Tag Archives: Startup Success Podcast

SSP 134–Professor Steven Blank

Bob and I had a true luminary on our podcast this week – Steve Blank, the founder of the principles of Customer Development. I was a little star struck! Prof. Blank is one of the most important entrepreneurial thinkers of our time … I felt so lucky to have the opportunity to speak with him.

While reviewing his first book and talking with him, I came up with a summary of the most important lesson for a software developer like me who wants to be an entrepreneur – focus on WHO, not WHAT.

I just had dinner with some other programmer/entrepreneur friends, and I saw the same impulse in them … it’s so exciting to focus on the product – the WHAT – that it’s hard to focus on the customer – the WHO. It’s not enough to build a cool product. You have to be able to find the person who will buy it. It’s all about the WHO.

The real pleasure of getting to meet my heroes like Steve Blank is just getting the sense of who they are as people. My impression of Steve Blank is that he is very kind. He really cares about helping entrepreneurs learn and succeed.

I hope you listen to the show. It’s one of my favorites that we’ve done. Also be sure to buy Prof. Blank’s just released book, The Startup Owner’s Manual.

SSP 133 with Sailesh Ramasray of BizFusion

Bob and I released Show #133 of the Startup Success Podcast yesterday, featuring an interview with Sailesh Ramasray of BizFusion, a full-featured accounting system for small businesses.

My favorite insight from the interview is that most businesses should internationalize but do so by taking advantage of English as a common language. It’s not that difficult to add new markets, so you should probably look into it.

Sailesh’s approach to BizFusion reminds me somewhat of Michael Sliwinski’s approach to Nozbe. I’m going to have to figure out how to describe what makes them similar to me <stroking chin> …

SSP 131–“VC Dave” Dave Feinleib

Bob and I released show #131 of the Startup Success Podcast yesterday, featuring our interview with Dave Feinleib, better known as VC Dave and author of the book Why Startups Fail and How Yours Can Succeed.

I really like Dave – he’s been around the block, but he retains his sense of fun about building startups. He just happens to find it fun to build companies that affect lots and lots of lives.

My favorite bit of specific advice from Dave is to build your 30-second marketing video before you build your product. That syncs with a lot of other Lean Startup advice, but it’s simple, concrete, and fun. It forces you to figure out what’s the true value proposition of your startup. If you think you have a great idea but the people you’ve been talking to find it squishy, maybe you just haven’t packaged it well enough – figure out your 30-second marketing pitch to customers and make a video out of it. Brilliant.

Dave’s also a violinist, so he must be cool …

Thanks, Dave!

SSP 129 with Michael from Nozbe

Bob and I released Startup Success Podcast #129 yesterday, featuring an interview with Michael Sliwinski from Nozbe. Nozbe is a web app to help you implement the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology introduced by David Allen.

I met Michael at the 2011 Business of Software conference. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, he’s just a great guy. His passion for GTD and his product is infectious, and he is very generous toward other startup founders as well (he’s making a point to cheer me on, in fact).

The key point that I take away from Michael is not to get too carried away with Customer Development, marketing, and Lean Startup – it’s a reasonable strategy to to build a product you’re passionate about and keep at it until other people fall in love with it, too.

State of the podcast

Bob and I released our first podcast of 2012 yesterday, show 128. In this show, we continue our tradition of making predictions (and reviewing our predictions from last year). We also discuss some of the goals we are working on for 2012.

Our podcast means a lot to me, and I want to make it better. We’ve tried various things, but it’s hard. The bottom line is that improving a show like this takes a lot of work. A lot of the ideas we try don’t work (or sometimes we don’t try an idea long enough for it to stick).

What HAS worked is that we get great guests. We’re going to keep doing that.

One thing I’ve dropped the ball on personally is the production schedule. We’ve experimented with paying someone else to edit the audio, but I don’t have budget for that right now, and I actually kind of enjoy doing it – I just need to be more consistent with scheduling. I get busy and things fall behind.

Right now we have FIVE good interviews recorded waiting to be turned into shows. First I miss a production deadline, then it gets magnified when I have to push up another show for scheduling reasons (e.g., I had to get the Anlock show published as quickly as possible because it impacted my work, and I wanted Brad Feld’s marriage interview to be our holiday show – and then this week is our annual New Year’s show). I’ve got good interviews from OCTOBER sitting on the shelf. That’s insulting to our guests, and it’s simply unacceptable. I’m sorry for that – I will fix it.

Also, we’re going to be more critical about the guests we book. We primarily want to talk with startup founders – actual startup successes – so we’re not going to talk with salespeople or evangelists unless they have a product of enormous immediate interest to other startups. We’ll still have other guests from time to time, but we’ll be very specific about the benefit they provide to startups.

We’re working to figure out a way for listeners to get more value out of the shows we’ve already done. When I can get budget, we’ll get transcriptions made so that topics will start being found from search engines. Bob is working on the WordPress site itself to make content more discoverable for specific topics (e.g., Lean Startup, Bootstrapping, Marketing, etc.). We want to make it easier for people to find a show that will be useful for specific situations.

If you’re a regular or occasional listener – thanks so much for your support. Feel free to email Bob or me with feedback at any time. We’ll keep working to make the show better.