Occam’s Razor – Keeping it handy

“The VCR is not turning on!” says my wife over the phone. We often have short phone calls along these lines. At other times it’s the laser printer or the washing machine not working or turning on. My first question usually is “Honey, is it plugged in the wall?” followed by “Is the switch on…

3 Steps to Find Those First Customers

A question posted in the HeadStart Forum once again reminded me of how easy many of us find it to build the product first before figuring out how best to get customers. Having bootstrapped two startups and mentored several more, here are three tips on bagging the first (new) customer. Your ex-employer if you’ve worked…

3 Lessons I’ve Learned As a Mentor

Over the last three years, I’ve had the pleasure of working with entrepreneurs addressing a wide variety of markets – from those going after Tier 2 markets in India (music to consumers) to those selling tickets to an urban audience. One selling certificate courses on the internet to others changing how people consume online video…

5 Reasons Why You Need a Founders’ Agreement

Just this last year, two founders in two different startups that I’ve invested in quit. Back in 2000, when one of the co-founders of my first startup quit (on religious grounds) we were quite taken aback and ill-prepared to handle it. However that parting was amicable and all the founders involved — there were five…

3 reasons you need a co-founder or partner for your business

“Do you intend to find to find yourself a partner or two?” You’d have thought I had slapped him, in the way he reacted. Once he got over the initial shock of my question, he was genuinely puzzled. While he never came outright and said it, I could see that he continued to be befuddled by my seemingly dumb question. “Why would I need a partner?” – the unasked question hung over the rest of our meeting.

Good design is in the details

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the work of Donald Norman and his seminal book “The Design of Everyday Things” (the title itself was in true design fashion improved from the original “The Psychology of Everyday Things” or POET.) I was also bemoaning that people seem to be far more familiar with Jonathan Ive, the much heralded (and recently knighted) designer of many things Apple, than with Don Norman and his now business partner Jakob Nielsen, who’ve been evangelizing human-centered design longer than most.

Finding a customer – Where do you start?

Once again, a question posed at Quora, “How can a straight out of college entrepreneur find clients for IT service based start up?” triggered these thoughts. As I have been recently looking at college startups, the entire issue of finding that first customer has been hovering in the background. When I cast my mind back…