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BigDaddyKane

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Jan 19, 2011
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That is becoming more and more clear to me as I reflect on past ventures, both successful and unsuccessful. It makes things much easier. It's not about the work or the product - focusing too much on those can, ironically, be counterproductive
Rabby, It's funny as I read this today, this has been a personal understanding for me very recently as well.
It's insane how these concepts cycle through various times in our careers, just when we thought we already knew them haha.

Looking forward to hearing the rest of your progress this year.
 

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@BigDaddyKane Right? We know everything, and then we don't. LOL. It keeps us on our toes, at least. Thanks for the rep!
 
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I may have some friends for "The Technology." I had a second meeting with some guys who really really want it. They are value-added resellers, essentially. It was interesting getting their perspective on the need for their clients, not to mention themselves, and what they thought the market would bear in terms of price. Now that I understand more about what they need, I will call some other people in the same business (who I happen to know anyway) and see if they perceive the same need.
 
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The Technology - This is my main focus right now. The market is hot. Anyone I tell about it seems to want it (I'll post details here eventually). Anyway, we discovered another market-sector for it if we want to pursue it. Mr. G will have the initial modifications for market #1 done by the end of the month. I'm using 'pidoco' (freee!) to make drag and drop wireframes so I can test ideas with early adopters. It's like art lite!

Business #1 - Doing fine. February ended up even with last year, so we're still ahead year over year, but not quite as much as I thought we would be a week before the end of Feb. Randomness.
 
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Business #1 - Revenue up ~ 11.5% for first quarter, over last year. Yay.

The Technology - UX guy did some work for us, and I'll be showing it off on Monday. This will be a test, partly, to see if I understood what the market wants.
 
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Considering pruning Authority Site next week, for a variety of reasons.

Mainly, The Technology is where the energy is. It is my scale project.

The site isn't really costing me much, and it wasn't unreasonable to start it, but it might be unreasonable to continue it, looking at it from the present moment. It's not necessary to move us toward the big goals.

I still have a product that was part of that site, and may even have a writer adapt it for a more general market, and let Mr. R sell it, and use copies as promotional drop-offs. That's just tactical re-use. It don't need the site and forum for that either.
 
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Business #1 - Still growing over last year. Almost entirely passive, other than following along with progress reports. It's creeping toward some new market opportunities working with the training departments of larger companies. There is also an opportunity for it to grow by offering online classes made by another company, which I discovered while working on The Technology.

The Technology
- Some scalability features and a rewrite of the interface are in progress, and I'm staying in touch with a few future customers and allies while we work on it. We aren't selling it yet. Also, a future customer invited me to a conference to see a competing product. They wanted to show me how much better ours is :) The excitement is good. I finally got in touch with a friend who has had an 8 figure exit in a space similar to The Technology, and she and her husband own or partially own some smaller businesses in the same space. She also thought it was a good idea and exciting. We're basically coming in underneath the level of "enterprise" systems that most companies can't afford. For small and mid-market companies, it will be us or spreadsheets for a while. Since execution is what we're good at, I continue to like our chances.

Oh, we also hired a business consultant for this one. He was CEO of a very large company, charges what some would consider a lot, but has a lot of executive and management skills, etc, that we can benefit from. Within a few weeks I'll decide if I want to accelerate this more by hiring additional help (in development, UX, and maybe outreach). I have the money and/or credit, but just throwing money into a process that isn't organized for more help yet, would probably yield bad results ;)

Authority Site - I worked on it for a while, spent a little bit on it but nothing too big, and it just doesn't seem like something people want as much as I thought they would. I'm considering it a paused experiment, and likely something I'll flip the switch to "off" on. Ignoring it for now since there's no need to make a decision.

What's nice is that I'm back to only having one active "business" project (being as Business #1 is passive). That's... how we all know it probably should be. Pruning the wild branches makes for a calm existence, although without letting a few grow and seeing which ones look the strongest, I don't think I would have discovered the same quality of opportunity. I fill the saved time with family, meditation, and investigating societies and social enclaves of interest.
 
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Oh, a funny anecdote happened, but one that I see as significant. First one of the future customers asked about opportunities to participate in equity. They wanna invest, either with money or resources. I politely thanked. Wifey asked me "what's going on, I thought they were customers?" So I told her it was a sign of confidence, and it would probably happen more as people understood that we really have something here.

I said something like: "Don't be surprised if everyone involved starts asking to invest or be part owners." Just a vote of confidence.

The next week, Mr. G our developer called and wanted to know if there was a way he could get equity. I forgot I had said the above, and Wifey looked at me with wide eyes: "you said this would happen." LOL. In his case, he is key to the operation and a loyal long time friend - I'll find a way.

So add this to the list of market validation signals: people who know the business and the product, suddenly want to trade cash in hand to follow the beat of your distant drum.
 
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Business #1, revenue still good, and I'm doing virtually nothing there. I think Mr. R is giving up on sales and wants to do something else, and we're all friends about it. He's got personal things going on that make it hard for him to go out and do outside sales.

The Technology - at some point we decided to re-write the interface. We also switched databases (I may have mentioned this) and added some structure to support larger organizations. So, there's still some development to do, but we're really really close (I swear!) to at least an alpha version of the new thing. We had some unexpected deployment delays caused by making the software scalable and changing deployment methods.

Wifey and I are working with a business coach to help keep us organized, focused and accountable. It's been a good experience - I recommend it if you can find a good coach. Ours was CEO of a large organization and took it through a merger that made it an even larger organization. He has perspective on operational scaling that I need, and he comes with good heuristics for solving problems in the development on marketing, hiring, etc.

Still no revenue in the new biz of course. I'm breaking down goals into chunks now. 2 week goals to:
  • Revise sales and marketing plan
  • Clarify vision, mission an values for the company
  • Get a reasonably stable demo release from Mr. G, who promises it's coming soon
In 90 days I want to have 20 new channel partners willing to be early adopters. So the early sales efforts will focus on them. I'm building out a full sales system that I can delegate, complete with... well, all the things you would have to know and do to sell something like The Technology. I'm also re-designing my recruiting and hiring process (my old one was "hey, I bet this will work out fine!"). I would like to hire someone in sales by November.
 

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