Surveys Are Not Customer Validation

This weekend I was coaching at Asheville Startup Weekend and noticed how many teams were relying on surveys as their “customer validation”.

While surveys can be useful during customer discovery to understand the problems of potential customers and how your idea might solve their problem, they don’t validate that you have a market. They only suggest that a market may exist for a solution like yours.

To validate a market, you must have potential customers give up something of value in exchange for the hope of your solution.

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Why You Should Apply to Seth Godin’s 2013 Internship

Yesterday Seth Godin announced his 4th internship program. The aim: to change the world. Or, in his words, build something “useful, generous and powerful”.

If you have the time and the skills, you should apply.

Why Apply?

Everyone wants to work with Seth Godin. Here’s a guy whose written over a dozen books, started two companies and launched a handful of other successful projects. He’s had failures to give him wisdom and successes to give him confidence. Who wouldn’t want to work with him?

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Crossing the Chasm Revisited

Today I attended MassTLC’s “Crossing the Chasm – What has Changed in the Past Two Decades?”. At the event Geoffrey Moore spoke about what he’s learned in the past 20+ years since publishing the seminal book Crossing the Chasm, which taught how technologies get adopted and strategies for moving from early adopter customers into the mass market.

Below I mix my own remembrances from Crossing the Chasm with my notes from today. To learn more, definitely check out Crossing the Chasm, Inside the Tornado and Geoffrey Moore’s more recent books on the subject.

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Resources to Learn About Lean Startup

Yesterday I did a quick introduction to the Lean Startup methodology at the Asheville Lean Startup Circle. I focused on three key concepts: validated learning, minimum viable products and the build-measure-learn cycle. You can view my slides here.

If you’ve read Why Economic Developers Need Lean Startups or Lean Startup Conference Notes, you already know some  resources for learning about Lean Startup. Below I update this list to include resources I missed in those posts. Please add other resources I missed in the comments.
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Lean Startup Conference Notes

The Lean Startup Conference happened today in San Francisco. Here in Asheville, we livestreamed the conference at Mojo Coworking. Below are my notes from some of the talks, links to other people’s notes and links to other Lean Startup resources. I’ll be expanding this post throughout the week, so check back later in the week or follow me on Twitter for updates.

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Create a Startup Scene: Leverage Template Events

The theme of this year’s North Carolina Entrepreneur Summit is “Creating a Scene”. During today’s opening session, I asked myself how attendees could effectively create a scene.

One answer: template events.

Attendees for the summit include entrepreneurs, economic developers and government employees ranging from large, urban cities like Raleigh and Charlotte to small, rural communities like Cherokee and Chatham counties.

While larger cities may have the resources to plan, organize and host their own custom events, smaller cities can benefit from the trail blazed by others with template events. Even larger cities can find it valuable to tap into the network and resources of the communities that have grown up around these events. Continue reading >

Notes from Book Concepts That Sell

This past weekend I attended the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended on Saturday was Book Concepts That Sell  presented by David Fugate (@LaunchBooks) of Launch BooksFor those who missed the session, my notes are below. 

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Notes from Indie Publishing Demystified

This weekend I’m attending the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. One of the sessions I attended today was Indie Publishing Demystified presented by Matt Gartland (@MattGartland) of Winning Edits. For those who missed the session, my notes are below. You can also read the Winning Edits web site or follow @WinningEdits on Twitter. Continue reading >

Boston Startup Weekend Presentations

Startup Weekend stormed through Boston once again this past weekend. With almost 150 attendees and 17 teams making it through the weekend, the energy was high.

Sunday night each team presented their business to a team of five judges. Each team was given five minutes to present and three minutes to answer questions. Awards were then given by the judges for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, Best Design, Most Technical Achievement and Most Fun. In addition, there was an Audience Choice winner and awards for best use of Twilio and Cloudmine. You can see the winners here.

Below are my notes on each team’s presentation and questions the judges asked that I thought would be insightful for people who’ve never attended a Startup Weekend, plus some I didn’t have time to edit out. When possible, I also included part of the answers by each team.

I didn’t transcribe any of this exactly, nor was I able to type as fast as people were speaking, so expect errors. I aimed to capture the gist of what teams presented and what judges asked, rather than the specifics.
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Mavens, Aggregators & Miners: Expanding Social Dynamics Terminology

In building an entrepreneurial ecosystem, we often talk about the roles people play. Do we have enough investors, entrepreneurs, seasoned executives?

Roles give us a language for talking about gaps in our ecosystem, and the complex interactions between its participants. By defining roles, we simplify the web of human interactions into concepts we can grasp, and through this comprehension, take action to improve the system.

When talking about the social dynamics of an ecosystem, it’s important to have a shared language to ensure we’re discussing the same problems and creating common solutions. To be useful in teasing out the important dynamics of a system, our shared language needs to be specific and actionable.

To aid in recent discussions, this article reviews terminology laid out by Malcolm Gladwell for analyzing the spread of change, relates that to social dynamics in an economic development context and then elaborates with other terms that may be useful in building an entrepreneurial ecosystem.

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