The introduction to the “Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business, + Website” by Matt Blumberg reminds me that like any role in an organiation there are skills that need to be developed and like any role you need to accept getting better over time is part of that. “Most talented business people come up the learning curve quickly. And the next time, they don’t make the same mistakes. They move faster. They listen better. They spend less. They hire better. The list goes on and on.” According to Matt Blumberg this book is a success if paying forward 14 years of experience helps others overcome the challenges of being a CEO.
Outline of book
- Part 1: Communicate your vision: “Storytelling”.
- Part 2: Build a the company’s human capital.
- Part 3: Disciplined execution of using funds.
- Part 4: “Building and Leading a Board of Directors.”
- Part 5: “Managing Yourself So You Can Manage Others”
…is the beginning of the “Storytelling” Part 1. The point that listening to prospective customers isn’t about a specific assumption being tested or specific idea being pursued. Instead if you can illicit an abstract characteristic like “speed”, “strength”, “reliability”, etc. you can better develop an idea with characterisitcs customers need.
Another valuable approach is to vet ideas using the following criteria with a score between 1 and 5 in each category:
- Customer pain (30%). Does the market need your idea?
- Market opportunity (10%). How many people need your idea? Today (Size)? Tomorrow (Growth)?
- Can we win? (20%). Are there already competitors in your chosen space (Competitive Positioning)? If so, will you beat them (Feasibility)?
- Strategic fit (10%). Is this a problem you can solve? Do you have the right expertise, networks, and so on?
- Economics (30%). Can you afford to solve this problem?
In Chapter 2…
… Matt “explain[s] how to more crisply define and test your story out before you start telling it to the world.” In it there are a number of noteworthy book recommendations, the “Lean” classics:
- The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries
- The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products that Win by Steven Gary Blank
- Running Lean: Itterate from Plan A to a Plan that Works by Ash Maurya
- The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Customer Development: A Cheat Sheet to The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Brant Cooper and Patrick Vlaskovits
- How to Start a Business by Jason Nazar and Rochelle Bailis (eBook)
The remaining of the chapter explains the template sections in the “Lean Canvas” that Ash Maurya presents in his book, “Running Lean”. Here is slide deck on the Lean Canvas