In our early conversations with companies about our new Leverage program, it’s becoming clear we have to shift the conversations into the context of their company quickly. In most cases we’re speaking to the companies founder or exec team. One way to shift into their context is to simply ask…
“what crazy ideas have you not shared with your team?”
Why ask about the ideas they have not shared with their team? Simple, it gets to the core of the tension between leverage and control.
They haven’t shared those ideas with their team because they know their team will likely squash their idea. It’s still in the stage where it’s indistinguishable from a stupid, wasteful idea. As a leader of that business, they demand their team kill these wasteful ideas and focus on their core business.
The role we want to play is to help kill these ideas, in a proactive way. We want to get to work identifying the simple next steps to figure out if this idea has real merit. In the case you really haven’t shared the idea with your team, let’s start there. What will it take for you to share this with your team? Through that process we’ll quickly justify spending more time, more resources on it or we’ll all agree to kill it once and for all!
PS..check out this 15 minute talk about how a company is disrupting the biotech space. I’m not sure the problems they’re solving are truly unique to biotech are they?
Yes, software is eating the world and hardware as well. Established, existing companies are quickly realizing the entire game is being changed underneath them. The symptoms are everywhere. Some companies like Qualcomm and Intuit are attempting to create corporate entrepreneurship programs. Others are simply buying their way into the game.
Since the early days of the industrial revolution, a small set of large companies have controlled the exclusive rights to create new businesses. If you wanted to create a new business, you had to convince one of them first. Those rights are being returned to individuals and small teams at an incredibly accelerating pace. The rise of the entrepreneur is a real thing.
In her book Different, Youngme Moon makes the point that in it’s infancy, a brilliant game changing idea is indistinguishable from a wasteful idea doomed to fail. Existing businesses with known business models are tooled to find waste and squash it. That means businesses are very difficult places to incubate and foster new ideas.
That tension between leverage and control fascinates me. As well, helping to make sure that existing businesses find their place in this changing game. They have unfair advantages that need to be leveraged like existing customers, domain expertise, distribution networks and more. A small group of us at ThreeFortyNine are working on a new program to help companies leverage their unfair advantages.
I’ve created an short pdf introducing what we’re planning. I’m curious for feedback and want to meet with companies curious about this program. Please comment below or contact me directly
We often bring guests into ThreeFortyNine who have domain expertise our members value. Recently we had a technical writer in for the day, this Wednesday Dec 11th we have some legal action.
Kevin Holbeche from Fasken Martineau will be in our building and hosting open office hours. Kevin is a patent lawyer who can advise on all forms if intellectual property. He’s also a two year veteran of our StartupTrain which means some of you will have met him.
While this is primarily for our members, we often have room for a few others. If you’d like to try out coworking for the day and get some time with Kevin, just contact me directly to see if we have room!
Entrepreneurs eat what they kill. Bootstrapping and creating something from nothing, however, can be a long, lonely, penniless road. Depending on the business, it can take months, maybe even years, to bootstrap and grow a new business to the point it can pay it’s founders a decent salary. In the meantime, how do these technology entrepreneurs put ‘food on the table’?
Paying the bills while bootstrapping doesn’t necessarily require charity or funding. I’ve always been curious if we can build a viable means of applying the unique insight and skills that a software entrepreneur has to real business problems and opportunities?
This is different than fund raising. Choosing to raise money for your new business is a different decision and independent of this. This past week at our Founder’s Club, we brainstormed a rough positioning statement for this…
For regional mid-sized companies
who are limited by their IT department, are technologically challenged, looking for innovation
our product is short-term entrepreneur-in-residence
that provides objectivity, expertise, and fresh perspective
unlike strategy consultants trying to sell long, big projects
we have assembled a way to distill problems into sustainable small innovation packages
Are there enough businesses out there who recognize the need to have entrepreneurial insight and skills within their walls? If so, could we grow this into a program that provides a short-term living for active entrepreneurs as they grow the revenue in their company?
I’m curious if anyone’s heard of a program like this or even better, works in a company that is a potential customer? Comment below or contact me directly.
Jim Collins book Good to Great introduced the concept of getting the right people on the bus. The idea being that curating the people who make up your company is as important as developing the business itself.
As immersed as I’ve been in coworking, including founding and running ThreeFortyNine for 3+ years, I’m only now starting to grasp the real power of coworking as a model. Yes it is a lower cost office, fast internet, a place without the kid’s or great coffee but those aren’t the real value of coworking.
If you wait until you have your bus, it’s already too late!
I realized a few weeks back that almost every partner I’ve engaged with over the past 6 months is someone I met here at ThreeFortyNine. Either through them having a desk full-time or being a member of our weekly Founder’s Club. Eric and I are building 20Skaters and the main reason we’re so efficient and communicate so well is that we’ve coworked together for years now.
The difficult part in building early stage businesses is spotting the real roadblocks daily and facing them head-on. That requires a high level of intimacy with your partners. Being within a coworking space allows you a platform to practice that with people without actually working directly on projects together. Through that, you eventually discover who you want on your bus and who you don’t.
I’ve always maintained that picking partners is about selecting the people you gravitate towards when the sh1t really hits the fan. That’s great but how do you know that about someone you’ve just met or have never actually worked with? Specifically in our Founder’s Club, we work on tackling problems and challenges in each other’s businesses. Founder’s Club gives people a chance to talk about their sh1t hitting a fan. In that setting you’ll quickly figure out who you want to be around at those points.
I have a few buses I need to fill these days. I’m lucky in that I have a long list of people I can’t wait to invite on those buses. Coworking is the reason for that.
If you’re thinking of starting something of your own in the coming year, don’t wait until you have to fill your bus. Find a coworking space in your area and start building your list of partners you know you can work with.