z

  • Risks of takingoutsidecash:

    • Yougiveupcontrol

    • Cashingoutbeginstotrumpbuilding a qualitybusiness

    • Spendingotherpeople’smoney is addictive

    • It’susually a baddeal

    • Youmaybecomeinvestorcentricinstead of customercentric

    • Raisingmoney is distracting == Spend time buildingtheproductinstead


Idea 5 less is a good thing

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #5Less is a goodthing

  • Embraceyourconstraints

  • Constraintskindlecreativityandinnovation

  • Limited resourcesforceyoutomakethemost of whatyouhavegot

  • Youneverhaveenough time/money/people/experience

  • Throwless at a problem


Idea 6 the 80 20 principle pareto principle

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #6The 80/20 Principle (ParetoPrinciple)

  • Build a kick-asshalfratherthan a half-assedwhole

  • Start chopping, youcannot be building 10 things at thesame time

  • Focus on the “epicenter”

    • If I tookthisaway, wouldwhat I am sellingtodaystillexist?

    • Makethebestout of theepicenter

  • Ignorethedetailsearly on


Idea 7 do not delay decisions

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea#7Do not delaydecisions

  • Decide based on validated learning and pivot

  • Not deciding is not an option

  • Make calls early and often to reduce batch size

    • = Move with small decisions vs big decisions

    • = Big decisions are harder to make

  • Fail early, fail often, fail fast

  • Long projects kill morale

    • Make the call, make progress, get the product out the door while you still have the motivation and momentum


Idea 8 launch now

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea#8LaunchNow

  • In the Lean Startup, the product is the experiment

  • You cannot learn from the customer unless they experience the product

  • Build for the few, and not for the man

  • Save bells and whistles for later

  • Stop imagining what is going to work. Find out for real


Idea 8 good enough is fine

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #8Goodenough is fine

  • Find the solution that delivers maximum efficiency with minimum amount of effort

  • Solve problems with simple, mundane solutions, it’s fine if it gets the job done

  • You don’t always need to demonstrate glamorous skills in each solution

  • Don’t waste your resources

  • You are a resource too: Beware from sheer effort overload


Idea 9 do not copy ideas

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea#9Do not copyideas

  • Copying skips understanding how you grow

  • You have to understand why something works

  • If you copy you lose all the substance and understanding to base future decisions on

  • If someone else has already done the bulk of the work you are copying


Idea 9 do not copy ideas1

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea#9Do not copyideas

  • Copying skips understanding how you grow

  • You have to understand why something works

  • If you copy you lose all the substance and understanding to base future decisions on

  • If someone else has already done the bulk of the work you are copying

  • Two things protect you from copycats:

    • Validated learning

    • Pouring yourself into the product: Make yourself a part of it


Idea 10 underdoing your competition

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea#10Underdoingyourcompetition

  • New market disruption targets nonconsumers

  • In new markets/resegmented markets, you can’t compete by oneupping the competition

  • Solve simple problems in a simple way

  • “Out of clutter, find simplicity” (Albert Einstein)


Idea 10 underdoing your competition1

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea#10Underdoingyourcompetition

  • New market disruption targets nonconsumers

  • In new markets/resegmented markets, you can’t compete by oneupping the competition

  • Solve simple problems in a simple way

  • “Out of clutter, find simplicity” (Albert Einstein)


Idea 11 focus on yourself

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #11Focus on yourself

  • Do not obsess about competition or potential competition

  • Focus on your own learning and discovery

  • Focusing on the competition makes you reactive (rather than visionary)

  • Obsessing about competition may dilute your own vision


Idea 12 say no to customers

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #12Say notocustomers

  • Don’t add bananas to your lasagna because a few customers wanted so

    • Follow the masses

  • Feel free to say no to customers

  • ..but provide a solid justification why the answer is no

  • You can’t be everything to everyone

    • Remember early adopters vs mainstream

  • Keep solid positions in negotiations of all sorts

    • otherwise customers will think you are playing with them


Idea 13 laying low for a while is good

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #13Layinglowfor a while is good

  • Being obscure is a great initial position to be in

    • Be happy you are in the shadows

    • Start small

  • Use your time to make mistakes without the whole world hearing about them

  • You don’t want everyone to watch you starting your business

  • Use this early period to take risks and learn


Idea 14 opinion leadership

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #14OpinionLeadership

  • Companies building new markets or niche markets enjoy one advantage: Opinion Leadership

    • Build an audience

      • Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos

    • Outteach (You can seldom/never out market, but you can always outteach)

      • Earn loyalty by teaching, this is beyond marketing


Idea 15 everything you do is marketing

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #15Everythingyou do is marketing

  • Perception is reality

  • Marketing is not a department, everything you do is marketing

  • Marketing is not a set of individual events, it is everything you do

  • So be careful


Idea 16 success does not happen overnight

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #16Success does not happen overnight

  • You will not be a big hit right away, you will not get rich quick

  • “Sustained growth” takes time

  • Start building your audience, start getting people interested in what you have to say, you will build a sustained Share of Voice


Idea 17 human resource is everything

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #17Human resource is everything

  • Never delegate a task before you have performed it yourself or have strong expertise on how it must be done

  • Hire slow, and hire when only absolutely necessary

  • Capabilities are more important than resumés or GPAs

  • Pass on great people if necessary


Idea 18 be honest to customers

ENG491 Technology Entrepreneurship

Week #12«KeyLessons Top 18»

Idea #18Be honest to customers

  • Own your bad news and own it sincerely

  • Honestly be concerned about the fate of your customers

  • Expectation management is incredibly important: State, in very clear terms, what you will deliver and when


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