Tuesday, January 27, 2015

If you build it, they will come. Bad advice? Or maybe good!

The old adage that "if you build it, they will come" is usually considered very bad marketing advice.  In recent times, however, I actually think it has become Good advice, especially if reworded just slightly...

"If you build it, they MIGHT come" is probably some of the best marketing advice I can give.

In this world if lean startup, minimum viable product (MVP) and bootstrapping entrepreneurship, one of the most important things to do is to"ship it" and see if customers come and like it, and iterate quickly based on that feedback.

At Key Ingredient we recently formalized these concepts and declared ourselves an "Agile Company".

What will you ship this year?

My thought?   See photo I took at CES 2015 below!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stopping Time in Crucial & Special Moments

Recently on Facebook I had a great reminder of the importance of time in our lives  (SEE BELOW).

I thought it was worth sharing here a few more thoughts I have had about "time slowing", why do it, and how to do it (with examples).

You see, there is a great movie (Star Trek Insurrection) which really illustrates two excellent uses for "time slowing".  In the film, Captain Picard's girlfriend can 'slow time' to experience certain "perfect moments" and extend them for greater enjoyment.   Later, Picard himself "slows time" to save that girlfriend's life.  Interestingly, in this second case, time actually passed more quickly from Picard, but it seemed like less time had passed.... this is the key to the trick, and let me explain now how this can ACTUALLY BE DONE!

Why Slow Time?

  1. To extend the good time you are currently having (extend that perfect moment)
  2. To get past a bad time more quickly (really this is speeding up time).

How to Slow Time  (or speed it up).

  1. First realize that time is 'relative'.  Relativity is the well-known idea that time passes for people differently based on how fast they are moving!
  2. Now, realize that when we say "slow time" what we mean is either Speeding it up or Slowing it down relative to you..
  3. SO.... to "Speed Up Time" relative to you, and make time pass by faster on the outside, and make it seem like less time to you.... based on the theory of relativity, you must simply SLOW your own mind.   E.g. Think thoughts much more slowly, move more slowly, and generally take longer to think something... and suddenly, when you wake from this trance-like state, time will have passed by 'outside your awareness' and it will be later than you think!  (e.g. time sped up outside your zone of awareness)
  4. NOW... the hard part, how to "Slow Time Down" relative to you.... this is way harder, because you must INCREASE YOUR MINDS SPEED!  you must think thoughts much much more rapidly... I find it helps to take pictures, really fast mental snapshots of all that is happening around you.  If you have a camera, take real pictures.  Try to SPEED UP your minds analysis of all it sees.  Speed up any thoughts you are having, have them faster....   Now, look up, and see almost NO TIME has passed.  For you, relativity-wise, you've had a lot of time pass, but in the real world, almost no time has passed.  that's the trick and it really works.
So, which do you do when?

I think Speeding up Time, you should do when you are bored, or in pain.  Actively try to SLOW your mind and your thoughts and next thing you know it will have passed.

Conversely, and counter-intuitively, to "preserve a moment" you must SPEED UP your awareness of it, and try to capture more of it into your brain... more snapshots of the scene into your head.   Rapid Eye scanning of all you see and the scene around you and real picture if you can.  This will let you experience MORE OF the moment.

I remember in High School I hated Study Hall...  it was SO BORING.  But instead of watching the clock, i tried to 'not think' and entered a meditative state.. next thing I knew, the bell rung!  

Here's a moment I preserved.  10-minutes before pitching for an $8Million fundraising for my company (Bigfoot Networks), I found myself sitting in a waiting room, waiting to pitch a final pitch to a room full of VCs.  I grabbed my camera and started snapping photos, I walked and paced around the room, looking everywhere, highly excited and full of wonder.... I sped my thoughts actively trying to capture all of the moment and all that was happening and all that was on the line.  I went through the whole pitch and what might happen, and all this in 10-minutes....  I looked up and only 5-minutes had passed!  WOW!  time slowed! 

Here's one of my favorite moments, hanging out with my girlfriend (now wife) and we even got a picture!  I really extended that moment, you can see the alertness in both our eyes...

<<<_from Facebook__>>>

True awesomeness can be found in Star Trek: The Next Generation.
"I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because they'll never come again." - Jean-Luc Picard
Like ·  · 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Startup Life: When to tell your team... we're almost out of cash!

Is your startup nearing $0 cash? When do you tell the team?

You are not alone!

Doing a startup is hard.  Whether you are bootstrapping, VC funded, or even backed as an internal skunkworks, you may find that your bank account is getting awfully close to zero.  You are not alone.  Nearly ever startup I've ever been a part of has hit this point.  It is scary.  It is stressful.  And what do you do about the team?  Some of them, you know, depend on that regular startup paycheck!

Here's what you need to know!

  1. Fiduciary Duty: First, you have a duty to your shareholders which is actually very simple: if you are nearing "insufficient cash" to pay your debts (defined as non-investment capital), then you must inform your shareholders (and/or board of directors) very soon.  They may be able to help.  My advice: have a plan in place that shows how much you need, or how you will come through anyways.  Even better: don't get here... raise more funds before this point.
  2. Duty to Employees:  If there is ANY doubt that you might miss a paycheck... you need to tell people as soon as you have that doubt.  Personally, I like the 1-month left rule... if you will be able to make 1 more months of paychecks, and then no more... it's time to share the news... REMEMBER TO ALSO share your plan.  Employees will want to know how they can help!  Let them.  Let them help with the fundraising... make slides... etc.  Let them help with sales (the whole company can do sales!).
  3. If it get's dire... like down to 2 weeks... one thing you might do is ask if any employees can take partial deferred salary.  This is salary, you are asking them to risk, on the hope that you'll make it through.  100% is not a great idea (unless you are the founder), but I've gotten nearly 100% participation in a 50% program in the past... and we made it through!
I hope this helps you know what to do (this time or next time).  Remember, it's normal, it's stressful, but you DO need to tell your people.  The best employees will only respect you more for your transparency.  The worst, who quit on you, you don't need anyways.

Good luck!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

7-Step Results-based Marketing for Startups Harlan's 2014 Captivate Conference Slides

I hope you enjoyed my talk this year at the Captivate Conference on Marketing for Start-ups (and specifically game startups).

Here are my slides from the talk, and as always feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn (see sidebar) or Twitter ( @harlanbeverly ).

Comments, email, and feedback welcome.

Slides Follow:

7-Step Results-based Marketing for Startups by Harlan T Beverly from Harlan Beverly

All of marketing should be about results! When you are a startup this is even more important, because you have no money to waste on "brand"... you certainly don't have the time to waste. Harlan T. Beverly, 3-time Start-up Founder & CEO, will present a 7-Step process to create an effective Results-based "marketing engine" that will drive results for your startup. Harlan will give specific examples from marketing campaigns he has created from: Bigfoot Networks, Harlan's video game hardware company, Night Owl Games, where Harlan developed marketing that attracted more than 1,000,000 players, INGZ games, where Harlan created marketing campaigns to drive users to install mobile games, and Key Ingredient, where Harlan is currently CEO and drives 3,000,000+ visitors/month to http://www.keyingredient.com