Video 4 of 4: Strategies for Early Stage Companies to Be Successful at Trade Shows & Conferences

I was recently invited by the team at Docstoc to participate in their “expert” video series, meant to help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals. This is part 4 of 4.



In this last video, I bring up ways for startups to be effective at trade shows:

  • Don’t get a booth.  Expensive: space, booth itself, manning it, etc.
  • Find out who will be there; identify those who you’d like to meet
  • Craft a persuasive e-mail asking to meet briefly.  Make it personal.
  • Private room, Coffee shop

Video 3 of 4: Difference of Business Development Responsibilities During the Early Stages of a Startup

I was recently invited by the team at Docstoc to participate in their “expert” video series, meant to help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals. This is part 3 of 4.



Here I talk about the difference in biz dev responsibilities during the beta stage and growth stage of a startup:

  • In the early stages, it’s the responsibly of the founders.  Sell the vision to prospective customers.  Refine the product as necessary.  Get the first few deals done yourself.  Figure out how to sell the product into what markets.  You’re the passionate visionary – you’re the heart and soul of the company.  You can’t possibly expect an outsider to be able to jump in and start selling.  And if you can’t sell it yourself, don’t bother hiring.
  • In the later stages, bring in folks into biz dev and tell them exactly what to do.  Here’s what works, here’s what doesn’t, here’s what to say, here’s what not to say – all informed by the other deals you’ve already done.  The general sales process will be in place, the legal documents will be in place, the rollout plans in place, etc.

Video 2 of 4: How to Validate a Business Idea Spending Minimal Time & Money

I was recently invited by the team at Docstoc to participate in their “expert” video series, meant to help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals. This is part 2 of 4.

Here, I talk about how to test a business idea:

  • Throw something in front of customers. Create minimal marketing materials and present them to customers (in person, via mail, via search, etc). Don’t need a lot. 500 visitors or 10 in-person consultations will probably get you 90% of the information. (See: Jakob Neilsen, Hallway usability testing).
  • Gauge the response. # of folks who provided email address, # of survey respondents, what they said, etc. Some of this is not scientific. Hopefully you will have verified some of your hunches. Perhaps you’ll hear something that you didn’t expect.
  • Refine or drop the idea. Proceed with confidence, or, further dig into some of the concerning pieces. Better to work hard at this, up front, and be honest with yourself (vs. spending lots of time and money building stuff folks don’t want).

Video 1 of 4: Four Steps to Build Great Software Products, A User Centered Approach

I was recently invited by the team at Docstoc to participate in their “expert” video series, meant to help small business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals.

In this first video, I describe the software development process I like to follow. I think that it optimizes for the end user.

It requires a lot of focus and energy, up front, iterating on the user interface in each phase:

  • Wireframes
  • Design mockups
  • HTML / CSS / Assets
  • Development

The product person remains as the primary advocate for the user – nothing rolls out until they approve.

Lots of stuff can get lost in translation from design to development. Lots of really important nuance can be lost. Development is hard. Help the development team by clearly and consistently communicating to them what you want.

WinDirStat – See treemap of your file system, easily find big files

WinDirStat is still a really great tool, even after all these years.  Very useful!

I don’t know of any other way of quickly and intuitively finding out what’s taking up my disk space.  Perfect use of the treemap visualization.