Founder Institute Graduation

Well my time in the Founder Institute was completed last week with our graduation ceremony. So what’s the verdict? Worthwhile with caveats. Of course, the highlight as with any group activity are the relationships formed and the camaraderie between fellow wannabes. One big aha for me was the pay it forward attitude of the mentors all of whom are leading exceedingly busy lives themselves as they continue on their own entrepreneurial adventures. However the selfless offer of time and support was a very pleasant surprise. Also their willingness to be self-deprecating despite their outstanding records.
So am I now more likely to be successful having graduated out of FI? Well I’m certainly not less likely! There were key pitfalls identified and advice gathered each week which has already steered me clear of potentially expensive decisions during this early development stage. Having entered the program with little more than the idea, I would say that due to the hyper speed of the program, I found that I felt pulled off center of where I felt I needed to focus my attention versus where the program was taking me. By a certain point, it seemed that I was learning about areas that I was months away from really engaging whether it be PR or fundraising. The importance of customer development was left behind by week 3 and I felt I lost the space to really dwell on the pain being solved and the potential business model to support our efforts. Classmates who came in with more mature ideas with soft launches already made, probably did not feel this stretch as much.
Overall a great way to find out who is in town, find some potential advisors and learn a bunch from their first hand experiences. I’m now feeling relieved that I have some time to revisit the foundational aspects of my idea and move forward better tooled up than before FI. The journey has begun….


Online Living – the end of humanity?

According to Futurist David Houle, we are at the beginning of the first era in human history where humanity can now meet in one place and simultaneously remain in their armchairs. I added the armchair bit! As the father of an online gaming son for whom collaborating online has become second nature, my thoughts as a 40 year old Gen Xer, go to fear and the stories of the adults with evil intentions. I’m out of date and showing my age. I’m not alone – I have heard peers of mine decry this virtual existence of our offspring as possibly leading to the demise of civilization. However, if I listen to my son and his online activities, he is building, he is leading, he is imagining and he is self-actualizing. Of course, safety is paramount but as the precursor for our end? I don’t see that. I guess time will tell.

Choosing Books is getting tougher than choosing wine! Apple’s not helping!

Despite Apple iBookstore’s new Breakout Books, our “Book Choosing” process continues to reflect our Wine selection process – which label do I like best?! Despite all of the developments in the publishing business, we are still relying on “the shelf” to attract buyers for our books. With self-published authors now driving so many titles into the same funnel as large publishers and celebrity authors, how is a reader to truly find the most likely products to resonate with? Surely there’s room for some exploration of a more meaningful shopping decision process. With so many self-published ebooks being given away for free or close to free, our price categorization of wine model is lost! We know we can use the $7 wine for the In-Laws dinner while saving the $50 bottle for the important date. When all the books are $1.99 we have even less criteria to use!
Any ideas?