Category Archives: Uncategorized

Christmas History

jingle-bells

Couple of history notes from a history nerd:

“Merry Christmas”? Means drinking a lot for Christmas. To the Brits, being “Merry” meant boozing it up. That’s why in the poem, “The Night Before Christmas”, Saint Nick says “Happy Christmas to all ,and too all a good night!” Merry Christmas would have ben a bit forward.

Jingle Bells? Turns out Jingle Bells was a bit of a drinking song. In fact, when it was first sung, people “jingled” their ice in their glass along with the rhythm.

Remember the lyrics?

And soon, Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side,
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
He got into a drifted bank
And then we got upsot.

Upsot? What’s that? My kids and wife thought it was a weird form of “upset”, and many folks on the internet feel the same.

But it’s not. In fact, it’s a nice little pun.

“Upsot” works because it’s a rhyme with “his lot” and is kinda like “upset”
But “Upsot” also had a vernacular meaning. Ever been besot? Saw a sot on the side of the road? What would upsot mean?
Upsot works as a form of “getting drunk”, and that’s what the original people hearing this song hear, and that’s where the fun lies

Sleigh rides in the 1800s were the equivalent of drive-in movies for the 1950s crowd, a place where teens left on their own, were trusted

If you’re a teenage kid out on a date and your horse got into a snowbank? Well geesh, you’ve done got upsot.

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My “Top 10″ Book List

List 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t think too hard; don’t take more than 10 minutes. It is not about the right book or great literature-just books that have affected you in some way. Then post a link to your blog here so I can see your choices.

Mine, in no particular order:

Anna Karenina. Introduced me to Tolstoy. Love the guy. His essay on Napoleon at the end of War and Peace is way too long, but important.

A Guide to the Good Life. Stoicism is not absence of feeling — that’s just the modern definition. Real stoicism is all around us, and western Christianity owes it a lot. Great read that made me rethink my attitude on things.

New Kind of Science. Boy genius grows up and tells the rest of us that we’re doing math and physics the wrong way. What’s there not to like? Tough read at times, though.

The Physics of Immortality (Omega Point). This was The Matrix before the movie, and based much more on science than the flick. Powerful ideas here that humanity is still grasping with.

The Plague/Sisyphus. “We must imagine Sisyphus happy” Once you read and absorb that? Your life isn’t the same any more.

1-2-3 Infinity. As a kid helped me understand why we had math. There were a few other books in there, but this is the one I remember.

Godel-Eschter-Bach. Snooty guy writes long, involved, puzzle of a mixed genre book. Great introduction to formal systems and a nice little adventure into his theory of what makes intelligence. It’s a deep book, but it’s also a bit of a lark. The author likes putting the ideas creatively together from music, math, and art — so much so that it’s the enjoyment of the new book that’s really more important than the rest of it. I took three runs at this before I finished it.

Code Complete. The first book that made me realize that there was this world of programming with quality as opposed to just programming to solve problems.

The Sparrow. A more recent read. It’s kinda sci-fi, but it’s also a great read about other stuff. Don’t want to spoil it. Very readable.

On Liberty. Not sure if I read this or listened to it on audio. If you don’t understand the concepts here, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Seriously.

Man’s Search for Meaning. Another readable book about deep stuff. The ideas here made me grow up.

How to Win Friends and Influence People. Read this as a teenager. I keep telling people about it, and I want to re-read it, so it must have had a pretty strong impact.

Beyond Bullet Points. Not a book that changed my thinking, but a book that made me realize my thinking was changing. If you want to teach people, you’re going to have to tell stories. No more slide decks with “word salad” on them!

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Startup Autoeroticism

joystick

I was reading a great book the other day about publishing. It was recommended by a friend. In the book, the guy recommended a certain tool. Cool! I go over and purchase the tool.

But wait, there’s more! It’s not just the tool. You can buy three different versions of the tool. Once you purchase, there’s an add-on templating pack — do I want the basic templates, the advanced ones, or the lifetime subscription? Remember, this is my business. Do I really want to risk all of that because I didn’t get the right templates?

I know what’s going on. I realize that the moment I make a purchase decision I’m at my weakest — I am primed and ready to buy most anything. After I decided on the lifetime pack of templates, which I probably do not need, I was pitched several other products — some through some nicely-placed prop web pages (I would consider a product, google it, then land on an extended funnel that consisted of a recommendation followed by a link back to the sales page). Within 5 minutes, no matter what I did to investigate the concept the tool vendor was trying to promote, I was back on his long-form sales page looking at a set of courses for 300 bucks.

Not useful.

Look guys. I know the long-form 300 bucks sales thing. Half of you guys are teaching me long form sales, and then you’re sending me over to your buddies who are trying to sell me with it.

This may come as a news flash, but even with 100 testimonials, there are some products I do not need. It’s also highly-likely that the more sales magic you put on your product, the more people you are separating from their cash who cannot afford it. Your product that is going to triple my conversion rate/sign-up rate/site traffic/penis size is probably not that useful unless I’m already delivering quality content. Clicking a few times and providing a Visa number does not make a business.

But damn, I want to believe it does. I want to believe I can buy a brand-new shiny 47-button joystick and pilot my startup like an F-16 shooting vertically off the end of the runway in Flight Simulator X. Just show me where to click.

I’ve noticed a habit in startup circles. The internet seems a fickle place, and its not unusual for a friend to come up with an idea and use it to rocket to success. They’ll have an app, or an idea for teaching, hit the right leverage spot in regards to publicity, and suddenly they’re in gravy.

For a while.

But then the numbers drop. Attrition starts taking its toll. The old methods of priming the pump don’t work. The cool kids don’t do things that way any more. And, like good startup folks, they go out and talk to their audience to find out what they want. Make the lightning strike again.

And this is where it gets interesting. Because the more my friends engage with the community, the more they look for common things people want that they can provide, they always end up somewhere on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Who doesn’t want food? Shelter? Money? And so on. It’s perfect! They’ve found the ideal niche!

So over time, each year around the world you get several hundred folks hitting the big time with DinoWidget 2.0, then the next year they’re giving out classes for using DinoWidget to self-actualize, or make more money. A year or two after that they’re doing high-pressure sales about some primitive need that we all have. Repeat that for ten years, and you’ve got an internet full of folks looking to separate you from your money. Each person may be acting in what they consider to be a moral and upstanding way, but in the aggregate? It’s a cesspool.

Just to be clear, I do not feel that most of these folks are trying to trick me in any way. But their idea of an honest description of a product and the actual impact it has on startup founders are two different things. This, also, is a natural thing. In their mind I’m the struggling business guy who just needs this one push that they can provide to hit it. This is their fantasy. We all have them.

The problem is, as a single-founder, it’s tough out there. I have limited resources and time. Most of the important stuff, like finding a product-market fit or building relationships with key thought leaders, ain’t happening with a tool. But any kind of marketing and sales system does something very subtle: it tells you a story about how awesome you are going to be once you make this purchase.

We are all very eager to buy into a narrative about ourselves where we overcome some of life’s really tough problems by making simple (and heroic) choices. Testimonials, which everybody and their brother uses today, tell us a story about folks just like us who were just where we are right now, and by making a simple yet brave choice to change their life and spend a few bucks, the clouds opened up and it was all broad sunlit uplands.

We love this. We love putting ourselves in the place of others and living their lives and making choices vicariously. Dreaming about how we could solve big problems. It’s a natural human channel for instruction and manipulation. Hell, it’s the basis of all fiction. But we can easily confuse stimulation — the absorbing of outside useful ideas — with self-stimulation — living in a world where we can solve tough problems with PayPal purchases.

Startup founders are in a particularly weak and vulnerable position. A story about making a purchase and having lots of extra income? They can buy into this. Very easily. Hell, most of the time to be a good founder you have to have an unrealistic expectation of your chances anyway. Having some long form sales page give you a hundred reasons why you’re going to make a couple decisions today and nail your sales figures is something you’re all too-willing to believe. This narrative speaks to you — and it’s a dangerous story to believe.

I don’t want to leave this on a negative note, so here are the rules I’m applying to my economic decisions:

  • I don’t buy things where the process is initiated by others. If it’s an ad or a tweet, I’m simply observing.
  • I research things people tell me about in person to see if they might be useful.
  • I never buy from a long-form sales page. The entire thing is manipulative. I might click there if that’s the only place, but I don’t consume content and don’t linger
  • As an early-stage founder, I’m concentrating on conversations with people, not metrics, not flash, not systems, nothing else. If it helps me have conversations, I’m liking it.
  • I am starting to discount advice given to me about how to build a startup by anybody who also sells tools to help startups. It’s not that the advice isn’t good. Heck, it’s probably the best advice around. It’s that I can’t trust the speaker to help me make the cold economic decisions necessary. I also think it’s very easy for these folks to get into a mindset of “when you’re a hammer, the world is a nail”

The startup community is eating itself. Great folks start out with awesome products, pivot a few times, then end up pitching other startup guys stuff. Why? Which audience do they know best? Startup folks, of course! It’s not a terrible thing, but it can have very evil effects. You can lose your shirt and not have a damn thing to show for it if you’re not very careful.

Be careful.

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Publishing Your Ebook For Nerds – Lessons Learned

Working on wrapping up my third e-book. It’s a book on how to make and manage effective backlogs, or the lists of things both teams and developers do. The first two were kind of a lark — although I was trying as hard as I could, I realized that this was something that was going to take a while to learn.

This time around my e-book is much larger, and I’m hoping to hit the mainstream, both in terms of content and quality. Most all organizations have the job of coordinating their work both globally and locally, and I’ve made the book as a lesson wrapped in a story. I figure either you’ll like the lesson or the story, maybe both.

After spending several days fighting tools, I thought it’d be good to capture what I’ve learned. If you’re a tech person who wants to write an e-book, this’ll help you get from words to e-book format.

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WLS 24 – 8 months in

Ok, ok, I was sucking my gut in. I admit it!

Ok, ok, I was sucking my gut in. I admit it!

Eight months after weight loss surgery. Not a lot new to report.

My weight loss has slowed to a crawl. About 2-3 pounds a month. I don’t get sick eating at all, and I guess I can eat what I want. A couple of times I’ve had a craving for things outside my normal diet, like popcorn, or apple butter toast. Each time I went ahead and had some — after all, if you’re craving it you’re going to eat it sooner or later — and neither time did I explode or turn into a lizard. Disaster did not await.

Of course, with the new stomach I don’t eat as much. So, when I wanted that Apple Butter toast, I made four slices. But I was barely able to eat two. And even then I felt way too full.

Popcorn was fun. I’ve had it twice. The first time I had about a cereal bowl of popped popcorn, then I felt really full. The second time I decided to make it my morning meal, so I nibbled on it throughout the entire morning. No drinks, of course, still sticking to the 30-30 rule. Just popcorn.

Wish there was more to report, but not a lot of drama here lately. Back at work, busy, just doing stuff.

So I guess that’s the good news! I think a couple more of these weight loss entries and it will be time for a wrap-up.

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Christmas is a Really Weird Holiday

Currier And Ives Christmas Village
The ancient Romans had a problem. A new cult arrived, bringing with it the most distasteful practices. The members all were atheists. They were also incestuous, and they had secret cannibalistic rituals.

The new guys? Some jerks called “Christians”. That’s right: they refused to believe in the Gods, they called each other “brother” and “sister” and greeted with a kiss, and rumor had it that they took part in some kind of ritual that involved eating the flesh and drinking the blood of others. Most folks thought they were killing babies.

New people are always bringing in new ideas and messing things up.

Take Christmas. As far as we know, some kind of holiday around this time has been celebrated forever. Go back ten thousand years, and you’ll find humans dancing around a fire around this day. They just didn’t call it Christmas. Nowadays the best scientific name for this day is the Winter Solstice. It marks the shortest day in the year, and it’s something that any culture that watches the sky would know and wonder about. Would the sun continue retreating? What could be done to bring Spring back? People built bonfires (along with large “yule” logs), used trees in ceremonies, had great gatherings, built huge edifices to properly revere the sun and help bring back much needed warmth to the land.

Then those new guys showed up with this fancy concept called “civilization” (a word which was only invented centuries later!). They wanted everybody to kind of standardize the holiday. Some of them settled on “Saturnalia” It was a pretty fun holiday. Slaves got to play the role of masters, and masters got to be slaves. There was drinking, families visited together, and everybody was thankful to spend time together. Geesh! Did we really need human sacrifices and all of that crazy superstitious stuff this time of year when we had the God Saturn and the proper celebration that should be given to him at this time?

But that didn’t last. And it was those atheist cannibal Christian types that ruined it.

At first, Christians refused to have anything to do with celebrating the birth of Jesus. Why should they? The entire religion was based on the death and resurrection of Jesus, not his birth. The first gospel written, Mark, makes no mention at all of Jesus’ birth. Later gospels went big on the story, though, with wise men, jealous kings, and all sorts of other great themes. But even then, early Christians had little interest in the beginning of the Jesus story. It was the last part that was the important part for them.

“It is only sinners like Pharaoh and Herod who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world,” said Origen, one of the most notable early church leaders.

People have a hard time believing this today, but early on it was the story of Christianity that was far more important than the historical detail or places. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that visiting holy sites became much of a big deal. What would be the point of visiting a bunch of old places? Those things were trivial compared to the meaning of the story.

The Gospel of John helped to change that, but it took a long time. John was unlike any of the other three gospels (stories of Jesus’ life) in that it tried to join philosophy and religion together. Many scholars view John as being the product of an early Christian church with a heavy Greek influence. As science and the scientific method has progressed, people took this theme of philosophy and reasoning and started focusing on sourcing and facts. Christians are especially interesting in becoming more interested in “proving” that all these things have historical meaning and validation. Compare this to many other religions which to this day are not concerned with these matters. But I digress.

Because of this joining of philosophy and religion, or in spite of it, Christianity took off in a big way, eventually becoming the state religion of Rome, even though many still kept to the old ways too. Eventually this was a problem: fervent adherents wanted to know: why should we allow folks to keep celebrating this Saturnalia thing? People loved it, but it had nothing to do with Christianity. In fact, it was bad for the brand. It sowed confusion, it diluted the message, it hurt adoption.

So somebody came up with a great idea. “I know,” they said, “let’s keep Saturnalia and all that other stuff, but we’ll also have a celebration at this time for the birth of Jesus! We don’t do anything for that, and that way everybody can have a big party and at the same time be doing it the right way.” (Some scholars consider this the first great ancient marketing ploy)

So the organized, official Christian church used Microsoft’s embrace, extend, and extinguish strategy, but it still didn’t sit well with many of the troops. Why do we need to create some new holiday and do a bunch of pagan stuff? What kind of belief system is that? Indeed, most Christians refused to have anything to do with it. But it was great for converting the unwashed masses. For a long, long time, most Christians would have nothing to do with a mid-winter celebration in honor of Jesus’s birthday. In fact, in the New World, it was outlawed.

But slowly, over the centuries, most all of the Western World adopted this time of year as being appropriate to celebrate the birth of Jesus — if only in a muted way. Even though, of course, Jesus was not born at this time of year. It seems that when he was actually born had little to do with when his birthday should be.

But even all of that compromise wasn’t good enough.

First, people stayed upset about keeping the old traditions around. Geesh! Did we really need yule logs, trees, partying, and all that crazy superstitious stuff this time of year when we had Jesus and the proper celebration of his birth?

Second, for out on the lawn, there arose quite a clatter. Somehow in all of this arguing over when Jesus was born, or if we should actually care about it or do anything about it, one of the obscure Catholic saints, some guy called Saint Nicholas, took on a big role. He had a red coat, a flying miniature sleigh, delivered presents, and…

Wait, what? Where the heck did he come from? And what does he have to do with anything?

And that wasn’t all. The “Santa” story kept growing. He lived at the North Pole. His sleigh was powered by flying reindeer, one of which had a glowing nose.

Those Saturnalia folks have to be spinning in their graves. Would this crazy revisionist nonsense ever stop?

Of course, with modern education people are beginning to realize this silliness. And, just like people do, instead of consolidating something to celebrate, they are digging up all the old Pagan rituals and starting to celebrate them too. Of course, none of them have any idea what they’re doing, and it really doesn’t make a lot of sense, but, frankly, it makes as much sense as singing “Frosty the Snowman” while heading to a yule log ceremony following Christmas Eve church services (which you attended after watching the Macy’s parade, of course)

Meanwhile modern folks are asking if Christmas is a religious holiday after all. Geesh! Do we really need nativities, Christmas Eve Masses, Cantatas, Madigrals, and all that other crazy superstitious stuff this time of year when we have a wonderful inclusive secular holiday with this Santa guy and all this other non-religious stuff in it?

In programming we have a saying: the two hardest things to do are naming things and cache invalidation. What to call things and how long to keep ideas around before discarding them. Seems like programmers aren’t the only ones with this problem!

Our species has gone from animal spirits, to a Sun God, to the God Saturn, to the birthday of Jesus, to this big guy in a red suit, to this mish-mash of magic snowmen, glowing-nosed reindeer, and other nonsense. None of these have a dang thing to do with the other, but historically they all are part of the same thread stretching across the millennia from prehistoric darkness to today.

Like it or not, mankind is determined to have some kind of holiday around the time of the Winter Solstice, although what to call it, why to have it, and how to celebrate it seems up for grabs. Makes you wonder in ten thousand years, if some vestige of mankind still remains in the universe, what kinds of things we’ll be doing this time of year?

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Weight Loss 4 – The day before surgery

incentive-spirometer

The incentive spirometer is a little contraption that you take deep breaths through. It helps “pop open” your lung passages. You practice with it for a while before surgery and then every hour in recovery. It’s to help prevent respiratory problems

Almost two weeks into the fast, and I’ve lost around 16 pounds — most of which is water weight. Every day I’m practicing with my incentive spirometer. For the last three days I’m taking showers with a special kind of anti-bacterial soap that’s supposed to reduce the chance of infection.

This isn’t my first time fasting — as an experienced dieter I’ve fasted several times in the past. It always amazes me the personality changes I experience when fasting. I’m much more calm, much more unsure of myself socially. Compared to the usual roller-coaster of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, huge meals, and lack of sleep, it’s like becoming an entirely new person. Interesting. Not really sure I like this guy, though. Junkies always make more interesting artists :)

Today we drive the four hours to the hotel next to the hospital. Tomorrow at 6:30 am I head into my new future. Surgery and post-op should last 4-5 hours.

Yesterday I watched a DVD from the hospital showing what to expect. One of the things that continues to impress me is the way the team continues to provide me the same information in various formats. They’ve obviously read-up and understand that it takes many, many repetitions for things to sink in for folks.

It also amazes me that after all of that, I’ve still misunderstood some things. I am supposed to hold my breath for a few seconds after inhaling with the spirometer. Didn’t know that. I’m also supposed to wash not only my abdomen, but my limbs with the special soap. Missed that one too. I went through hundreds of pages of information in my surgery file yesterday looking for the time I was supposed to be at the hospital. Couldn’t find that one either.

Quite frankly, I don’t think we fasting folks are hitting on a lot intellectually. It’s kind of like having a light bulb on a dimmer switch. I’m still the same person, of course, but not as quick with a rejoinder and a little more prone to skip important pieces of information.

Since I’ve had the experience of having severe sleep apnea for a while,I have a couple of physical traits that I’ve noticed happen with diminished capacity. I tend to unfocus my eyes and relax them while thinking. I tend to skip over words in comments and emails — leaving out small words like “not” or “or” I spend more time researching extraneous topics on the net. (Look! Shiny!)

One other disturbing thing was that during my pre-op interview with the doc he said my endoscopy might be showing signs of Barrett’s esophagus, a condition where the stomach lining starts growing into the esophagus. It’s associated with GERD, being a white male, and having lots of abdominal body fat.

The biopsy came back “normal” though, and he only mentioned it in passing saying “Well, if it is Barrett’s, the number one thing to do to fix it is a gastric bypass”

I read somewhere that one reason not to do more testing was the number of small indicators of potential disease we all have that never actually ever happens. It would make most people paranoid freaks to know all the little things wrong with their body. Still, I need to follow up on this a year or so after surgery. If it is Barrett’s I have a 1-in-200 chance each year of it turning cancerous, and that type of cancer is a very deadly type to get. Who knows, perhaps by taking action on my weight I’m inadvertently saving my own life from a cancer I could have developed in my 50s. Strange world.

If I sound overly negative, apologies. Just mentally taking a deep breath for the changes to come. Everybody keeps asking me how I feel about the upcoming surgery. The best answer I have is “ready” I have done the research, I have weighed the options, I am aware of the risks, and I am ready. Not excited, not eager, not dreading it, just — ready.

On the flip side to all this sobering information, I was out yesterday doing a bunch of chores and realized hey, I feel a lot better being 15 pounds thinner. I am definitely looking forward to more of that feeling!

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Life, The Universe, Startups, And Everything

Recently I finally figured out what I’m doing in my startup.

Not how to succeed — growing very large is still ahead of me — but how to know what to do next. Here’s what I learned.

I have two theories to test, a value hypothesis and a growth hypothesis.

Value hypothesis: if I present this to you, in this format, you will exchange with me something that I find valuable. Perhaps money. Perhaps your time.

Growth hypothesis: if I do these things, I will be able to present my value proposition to X number of new people.

One of these is called sales, the other marketing. But do not be concerned with business-sounding words. You don’t have to start reading tons of business blogs or building imaginary worlds with spreadsheets. In fact, that can be very dangerous, as it causes you to emotionally bake-in ideas that most likely are completely fallacious. Just look at it like all you have is these two very tenuous theories.

Your job is to make very precise and defined hypotheses — if I do X, Y will happen — then run a test on them to see if they hold up. You are a scientist studying a completely unknown field of study. Come up with two hypotheses, one value, one growth, then test them. If they fail, change the hypotheses until they pass. A failure is a good thing! But it means you need to decide whether to give up or pivot. Most new people to startups build some huge product — one hypothesis — and never really test it. Good startups build dozens of testable hypotheses and test rapidly. Bad startups take forever to get to a test. Or they run out of money long before they ever get around to it.

Here’s the critical thing: The goal is the passing test, nothing else.

Value hypothesis: if I show a bunch of people a bushel of apples while they are at the flea market, 5% of people will buy one for one dollar.

Growth hypothesis: if I give you half-off an apple in return for your wearing an “I bought the best apples ever at Joe’s Booth!” badge, you will bring by two other people who will also buy apples.

By creating and continuing to define these hypotheses, you build a self-sustaining system of creating value, or a business. One way to break down your two theories into finer hypotheses is like this:

lean-canvas

But there are others. As you make your hypotheses more and more detailed, you start creating a very defined structure to the test. This structure is your business model. A business cannot succeed — or fail — without creating and testing hypotheses. If you’re not testing hypotheses, you have an expensive hobby, not a business.

Want practical value? Create a Kanban board around the hypotheses you are testing, color-code your tasks to match up to what you are testing (Trello is really nice for this). Then you’ll know that every thing you do each day is for a reason. You’ll also be able to prioritize your time and energy better.

Write these down. Put them in a public, visible place for you. Everything you do — go to seminars, learn how to sell, read a book on startups, watch a video on programming, life, the universe, and everything else for a startup — everything fits into this model.

Use it.

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The Startup Story I Want To Hear

Been listening on my iPod to Andrew Warner interview a ton of founders. Wow, I think he’s up to over 600 now? He said something the other day about having some criteria for people he spoke to: he only wanted to talk to people who had made it big, who had a powerful story to tell.

Likewise I also spent last week at #Microconf 2013 down in Vegas. What a great experience! Some folks have called it the best conference they’ve even attended. Beats me, this was my first, but I had a blast. Lots of people who had successful startups taking the time to share what they knew with the rest of us. Last year they were sitting in the audience. This year they’re making 5-digit profits or more each month.

But there’s a type of story I want to hear that I haven’t heard yet. I understand that startup success is a mix of many factors. Some factors I can control; others I cannot. Luck plays an important part in it. After listening to a zillion stories and reading books, I’ve had enough. I’m not buying into the idea that startup stories need to have a hero and be dramatic. I’m separating the “self-help” part of this genre from the nuts-and-bolts part. I’m not buying into the idea that some part of Mark Zuckerberg is “magic”. Yes, he had the execution nailed, but he was also the right guy in the right place at the right time. No business porn for me. I want struggle, not Disney.

I want to hear the opposite of the traditional startup story because I think it speaks to many more of us.

I want a story about a person that struggled for many years. That made lots of mistakes. That learned lessons the hard way. That eventually combined the right idea with the right execution in the right market to make a living. Not buy a boat you can land a helicopter on. Not conquer the world with iPads. Just make a living. The real startup story that most people live.

In the startup community, we keep emphasizing the dramatic, the kids out of college cashing in on a billion-dollar IPO. But hell, that’s not the story that any of us who are actually doing the work are actually living. We need more realistic success stories if we truly want to help each other out.

Tell me more of those stories. Please.

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MicroConf: Go Do Something

I’ve been reading a lot about MicroConf in Vegas this week. As an attendee, I was very impressed. I don’t go to conferences, but if every conference were like this one I’d become a conference freak.

Patrick McKenzie was awesome. All of the speakers were. The material was on-target, actionable, and useful. Just when I thought I couldn’t learn something else, that my brain was full, along came even more information. I could write a very long blog article about all the cool stuff I assimilated.

But as much as I was impressed, I have very hard criteria for a conference that’s supposed to help me in my startup. I want it, well, to help me in my startup. I’m funny like that.

So the real test comes today, and tomorrow, and the rest of the year. I’m willing to put in the work, but unless I see a difference in performance I’ll be left with just having a good time talking nerd stuff.

Part of Patrick’s presentation was telling those of us still consulting to get out and make the move to micropreneur. So today I created my first long-form landing page for training Agile teams.

So while I really enjoyed the social nature of the conference, and the material seemed targeted and useful, evaluating its value is yet to come. That begins now.

Scrummaster landing page shot

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