Sunday, April 18, 2010

Start-up Advice From the Heart

I attended the talk by Bill Warner , Building Start-ups from the Heart, at CIC last week. I must admit that the title was a bit touchy feely for me and anything that smacks of new age gobble-di-gook sends me straight outside to the BBQ where I can slow cook some ribs, throw back a few brews and crank up the Lynyrd Skynrd.

But knowing Bill's stalwart efforts to vitalize the startup economy and his angel involvement with local web app companies, curiosity got the best of me and I went in spite of the title.

I'm glad I did because the talk turned out to be very practical advice with a framework for taking action. My skepticism was completely washed away. Those of you that know me know that the events I produce and attend must provide some value to the community beyond just a smoozefest and this talk easily fit the bill.

The main concept is that you must build your startup around an armature of Intention. How do you intend to help people? The Invention of your startup is a conduit to flow your intention to your users. Keeping true to your intention is very important and when you are diverted from it, the energy needed to create an awesome product which resonates with users and produces a re-generative cycle of growth, is diminished.

The other concept Bill spoke about was CoFlow, which is a state you should seek when building a company where the additional co-founders amplify the intentions of the founder and produce an organization where the sum is greater than it's parts.

My main take away from the talk was a new framework for understanding what you are trying to accomplish with your start-up and a better way of crafting a pitch which is based upon the problem you are solving rather than what your product is. This is a much more powerful way to present your company whether explaining it to someone at a cocktail party or to investors.

It turns out that this method of presenting your "pitch" dovetails nicely with a post by Chris Dixon discussing how to size your market using a narative rather than numbers when pitching to VCs.bill warner

This interview Bill Warner did for the Tom Peters blog will give you a better idea of his concepts in his own words. It sounded like he was working on a book explaining these concepts, so keep your eyes open for that to hit and by all means, if you get a chance, go see the talk if he does it again sometime.

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